Skip to main content

About Us

Mission Statement
  • HARC is a nonprofit that advances quality of life by helping community leaders use objective research and analysis to turn data into action.
Vision Statement
  • Improving quality of life for all communities through data.
Values
  • Objective
  • Collaborative
  • Impartial
  • Reliable
  • Inclusive
  • Valid
  • Diverse
  • Ethical

Learn more

Transforming community health and well-being through research & evaluation
HARC (Health Assessment and Research for Communities) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Palm Desert, California. Founded in 2006, HARC provides research and evaluation services. As HARC’s mission states, HARC is a nonprofit that advances quality of life by helping community leaders use objective research and analysis to turn data into action.
HARC’s expertise is in the social determinants of health. This is the concept that your health depends on where you live, work, learn, and play. A community cannot be truly healthy unless it has a strong educational system, well-paying jobs available, safe and secure housing, and opportunities for individuals to thrive and grow. HARC’s data services are designed to help organizations address these issues so that everyone in the community can live a happy, healthy life.

History

We Have a Long and Successful History

HARC, Inc. (Health Assessment and Research for Communities) was established in 2006 with financial backing from the California Wellness Foundation to address the insufficient county-level data portraying health needs in the distinct Coachella Valley community within Riverside County, Inland Southern California.

By 2007, HARC initiated the first of its triennial Coachella Valley Community Health Surveys via random-digit-dial telephone surveys, significantly illuminating the region’s health and quality of life facets including healthcare access, health behaviors, major diseases, and mental health. These recurring surveys have proved indispensable for various stakeholders—nonprofits, hospitals, educational institutions, government agencies, and media organizations—in securing funds, prioritizing health needs, developing health programs, and policy-making, with notable financial gains recorded in each survey cycle.

Expanding its impact, HARC began offering tailored research and evaluation services in 2009, sharing its proficiencies in social determinants of health with other organizations. Through community-specific assessments, program evaluations and consultancy, HARC has effectively aided diverse fields in program funding and policy refinement, while its extensive engagement in local health community initiatives and scholarly collaborations continue to underline its instrumental role in enhancing the region’s health landscape.

2006
Since
$14.3m
Brought in by organizations
3
Completed Surveys

6 Completed triennial surveys

2022 Survey

2022 Survey
COVID-19 hit our community hard, and this 2022 data illustrates how drastically some factors have changed in the wake of the pandemic.

2019 Survey

2019 Survey
For the first time in the history of HARC’s community survey, the percentage of adults who’ve been tested for HIV is more than half (51%).

2016 Survey

2016 Survey
Local organizations brought in over $1.5 million in the first year since the results were released (January 31, 2017 to February 2018). Many organizations continue to use this data, as it’s the most recent data, and thus, this number will continue to grow.

2013 Survey

2013 Survey
Local organizations brought in over $5.7 million in the 2 years after the data was released in February 2014.

2010 Survey

2010 Survey
Local organizations brought in over $7.1 million in the three years after the data was released in January 2011.

2010 Survey

2007 Survey
HARC designed and implemented the region’s first comprehensive community-wide survey designed to provide timely and useful data as well as a baseline for measuring change in subsequent surveys.

What we do

The triennial survey

The data that HARC provides in the Coachella Valley Health Survey are used by nonprofits, hospitals, higher education, K-12 education, governmental agencies, and media organizations, among others. These organizations use the information to apply for funding, create presentations/lectures, prioritizing health needs, developing programs to address those needs, writing articles, designing and conducting trainings, and making/changing policy.

The triennial survey helps many nonprofits to make their case for funding and to successfully secure funding for critically-needed programs and services. Organizations who use HARC’s data to support their requests for funding bring in millions each survey cycle.

Staff

Meet the team behind HARC
Jenna LeComte-Hinely, PhD
Chief Executive Officer

Jenna LeComte-Hinely, PhD

Dr. LeComte-Hinely oversees and conducts a wide range of research and evaluation services, including program evaluation, needs assessments, and representative community health assessments.  Prior to becoming CEO of HARC, Dr. LeComte-Hinely held the role of Director of Research and Evaluation for two years.

