“It’s easy to make excuses for our health problems, such as our lifestyle or our diet, but when we’re looking at the bigger picture and we think about what we share in common in our communities, it’s our environment, it’s our land, our air and our water. So we need to hear from you, the more surveys we collect, the better, our chances of understanding the relationship between the contaminants in your environment and the health of your community. The health survey is located on our website. Please take it today. And with our collective experiences, we will be able to create the change that our communities desperately need.” – Jackie Medcalf, THEA Founder 

We’re in the final days of our campaign to reach 500 Community Health Survey responses by May 30! Thank anyone who has filled out a survey so far. The Community Health Survey is a vital tool we use here at THEA to help us get a more complete picture of the state of public health in our communities and to fill in some of the gaps in our understanding of the relationship between our environment and our health. You’ve probably heard us talk about the survey a million times before. But in case you haven’t, here’s a recap:

We currently know for a fact that all three of the communities we work with are facing abnormally high rates of specific types of cancer. We know this because over the past few years, we and other groups in the community have asked the state to look into rates for certain types of cancer. Every time the state has been asked to look into cancer rates, they have found abnormally high rates of at least one–but usually multiple– cancer types. And so far, only a handful of types of cancer have been investigated. If every time investigations occur abnormally high rates are found, yet only a handful of types have been investigated, it leaves us wondering what else is out there. What do the rates look like for all the cancer types they haven’t investigated yet?

Unfortunately, we can’t just ask the state to look at rates for all cancers. Instead, we have to compile a list of every single type of cancer present in our communities. Then, we can take that list to the state and ask them to pull the rates for every type.  

How are we going to compile this list? By asking you to tell us what’s out there. The Community Health Survey is our way of making sure every voice in the community has the chance to be heard. If you tell us what types of cancer or other illness you or a member of your family is battling or has battled in the past, then we can do something about it. We can ask the state to look into whether or not that type of cancer is prevalent at abnormally high rates, and we can evaluate the link between that type of cancer and the potential exposure pathways to toxic contamination that exists in your community. We can use that data to advocate for the environmental justice our communities deserve.

That’s why we are asking everyone to fill out the Community Health Survey. Our collective knowledge is power. 

We are days away from our deadline to send in our list of cancer types to the Department of State Health Services. If you haven’t filled out the survey and used your voice to let us know what health problems your family is facing, now is your chance. Now is our chance to work together to get the information we need to create real change.

We are so grateful to those who have filled out the survey so far. We’ve learned lots of helpful information such as several instances of autoimmune disease, brain cancer, uterine cancer, and rare cancers like Malignant Paraganglioma Spinal Cord Tumors–illnesses we weren’t aware of in the community before.

Additionally, we want to remind everyone that our survey is now available in Spanish! We want to make sure this opportunity to participate in our movement is available to all local residents, and we hope that the incorporation of our survey in Spanish is a helpful step in that direction.

The survey is short and easy to complete. It should take about two to five minutes of your time, and you can do it on your phone, your tablet, or your computer. It is confidential, and we will not share your name or contact information with the state in any way. It will simply ask a few questions regarding the types of cancer your family has experienced, and we will use the data solely to understand which cancer types are prevalent in our communities so we can ask the state to pull the rates for those types of cancer.

Find the survey here: www.txhea.org/community-health-survey