Turning great ideas into healthier communities


Survey Research Group

Survey Research Group's mission is to foster health, well-being, and quality of life through rigorous quantitative and qualitative research guided by the principles of equity in health, environment, education, and economic contexts. To achieve this mission, SRG conducts research on a local to global level in partnership with communities.


California Health Accountable for Health Initiative Accelerator Site Evaluation

Survey Research Group conducted a program evaluation for the the California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (CACHI) Accelerator ACH sites. The evaluation measured sites' capacity and progress on the 7 elements for CACHI. The results of the evaluation will inform future ACH efforts in California and nationwide.

California Health Interview Survey - Questionnaire Development

Survey Research Group provides questionnaire development support for the California Health Interview Survey, conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles. SRG provides assistance with question development, convenes workgroups, conducts pretesting and usability testing, and oversees English language simplification and question translations in five language.

Core Metrics Pilot Project

Dr. Ryan-Ibarra was the lead epidemiologist for the Core Metrics Pilot Project. This project was funded by the Blue Shield Foundation of California to test using a set of 16 standard health indicators in two California counties: Fresno County and Monterey County. The culmination of this work were two interactive dashboards, one for each county, in English and Spanish that local health departments used to plan programs and community residents used to conduct education and advocacy.

Enhancing the Evidence Base for SNAP-Ed

The purpose of this project is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of five SNAP-Ed interventions in Michigan. The results of such as evaluation can be used to expand these successful programs and recognize the innovative work that the Michigan Fitness Foundation, as a non-profit organization, is leading. This project is conducted as a collaboration between PHI's Center for Wellness and Nutrition and Survey Research Group.

Kettleman City Community Canvass

PHI SRG’s Dr. Ryan-Ibarra and Dr. Marta Induni led the Kettleman City Community Health Canvass in 2017. This work used a strengths-based approach to gather data about the needs of Kettleman City residents that could be addressed by Kings County’s Public Health Department. This project included designing survey instruments, conducting in-person interviews in English and Spanish with residents in Kettleman City, and sharing the results of the research back with community members.

Multi-purpose Prevention Technologies Target Population Identification Mapping Tool

The objective of this ArcGIS mapping tool is to identify and characterize priority sub-national areas in sub-Saharan Africa with a likelihood of successful and impactful uptake of multi-purpose prevention technologies that provide contraception and prevention from HIV. Data from Demographic Health Survey and AIDS Indicator Survey were mapped for eleven countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This project is conducted as a collaboration between PHI's CAMI Health and Survey Research Group.

Napa County Emergency Food System Study

Dr. Ryan-Ibarra and her team conducted the Napa County Emergency Food System Study for Napa County’s Public Health Department in 2018. The team designed instruments, oversaw survey data collection, conducted focus groups, analyzed data, prepared a comprehensive report, and built an interactive dashboard. This project focused on three priority populations, including Spanish-speakers and individuals experiencing homelessness.

Phoenix Study Computer Assisted In-Person Interviewing Software

Survey Research Group provides data collection support for in-person data collection on tablets for the Phoenix Study, a longitudinal study conducted by PHI's Health Interventions for Underserved Populations (HIPUP). HIPUP aims to improve substance abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment research and services for underserved populations, such as transgender persons, Asian and Pacific Islander men who have sex with men (MSM) and substance users.

Promoting Active Communities Program Evaluation

The purpose of this project is to conduct a process evaluation for the Promoting Active Communities (PAC) assessment tool, designed by the Michigan Fitness Foundation to help communities better understand barriers to active living and solutions to overcome those barriers. The results can be used to scale the PAC for use throughout Michigan and the country. This project is conducted as a collaboration between PHI's Center for Wellness and Nutrition and Survey Research Group.

Here's How We're Making a Difference

Customized Solutions for Complex Project Management

The Three Generations Study is a longitudinal follow-up study of breast cancer and other diseases in women led by PHI's Child Health and Development Studies (CHDS). The partnership between CHDS and PHI's Survey Research Group (SRG) originated with telephone interviews of the daughters of the original participants.

