Keeping tabs on the health of Californians

The Challenge 

Policymakers and researchers need a detailed picture of residents’ health and health care needs to promote policies that improve public health; conduct studies; justify programs that fight health threats like obesity and diabetes; and more.

The UCLA Center for Health Policy Research asked Westat to help design and carry out the California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the largest state health survey in the country.

Our Solutions 

  • We helped UCLA design a telephone survey that was conducted every 2 years from 2001 through 2009, and continuously since 2011.
  • Our trained interviewers call randomly selected telephone numbers, including cell phone numbers. For each household, the system also randomly selects an adult to respond to the survey, as well as a teen and/or child if present in the household.
  • In 2011 and 2012, we surveyed more than 44,500 households, including approximately 43,000 adults, 2,800 adolescents, and 7,300 children, in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean.
  • We cleaned and weighted the data to ensure that analyses of the data would accurately represent the California population.

The Results 

  • The CHIS has become well known for collecting data about members of diverse ethnic and racial groups; lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals; and other groups of special interest.
  • Planners and policymakers in California have used CHIS data to design programs to promote health in communities across the state.
  • The survey has helped analysts estimate the impact of health care reform on insurance programs in California.
  • More than a dozen county commissions have used CHIS data to develop new insurance programs for children ineligible for other options.

Our Client 

University of California, Los Angeles