The Community Assessment, more than anything else, is an opportunity to hear from and connect with the Chatham community. The information we gather through the assessment process guides our work, lets us know how we are doing, and helps us figure out where we should focus our collective efforts. It is also a unique process. There aren’t many other processes in place to gather such comprehensive information, and many agencies and organizations rely on the Community Assessment for community input. Out of this process, we as the Chatham Health Alliance establish health-focused priorities and then develop collective strategies to address these priorities.
So, to sum this up, the Community Assessment is about collaboration, dialogue, and action.
b) How is the information used?
The data we gather through this process, both through direct communication with residents as well as outside resources, guides the work of the Chatham Health Alliance and its member organizations. The Alliance will review the data in the fall and determine priorities for the next three to four years. The Alliance will then form subcommittees to work on the priorities and develop action plans with concrete strategies to create positive change on these issues. The data from the Community Assessment and subsequent surveys will also be used to track progress on existing efforts.
c) Why do only certain people get the survey?
The community survey is one way we gather data from the community. Unlike many processes of collecting information where we hear from only those who are at an event, speak at a meeting, or subscribe to something like the Chatlist, the community survey is designed to get a reflective view of the Chatham community as a whole. We do this by drawing a random sample of county residents and then reach out to these households to complete the survey. To ensure this sample of residents truly represents Chatham County, it is important that those who are selected take the time to complete it. Without this participation, some areas of the county may not be heard, which could jeopardize the success of this process. Therefore, we are extremely grateful to those selected residents who take the time to complete the survey.
This is similar to the 2014 Community Health Assessment survey, except for two features: one, we will be reaching out by mail to selected participants in advance so that they can complete the survey online or by paper before we go door-to-door and; two, we are asking participants to complete additional surveys in the future. This allows us to see how the community changes over time, ask more in-depth questions on an ongoing basis, and have a sample that we can update and grow for future Community Assessment. Understanding that completing surveys takes time, we are offering financial incentives to participants who enroll in this process each time they complete a survey.
d) How else can I participate?
Those who are not drawn in the survey sample have many ways to participate. Information about focus groups and community conversations will be posted on the website www.chathamtalks.org. We would love to have many community members attend these events and share their perspectives. The website will also have posted questions that will change throughout the process where residents can provide additional feedback. Finally, the Chatham Health Alliance is always accepting new members. To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
e) Why am I receiving the survey?
In order to have a representative view of the county, we selected households randomly to receive an invitation to participate. Over 400 households were selected.
f) Who in my household should take the survey?
Your household was randomly selected to participate. Many of the questions on the survey can be answered as a household. For the personal health questions we ask that you only provide responses for one member of your household who 18 years or older. Who in your household provides this personal information is up to you.
g) If I enroll, will I receive surveys in the future?
Yes, this is a new process for community assessments, and helps us to understand how county residents’ priorities change over time to help us respond effectively. You may receive up to two surveys per year, and remain eligible to participate as long as you reside in the county. You are never required to complete a survey. More information can be found in the protocol.
h) Will my individual responses be made public?
No, all responses will be aggregated before they are shared, and data will be stored on a secured server. More information about data security and survey procedures can be found in the protocol.
i) If I received the survey in the mail, am I required to complete it?
No, the survey is voluntary, and you may withdraw at any time. We hope that those who receive the survey invitation take the time to go online and fill it out, as this helps to ensure we have a good view of what is going on across the entire county. However, no one is required to take it.
j) Why are the survey links from UNC?
We are working with experienced researchers from the University of North Carolina to administer the survey and relying on UNC to manage the data collection. The survey data is collected on UNC servers to maintain the highest security of the data to ensure confidentiality of all data you provide. The consent forms are administered in Qualtrics software and the Community Assessment is administered using Epi Info software – two systems are used to further protect the confidentiality of the data you provide, so that the information provided in the consent form (name, contact info) is not stored with your responses to the Community Assessment.