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    Rebecca Wood

    Center for Health Statistics
    Community Assessment
    Texas Dept. of State Health Services
    Mail Code: 1898
    PO Box 149347
    Austin, Texas 78714-9347
    Phone:  (512) 776-6579


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Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Survey Frequently Asked Questions for Landline Telephones

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Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Survey
Frequently Asked Questions for Landline Telephones


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General Information
What is the Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System?
Why is this survey being conducted?
What type of information is collected?
Will you be collecting any personal information?
How do I know this is a legitimate survey?
Is my information kept confidential?
Who can I contact for more information?
What do you do with the answers/ results/ data"

Survey Participation Information
Do I have to participate in the survey?
Will my services from DSHS be affected if I choose to participate?
How long does it take?
What languages do you conduct the survey in?

Calling Information
How did you get my phone number?
Why are you calling me? I’m on the Do Not Call List.
Why do you keep calling me after I told you I don’t want to participate?
Can I do the survey on my cell or business phone?
Can you call me back on my cell or at work?
What are your calling hours?
Why can’t I be interviewed after the 21st of the month?
I received your letter and called to be interviewed. They told me I had to wait until the first of the month, why?
Can I call you to do the survey at my convenience?
Why is Clearwater, FL / Boise, ID calling me if I live in Texas?
My husband / wife / girlfriend / boyfriend doesn’t want to do the survey, can I do it for them?
Why did I receive a letter in the mail telling me to expect a phone call from you?
Why does my Caller ID say unknown or Clearwater Research?


General Information

What is the Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System?

The Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), initiated in 1987, is a federally funded telephone survey of randomly selected adult Texans conducted on a monthly basis to collect data on lifestyle factors contributing to the leading causes of death and chronic disease. As a primary source for comprehensive statewide data on preventive health practices and health risk behaviors, BRFSS is an important tool for decision-making throughout the Department of State Health Services and the public health community. Public and private health authorities at the federal, state, and local levels rely on BRFSS to identify public health problems, design policies and interventions, set goals, and measure progress towards those goals.

Why is this survey being conducted?

The Texas BRFSS survey is being conducted to collect health-related information to monitor the health of adult Texans.

What type of information is collected?

Information is collected on chronic conditions (e.g., diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, etc.), health insurance coverage, basic indicators of health status and utilization of health care services, and basic demographic characteristics such as age, sex, race and ethnicity, and income.

In addition, if children are present in the household, one child is randomly selected for a few questions related to asthma, diabetes, and immunizations.

Will you be collecting any personal information?

We will not collect any opersonal information that may identify you. We will be asking questions about chronic diseases, health behaviors, and demographic characteristics (e.g., age, education, county of residence, etc.). You can skip any question that you think is too personal.

How do I know this is a legitimate survey?

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has been conducting this survey since 1987. Clearwater Research is the current contractor for DSHS and their interviewers will state that they are calling on the behalf of the DSHS. All interviewers have been trained according to the protocols specified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The project director’s name (Michelle L. Cook) and number (888-963-7111 x6593) are provided if potential participants are hesitant when they receive a phone call.

Is my information kept confidential?

Yes. There are many procedures in place to prevent the disclosure of information that may idenity you to others. Some of these procedures include secure data networks, suppressing all data fields in public use files where there are less than 50 respondents, and using a unique identifier in the data set. The collected data are used for statistical purposes only. When analytic reports are prepared and released, your answers will be combined with those of many other respondents. No information that could identify any individual is released.

Who can I contact for more information?

You may contact the project director, Rebecca Wood, by phone at 888-963-7111 x6579, or by e-mail, at .

What do you do with the answers/ results/ data?

Answers from this survey are used to identify emerging health problems, establish and track health objectives, and develop and evaluate public health policies and programs.

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Survey Participation Information

Do I have to participate in the survey?

