The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is offering Commonwealth residents an opportunity to shape the future health of their communities through a statewide survey aimed at collecting input on the challenges their communities face and where resources should be directed.
DPH’s Community Health Equity Initiative will use the survey findings to build on the state’s efforts to provide access to social and economic opportunities that keep people healthy, like affordable housing, reliable transportation, and nutritious, affordable food.
The 2023 Community Health Equity Survey was co-designed with residents and community partners across the state and examines the root causes of health outcomes to identify community strengths, gaps, health needs, concerns, inequities, and unintended consequences related to public health crises.
“To improve the health of people in Massachusetts, we need to hear from everyone, including the communities and individuals who have been too long denied an equal chance at health,” said Public Health Commissioner Robert Goldstein, MD, PhD. “We know Black and Brown communities have historically faced barriers to health, as have those who are disabled and many who were not born in this country. These communities have traditionally been left out of the conversation. It is especially important for their voices and experiences to be heard.”
DPH will use the survey results to improve its programs, make decisions about funding and resources, and support policies to improve health inequities. Survey results will be made available to the public and community-based organizations so they can use the findings to better serve community needs.
Residents will be asked to answer questions on topics such as:
• Access to basic needs, like health care and transportation
• Physical and mental health and well-being
• Experiences with COVID-19
• Experiences with housing, education, and work
• Demographic information, such as age, gender, and race.
The Community Health Equity Survey is anonymous, does not ask for identifying information such as immigration status, and cannot be connected back to residents in any way.
DPH wants to hear from a broad range of Commonwealth residents, including people and communities often disproportionately affected by health emergencies. Surveys are especially needed from people experiencing housing insecurity, frontline workers, people with disabilities, people who identify as LGBTQ+, older adults (aged 60+), parents and caregivers of children with special health care needs, people who are pregnant, rural residents, people who speak a primary language other than English, parents under 25, young people (aged 14 to 24), veterans, and immigrants. Vital to the effectiveness of the survey is the participation of people representing racial/ethnic groups disproportionately impacted by health emergencies, including American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Black, and Hispanic/Latino/Latine residents.
The survey opened July 31, 2023, and it will be available through early fall 2023. Anyone aged 14 and older can take the survey. It takes approximately 15 to 25 minutes to complete and is available in 11 languages: Arabic, Cape Verdean Creole, Chinese (simplified), Chinese traditional, English, Haitian Creole, Khmer, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. The survey will also be available in American Sign Language later this summer.