JUNEAU — SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is sponsoring the 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a biannual telephone survey taking place over several weeks in December. At least 600 households in Southeast Alaska will be invited to participate in a 15 minute, confidential telephone survey that focuses on gathering health-related information. Health care topics of interest include healthcare access, quality of life, and health practices that affect the prevalence of chronic disease.

The region-specific survey provides SEARHC with data that is not in the annual statewide BRFSS study. The statewide survey does attempt to assess the health risks of Alaska Natives and Native Americans; however, the numbers are small and require the state to combine years of data to get significant results. The SEARHC BRFSS contains many of the same questions used in the statewide survey, so comparisons to statewide data are also available. This survey is the seventh such survey conducted by the organization since 2005, which allows for comparisons with previous years.

SEARHC is committed to being responsive to the needs of the 18 communities it serves. Once the data collected in this survey is analyzed and summarized, SEARHC uses the results to guide program planning, to determine how the organization provides health services and in evaluating the success of prevention initiatives. The SEARHC BRFSS data analyzed from 2005-2014 shows an overall positive change in many health behaviors and attitudes of Southeast Alaska residents.

SEARHC highly encourages everyone that receives a call to participate in this year’s BRFSS telephone survey and to encourage family and friends to do so as well. Completing the study makes a real difference and helps SEARHC improve preventative health services for the people it serves.

Anyone with questions or concerns should contact Kathy O’Gara at (907) 966-8352 or kathyo@searhc.org.