Participation by those randomly selected for the survey is very important to accurately represent all types of adults in Texas, regardless of health status. Survey participation is voluntary; however we cannot select anyone else to replace you if you were selected and do not participate, which may mean that adults like you are underrepresented in statewide estimates. By participating, you perform a valuable public service for your family, community, and state.

Will my services from DSHS be affected if I choose to participate?

Your services from DSHS will not be affected if you choose to participate or if you choose not to participate. The survey is completely anonymous and voluntary and will not change any services you may receive from DSHS.

How long does it take?

The survey takes around 20 minutes to complete, but can run a little shorter or longer depending on the number of questions asked and how long you take to answer each question. If it gets too long to complete at one time, you can always schedule a call back at a convenient time for you.

What languages do you conduct the survey in?

The survey is conducted in English and Spanish.

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Calling Information

How did you get my phone number?

Your phone number was randomly selected from all working phone numbers, both listed and unlisted, in your area.

Why are you calling me? I’m on the Do Not Call List.

The Do Not Call List pertains to companies trying to market products to consumers. We are calling for a health survey and are not marketing any products.

Why do you keep calling me after I told you I don’t want to participate?

Initial refusals are called again to verify that you do not want to participate in our survey. Sometimes people refuse because our initial attempt occurs at an inconvenient time. Other times we do not get the opportunity to talk to the randomly selected respondent. It is important to verify that the randomly selected adult does not want to participate.

Can I do the survey on my cell or business phone?

Yes, but you must call our contractor directly and provide your landline telephone number so that your interview is linked to the correct record. If you are busy driving or preoccupied in doing something else that may affect your safety, we highly recommend, for your safety and confidentiality, that you complete the survey at home.

Can you call me back on my cell or at work?

No. At this time, our system is not set-up to call numbers outside our database. Our database of phone numbers only contains your landline telephone number and it is the only way we can make sure your interview is linked to the correct record.

What are your calling hours?

Our calling hours are listed below. Calling does not occur on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.
Monday through Friday: 9am – 9pm
Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: 1pm – 9pm

Why can’t I be interviewed after the 21st of the month?

The sample of phone numbers we receive needs to be called to meet monthly CDC deadlines. Calling occurs for each month from the first of the month through the 21st of the month. There are exceptions to this rule, but very rarely do we extend our monthly data collection efforts through the end of the month.

I received your letter and called to be interviewed. They told me I had to wait until the first of the month, why?

Letters are sent out about a week before we begin calling so that we allow time for the letters to get to all our respondents ahead of time. We cannot start interviewing adults until the first of the month because we administer our surveys in monthly batches. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Can I call you to do the survey at my convenience?

Yes. Our contractor has a toll free number that you can call at your convenience. You must call during calling hours though. Their toll free number is 1-800-727-5016.

Why is Clearwater, FL/ Boise, ID calling me if I live in Texas?

The Department of State Health Services awarded a contract to Clearwater Research in December 2008 to conduct telephone interviews on our behalf. They conduct similar interviews in several other states and are very experienced in telephone surveys. Their company is based in Boise, ID.

My husband/ wife/ girlfriend/ boyfriend/ roommate doesn’t want to do the survey, can I do it for them?

No. We have to talk to the randomly selected adult in order to do the interview. “Proxy” interviews are not allowed because you may not be able to answer all the questions with certainty.

Why did I receive a letter in the mail telling me to expect a phone call from you?

As a courtesy, if we can match an address to your phone number, we mail out letters before we call so that you know it’s a legitimate survey that the DSHS is conducting. We also provide our contractor’s phone number so that you can be interviewed at your convenience.

Why does my Caller ID say unknown or Clearwater Research?

The Department of State Health Services awarded a contract to Clearwater Research in December 2008 to conduct telephone interviews on our behalf. It is your local telephone company service that determines what will be displayed on your Caller ID. In some instances it will say “Clearwater Research” and in other cases it will just be unknown.

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Last updated June 07, 2013