Special Use Research File

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A Special Use Research File (SURF) containing non-publicly available California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) variables may be available to interested researchers and their associated organizations. SURFs can be merged with the CHIS Public Use Files (PUFs) depending on variables requested. Researchers must submit an application for review by the CHIS Data Disclosure Review Committee (DDRC). Criteria for project approval include the following: feasibility of the project, risk of disclosure of confidential and/or sensitive information, and consistency with the purpose of the California Health Interview Survey.


The minimum cost of obtaining a SURF is $500.00 (except for the 2-Year PUF/SURF). This minimum covers the costs associated with application review, data file setup, and basic technical assistance. Custom SURFs that contain multiple variables and complex pooling of datasets/weights will require additional costs based on the request. 

Standard SURFs

The Data Access Center provides template SURFs for Sexual Orientation, Mental Health, and the CHIS Discriminatory Module (DM). SURF content and additional documentation can be found in their respective pages below.

Custom SURF

Researchers can request a SURF containing non-publicly available CHIS variables with varying confidential/sensitive information. Geographic variables cannot be included due to confidentiality concerns. All custom SURFs will be reviewed by the DDRC for risk of disclosure of confidential and/or sensitive information.

DAC SURF Application


Students who are interested in using a SURF for their thesis or dissertation can submit a DAC scholarship application to waive a portion of accrued costs for a SURF. Please submit the application below to: dacchpr@ucla.edu

Student DAC Scholarship Application



With the switch to single-year data files, starting in 2016, two-year data files (such as a combined 2013-2014 file) will no longer be made available as a PUF. The smaller sample size of the one-year data requires collapsing some variables, such as small racial/ethnic groups. If you need access to a population group that is not available in the one-year file (such as Native American or Other Pacific Islander), please submit a digital application to the Data Access Center by completing the form below. This datafile is provided free of charge.

 CHIS Two-Year PUF/SURF Application (available for 2011-2012, 2013-2014)