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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


    To request the Texas data sets, please download this PUDF User Agreement Form.

    For data requests, please send an email to:
    PDF files must be viewed/printed with Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Survey Frequently Asked Questions for the Mail-in Surveys

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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?

Data Collection Information
How did you get my address?
Why do you keep contacting me after I told you I don’t want to participate?
My husband / wife / girlfriend / boyfriend doesn’t want to do the survey, can I do it for them?


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. Because we were unable to reach your household by phone, we are providing an opportunity to complete our survey by mail. 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.

Will you be collecting any personal information?

We will not collect any personal 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 the BRFSS since 1987. Clearwater Research is the current contractor for DSHS. All interviewers have been trained according to the protocols specified 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 about participating.

Is my information kept confidential?

Yes. There are many procedures in place to prevent the disclosure of information that may identify 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, Michelle L. Cook, by phone at 888-963-7111 x6593, 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 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 should take you around 20 minutes to complete, but can run a little bit shorter or longer depending on the number of questions directly related to you and how long you take to answer each question.

What languages do you conduct the survey in?

The survey in conducted in English and Spanish.

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Data Collection Information

How did you get my address?

We get two files from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One file contains all the phone numbers our contractor will be dialing in a given month and the other file contains any addresses that are linked to those phone numbers.

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

Based on the structure of our survey and cost to complete each survey, CDC recommends that we first try to obtain most of our interviews by landline telephone interview. On occasion, people refuse to complete the survey by telephone because they are afraid that it is not a legitimate survey. We understand this concern and are trying to conduct the survey in a manner that may be more suitable and convenient for you to participate. The information that you give is extremely helpful across the state.

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

No. The adult with the next birthday needs to complete the survey. “Proxy” interviews are not allowed because you may not be able to answer all the questions with certainty.

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Last Updated August, 2009

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Last updated July 05, 2010