Jenna LeComte-Hinely, PhD

Dr. LeComte-Hinely oversees and conducts a wide range of research and evaluation services, including program evaluation, needs assessments, and representative community health assessments.  Prior to becoming CEO of HARC, Dr. LeComte-Hinely held the role of Director of Research and Evaluation for two years.

Dr. LeComte-Hinely obtained her doctorate from Portland State University in the field of Applied Psychology.  Her expertise is in the area of Occupational Health Psychology, which aims to keep workers healthy, happy, and productive.  Dr. LeComte-Hinely has been conducting research for more than 18 years, studying a wide range of topics including health, well-being, work-life balance, supportive supervision in the workplace, green business, professional network development, gender discrimination, leadership, and informal science education.

Prior to joining HARC, Dr. LeComte-Hinely worked in the research and evaluation field at the Center for Work-Family Stress, Safety, and Health; the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI); and the University of Redlands.

In 2019, Dr. LeComte-Hinely was named one of the top 50 “influencers” in the Coachella Valley by Palm Springs Life and was included in Desert Charities News’ “Women in Philanthropy” issue honoring the industry leaders and influencers. In 2018, Dr. LeComte-Hinely was named one of Palm Springs Life’s “40 Under Forty”, as well as one of Desert Charities News’ “Women Who Inspire Us”. Jenna also serves on the Board of Trustees of Borrego Health, one of the largest federally qualified health centers in the United States, and is an affiliated member of the Center for Health Disparities at UC Riverside. She is also an Assistant Adjunct Professor in UC Riverside’s School of Medicine with the Division of Clinical Sciences in Social Medicine, Population, and Public Health.

Cassaundra Leier, PhD
Director of Research and Evaluation

Casey Leier, PhD

Dr. Cassaundra Leier is a researcher with more than 16 years of experience in research and data analysis. She holds a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from California State University of San Bernardino and a doctorate in organizational communication from Arizona State University. Dr. Leier has conducted research related to negotiation, individual well-being, and workplace practices that foster positivity and creativity.

Casey Leier, PhD

Dr. Cassaundra Leier is a researcher with more than 16 years of experience in research and data analysis. She holds a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from California State University of San Bernardino and a doctorate in organizational communication from Arizona State University. Dr. Leier has conducted research related to negotiation, individual well-being, and workplace practices that foster positivity and creativity.

Prior to working for HARC, Dr. Leier worked at Arizona State University teaching courses on a variety of different topics, including leadership, conflict and negotiation, and advanced research methods.

One of the most critical health topics, according to Dr. Leier, is our connection to other people and living a fulfilling social life. Dr. Leier also co-hosts a radio show on CSUSB radio called “Life in the Balance.”

Chris Morin, MS
Sr. Research and Evaluation Associate

Chris Morin, MS

Chris Morin earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology, and his master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from California State University, San Bernardino. Chris brings a wealth of relevant experience to HARC with his advanced statistical analysis training, including techniques such as structural equation modeling, analysis of variance, and psychometrics. His research interests include performance management topics such as feedback-seeking in the workplace, workforce motivation topics such as goal orientation, and scale development/measurement.

Chris Morin, MS

Chris Morin earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology, and his master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from California State University, San Bernardino. Chris brings a wealth of relevant experience to HARC with his advanced statistical analysis training, including techniques such as structural equation modeling, analysis of variance, and psychometrics. His research interests include performance management topics such as feedback-seeking in the workplace, workforce motivation topics such as goal orientation, and scale development/measurement.

Prior to joining HARC, Chris worked as a behavioral tutor, in which he conducted assessments and treatment plans for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Chris also has experience in academia as a Supplemental Instructor Leader for CSU San Bernardino and as an adjunct professor at Copper Mountain College. Chris originally started with HARC as an intern before being promoted to staff based on his strong performance.

Daniel Polk
Research and Evaluation Associate

Daniel Polk, PhD

Daniel Polk is a researcher who focuses on social equity and environmental health. He earned a bachelor’s in history from UC Riverside and a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Princeton University. He has carried out work in the United States and Latin America, with experience in archival, statistical, and ethnographic research.

