About the COVID Community Impact Survey (CCIS)

Learn about the CCIS, including its purpose, how it was conducted, and how the data are being used.

Table of Contents

What is the purpose of the CCIS?

The pandemic is both exacerbating pre-existing public health concerns and creating new health crises to address. Even people who have not become sick with COVID-19 are managing stress, uncertainty, and isolation during this challenging time.

Department of Public Health (DPH) staff and stakeholders conducted this survey to better understand the immediate and long-term health needs, including social and economic consequences, facing the Commonwealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A deeper understanding of which populations are most impacted can help inform and prioritize resource deployment and policy actions. The goal is for DPH to use and share these data to prioritize our pandemic response and to create collaborative solutions with community partners.

How did DPH conduct this survey?

The COVID Community Impact Survey (CCIS) was an online anonymous survey conducted in the Fall of 2020 to assess emerging health needs influenced by the pandemic and which populations were most impacted by them. The survey was offered to both youth and adults across the Commonwealth by computer, phone, or tablet, and was available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, Khmer, Cape Verdean Creole, Russian, and Arabic.

To ensure that the experiences of Massachusetts residents were accurately reflected in the findings, community partners provided input at every step of the process from survey drafts and recruitment, to focus groups, data analysis, and interpretation. Recruitment was conducted in partnership with a network of priority population community-based organizations and used a snowballing approach to ensure that adequate sample size was reached among key populations (by disability, race, sexual orientation, gender, geography, income, education, age, and industry/occupation).

These efforts were overwhelmingly successful in reaching priority populations. Compared to past annual surveys, ten times as many indigenous and LGBTQA respondents, over five times as many non-English speaking, Hispanic/Latinx, and Asian American respondents, and more than twice the number of respondents the deaf/hard of hearing and Black communities participated in CCIS.

This unprecedented number of responses has enabled us to provide granular population and geography specific findings to inform pandemic response efforts across the Commonwealth.  Results were weighted for generalizability.

Survey topics included experiences with COVID-19 infection, access to basic needs (food, medicine, cleaning products, housing, technology), access to testing, access to healthcare, pandemic-related changes in employment, impacts on mental health, substance use, discrimination, and intimate partner violence.

How does this survey work to improve health equity in MA?

  • Many existing health data sets do not include adequate numbers of individuals in key populations for us to be able to calculate who is most impacted by certain public health issues. To overcome this limitation, the CCIS intentionally mobilized a network of priority population partners and leveraged a research methodology that ensures adequate sample size was reached among key populations.
  • The unprecedented number of responses from priority populations allows us to conduct the critical sub-analysis needed to understand the specific needs and experiences of these groups and prioritize our deployment of resources to address them.
  • Additional focus groups were conducted with priority populations, including the deaf and hard of hearing community.
  • Results are being examined by an unprecedented number of categories including race, ethnicity groups, sexual orientation, gender identity, transgender status, types of disability, income, education, language spoken, industry/occupation, geography, employment status, and age.

How are CCIS data being used?

Data and findings from CCIS are being used across the Department of Public Health to inform prioritization, program development, resource allocation, and strategic planning. Findings are also being shared with sister agencies and with external partners to support their work. A CCIS Impact Chapter has been released that highlights examples of how CCIS data has impacted our collective work.

How can you translate CCIS data to action?

The findings from CCIS can be used in many ways to promote health equity across Massachusetts. Below are some examples of how to translate CCIS data to action:

  • Develop strategies to address risks for COVID-19 spread for people who encounter multiple environmental barriers to social distancing.
  • Improve access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and implement social distancing and other protective practices such as safety training, ventilation, and sanitation in workplaces.
  • Increase opportunities for working from home, particularly when employees feel unwell.
  • Increase short-term and long-term support to expand access to healthcare, including through tele-health and behavioral health coverage.
  • Communicate clearly about the importance of accessing routine and emergency health care.
  • Communicate clearly about testing information, sites, and opportunities, and provide more testing opportunities for those who cannot work from home.

How can I learn more about the CCIS?

View our CCIS Introduction Webinar for more information on how the CCIS was conducted and how to interpret and act upon the results.

See the questions we asked in the CCIS 2020 Adult and Youth questionnaires:  

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