After observing the interview process, SRG proposed and built a customized Participant Relationship Management System, which allows interviewers to build personalized connections with the participants and their children through attentive relationship management. SRG also developed a customized web interview to be completed on computer, tablet, or smartphone. Data collected through this web survey is housed directly on SRG servers, ensuring full security and control over confidential data. As part of the in-home visit portion of the study, SRG created an iPad solution which enabled shared calendars between the scheduling staff and the examiners, while the custom software allowed examiners to retrieve participant contact information, automatically linking them to GPS mapping software.

Evaluating Michigan's Produce for Pantries Program

The Michigan Produce for Pantries program encourages home and community gardeners to plant, grow and share produce with food pantries in their neighborhoods—providing over 5,000 food pantry clients with access to homegrown fresh fruits and veggies, and helping to connect them with SNAP-Ed resources and trainings from the Michigan Harvest of the Month program.

In their evaluation, PHI’s Survey Research Group found that food bank clients reportedly loved Produce for Pantries, especially the taste testing and interactions with the nutrition educators. Most felt confident they could prepare the fruits and vegetables they received from the emergency food distribution sites at home, and eighty-nine percent of clients felt very sure they could prepare the produce they took home in a way that their family would eat and enjoy.

Survey Research Group also evaluated the effects of the Produce for Pantries program on fruit and vegetable intake and assessed policy, systems, and environmental change strategies to implement at emergency food distribution sites.

Evaluating the Berkeley Soda Tax

When Berkeley, CA became the first city in the U.S. to pass a significant excise tax on sugary drinks in 2014, PHI was funded to evaluate its impact. Lynn Silver, PHI’s senior advisor on chronic disease and former assistant health commissioner in New York City, worked with PHI’s Survey Research Group and the University of North Carolina to evaluate the tax’s impact on consumption patterns and prices. Their results showed that the $0.01 per ounce soda tax is working as intended: the fee was passed on to the retail price of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in large and small chain supermarkets and gas stations. View the findings

In 2017, PHI and the University of North Carolina completed a second evaluation of the tax. Published in PLOS Medicine, the largest-to-date evaluation looked at the first 12 months of the tax's implementation, and showed a 9.6% drop in sugar-sweetened beverage purchases. Meanwhile, the sales of untaxed healthier beverages rose significantly, by 3.5%—and sales of water rose by 15.6%. The study found no negative impact on store revenue or consumer grocery bills, and the tax helped the city raise $1,416,973 for nutrition and obesity prevention activities in schools, childcare and other community settings. Read the study

An additional PHI analysis found that a year and a half after passage of the tax, food sector sales tax revenue rose by 15% in the city, and 469 new food sector jobs were created—an increase of 7.2%. Learn more.

Identifying the Prevalence of ACEs

PHI’s Survey Research Group conducted a survey of nearly 28,000 California residents, leading to shocking revelations that one out of five California adults with children living in their homes were beaten, kicked or physically abused when they were children, and one in ten were sexually abused. This data has fed into a larger campaign for public health organizations around the country to begin treating the long-lasting effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) as an urgent public health crisis. 

Using the data, PHI, LiveStories, and The Center for Youth Wellness created an interactive data tool that displays county and state-wide data about the pervasiveness of ACEs alongside resources and words of wisdom from thought leaders. Facilitated by PHI’s new data and persuasive storytelling, the field is shifting its understanding of how to treat and understand the generational effects of trauma and events experienced in childhood.

Learn more by viewing the interactive data story.

Sensitive Topics and Hard-to-Reach Populations

In 2012, the County of Orange Health Care Agency, Alcohol and Drug Education Prevention Team, contracted with Survey Research Group (SRG) to conduct the Orange County Alcohol and Other Drugs Study, a random-digit dial survey of adults in Orange County funded by the County of Orange Health Care Agency and conducted every ten years. SRG was responsible for survey instrument translation in Spanish and Vietnamese, data collection, data cleaning, and creating weights using iterative proportional fitting techniques (raking).

Tracking Smoking Rates Over the Decades

PHI’s Survey Research Group collected important data documenting tobacco use from 1987 to present, helping to track and inform prevention efforts.

Their research found that only 11.9 percent of the state’s adults smoked in 2010, making California one of only two states to reach the federal Healthy People 2020 target of reducing the percentage of adults who smoke to 12 percent.