Daniel Polk, PhD

Daniel Polk is a researcher who focuses on social equity and environmental health. He earned a bachelor’s in history from UC Riverside and a doctorate in cultural anthropology from Princeton University. He has carried out work in the United States and Latin America, with experience in archival, statistical, and ethnographic research.

Prior to joining HARC, Dr. Polk served as a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University, where studied the social impacts of water policy in Mexico and California.

Dr. Polk is especially interested in how community health outcomes can be improved through multiracial working-class solidarity.

Bernardo Lino
Bilingual Research and Evaluation Assistant

Bernardo Lino, BS

Bernardo Lino is a Bilingual Research and Evaluation Assistant at HARC. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on Management Information Systems from California State University-San Marcos. Bernardo brings to his role a strong background in business information systems, database management, networking, telecommunications, and internet applications.

Bernardo Lino, BS

Bernardo Lino is a Bilingual Research and Evaluation Assistant at HARC. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on Management Information Systems from California State University-San Marcos. Bernardo brings to his role a strong background in business information systems, database management, networking, telecommunications, and internet applications.

Prior to joining HARC, Bernardo excelled as a Quality Management Intern with Borrego Health Medical Clinic, where he demonstrated excellent skills in community outreach, data analysis, and program management. He also served as a research Intern at the office of Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., through the Health Careers Connection. Bernardo is a first-generation college scholar from the city of Mecca.

Theresa Sama
Administrative Manager

Theresa Sama

Theresa Sama is the Administrative Manager at HARC, Inc. Theresa manages the overall general daily office operations, as well as scheduling meetings to contract and insurance compliance, computer support, payroll and accounts payable/receivable. Also, Theresa provides creative and professional design work for many of HARC’s reports and special projects. In addition, Theresa has completed the Nonprofit Management Certification Program from the University California Riverside.

Theresa Sama

Theresa Sama is the Administrative Manager at HARC, Inc. Theresa manages the overall general daily office operations, as well as scheduling meetings to contract and insurance compliance, computer support, payroll and accounts payable/receivable. Also, Theresa provides creative and professional design work for many of HARC’s reports and special projects. In addition, Theresa has completed the Nonprofit Management Certification Program from the University California Riverside.

Prior to HARC, Theresa worked at UCLA from 1995 – 2007, where she formatted grant applications, manuscripts for journal submission, reports, brochures, and designed PowerPoint presentations. She also worked closely with the computer support team and managed several websites, while serving administrative needs for the Department of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine.

Board of Directors

HARC is governed by a Board of Directors that are dedicated community leaders in the region. HARC’s offices are located at the RAP (Regional Access Project) Foundation Building in Palm Desert. HARC is funded by a mixture of grants, contributions, donations, and fee-for-service income from the consulting services. Please consider donating to HARC today to help us continue to provide high-quality research and evaluation services to the communities that need them. HARC’s EIN is 20-5719074.
John Epps
John Epps, BA
President

Managing Principal

Creative Excellence

Veronica Barajas
Veronica Barajas, BA
President-Elect

Community Member

Luz Moreno, BA
Luz Moreno, BA
Secretary

Community Engagement Manager
Innercare

Blaz Gutierrez
Blaz Gutierrez, JD
Treasurer

Supervising Attorney
Disability Rights California

Cecilia Arias
Cecilia Arias, MPH, CHES
Board Member

Community Health Consultant
Public Affairs & Brand Communications Department
Kaiser Permanente, Riverside

Shayra Hernandez
Shayra Hernandez, BA
Board Member

Director of Stakeholder Engagement
Office of Congressman Raul Ruiz, MD, 36th District

Teresa L. Hodgkins
Teresa Hodgkins, PharmD, BCACP
Board Member

Vice President of Clinical Quality Initiatives
Desert Oasis Healthcare

Laura E. James, MBA, CEcD
Laura E. James, MBA, CEcD
Board Member

Interim CEO

Coachella Valley Economic Partnership

William D. VanHemert
William D. VanHemert, MSW
Board Member

Director of Institutional Giving
DAP Health