Frequently Asked Questions About HARC’s 2022 “Coachella Valley Community Health Survey” Data Collection
(en español)

Who is HARC?

HARC (Health Assessment and Research for Communities) is a non-profit organization located in Palm Desert, California. HARC provides research and evaluation services that support healthy communities. HARC is dedicated to providing objective, reliable research, analysis, and technical services to communities in order to facilitate better decision-making regarding health and quality of life. HARC has been in business in the Coachella Valley since 2006, and we now have six full-time staff members.

What is this survey?

Every three years, HARC conducts a survey in which we gather data from Coachella Valley residents on health and well-being. HARC analyzes this data and gives it back to the community free of charge. HARC has conducted this survey five times in the past: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019. HARC is currently collecting data for the sixth survey, known as the 2022 Coachella Valley Community Health Survey.

In previous years, the survey was done via telephone. This year, we’ll be collecting data via paper surveys mailed to homes across the Valley.

Why is the survey important?

This survey provides data that helps to describe our local community and the health needs here. By collecting the data every three years, HARC is able to track health changes over time.

Many local organizations rely on HARC’s data, including nonprofits, hospitals, clinics, the nine Cities, the County, our three school districts, universities, and more. The data is used to prioritize health needs and to design programs and services to meet health needs in the Valley. For example, Desert Regional Medical Center uses HARC’s data on the prevalence of major diseases to help recruit specialty physicians to the Valley, so that we have sufficient providers to treat our Valley’s needs relating to diabetes, arthritis, cancer, asthma, and many other illnesses.

HARC’s data is often used by nonprofits to support their requests for funding. Having reliable data available makes their asks much more competitive and allows local nonprofits to successfully secure funding for much-needed programs. HARC’s data has helped dozens of nonprofits bring in millions of dollars for Coachella Valley services over the years. For example:

  • DAP Health (formerly known as Desert AIDS Project) used HARC’s data on HIV testing to help inform their “Get Tested Coachella Valley” public health campaign, a three-year effort to increase HIV testing and connect those who test positive to care. Using HARC’s data in their funding requests helped to make their proposals strong; as a result, they received funds that allow them to provide free HIV testing to everyone.
  • Local senior centers, including Mizell and Joslyn Center, use HARC’s data on food insecurity among seniors to help strengthen their requests for funding. HARC’s data has helped them to document the need, and therefore bring in money to support their home-delivered meals for house-bound, low-income seniors, many of whom would otherwise go hungry.
  • Jewish Family Service of the Desert used HARC’s data on mental health to obtain funds for their counseling programs. With these funds, they are able to provide mental health counseling on a sliding scale for people of all ages, regardless of their insurance status.

Here is a short list of some of the nonprofits who rely on HARC’s data in their fundraising efforts. HARC’s data helps them to provide important services in the Coachella Valley.

  • ACT for Multiple Sclerosis
  • ABC Recovery Center, Inc.
  • American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Coachella Valley
  • Braille Institute
  • Cancer Partners
  • Cathedral City Senior Center
  • Coachella Valley Economic Partnership (CVEP)
  • Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine (CVVIM)
  • DAP Health
  • Desert Cancer Foundation
  • Eisenhower Health
  • Friends of the Desert Mountains
  • Hidden Harvest
  • Jewish Family Service of the Desert
  • John F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation
  • Joslyn Center
  • Mizell Senior Center
  • Shelter From The Storm, Inc.
  • The LGBT Community Center of the Desert
  • United Way of the Desert

What is currently happening?

HARC has mailed paper surveys to a random sample of residential households across the Coachella Valley. Each package includes an introduction letter in English and Spanish, a paper survey in English, a paper survey in Spanish, a $2 bill for you to keep, and a pre-paid pre-addressed return envelope.

If you receive a survey, please complete the survey, put it in the envelope, and drop it in the mail—no need for a stamp!

When will this happen?

Surveys will be mailed out between April and July 2022.

Who is eligible to participate?

The HARC 2022 Community Health Survey targets anyone who lives in the Coachella Valley for 30 or more days a year. This means that seasonal residents—like snowbirds or migrant farmworkers—are eligible to participate, as long as they live here for at least a month out of the year. In fact, we strongly encourage our seasonal residents to participate! A randomly selected number of adults will be invited to participate.

How will HARC protect my data?

HARC takes every precaution to make sure that the information people share is kept confidential and secure. We never ask for information like your name, social security number, or credit card number.

All your information that is collected will be completely confidential. That means that no one will be able to connect your answers on the survey back to you. Even the researchers who analyze the data will not have your name. All of your answers will be reported in bulk with others—your answers will never be reported alone. Everything will be held on password protected computers, and only utilized by professional researchers who are trained in ethics and how to protect survey participants to the absolute maximum.

Will my individual responses be shared with any governmental agency?

No. No one will see your answers or be able to tie it back to you. The data will not be shared with any law enforcement agency or governmental agency, so you can be completely confident that your privacy is protected.

Why is it important that I participate?

This survey is designed to get an accurate picture of the health of the entire community. Your participation as a member of this community is crucial to making sure the data is truly representative of our Valley. This data will help other organizations to create programs and services to address identified problems. In order to attain accurate information, it is important that we have a diverse group of participants who represent different cities, ages, ethnicities, and more. Make your voice heard—share your story!

Who funds this survey?

This survey is made possible by funding from the following generous agencies (presented in alphabetical order), as well as several generous individual donors:

  • City of Coachella
  • City of Desert Hot Springs
  • City of Indio
  • City of Palm Springs
  • DAP Health
  • Eisenhower Health
  • University of California, Riverside – Center for Health Disparities Research (NIMHD U54 MD013368)

What if I haven’t received a survey, but I still want to participate?

In order to provide a truly representative picture of the health in our entire community, the survey has to be random. That means anyone with an address in the Coachella Valley has an equal chance of receiving a survey. It also means that if you do not get a survey in the mail, unfortunately we can’t have you share your information. You can help in other ways, though, by making others aware that the survey is happening and how it helps the Valley and encouraging others to participate.

When will results be available?

HARC will release the results in an Executive Summary and online resource in December 2022. Limited data “sneak peeks” may be available before then at HARC’s discretion. Click here to sign up for our mailing list, which will keep you up-to-date on the data release.

What if I still have questions?

If you have any other questions about HARC’s 2022 Coachella Valley Community Health Survey, please contact the HARC offices by phone (760-404-1945), email (staff@HARCdata.org) or mail (41550 Eclectic Street, Palm Desert, CA, 92260).