HHSA Research

HHSA has an established process for the authorization of requests to conduct research involving HHSA resources and to monitor ongoing research activities. All persons, organizations, and institutions planning to conduct research involving County of San Diego HHSA resources shall obtain written authorization from the Director of the associated HHSA Department/Office, HHSA Compliance representative, and the Director of the Office of Strategy and Innovation (OSI) prior to the start of the research and when there are amendments to research practices, policy, data, or timelines.


This site is intended to provide detailed instructions on how to navigate the HHSA research request process for both the interested researcher and the involved internal Department/Office(s). Please refer to the below sections most applicable to you for further information.

On this page:

Instructions for Researchers

All persons, organizations, and institutions planning to conduct research involving County of San Diego HHSA resources must submit all applicable documents specified in the policy/procedure to the impacted Departments/Office(s). The HHSA Department/Office(s) shall be the primary point of contact for all interested parties and will conduct the initial application review based on their internal process. Each respective Department/Office may develop additional internal policies and/or procedures that are more specific as necessary to guide the research review and oversight in their organizations. Research applications will additionally be reviewed by HHSA OSI and HHSA Compliance, similarly based on their internal policies and/or procedures. The final application decision will be communicated to the interested party by the appropriate Department/Office.

Overview of Steps

Step 1: Review Guidelines for Authorizing Research Using HHSA Resources, Identify Department/Office(s) of interest to conduct research with, and contact appropriate Department/Office(s) about research idea (see Contact List below). 

Guidelines for Authorizing Research Using HHSA Resources

Step 2: Download and complete documents needed for research application (Appendix A), with the Adobe Acrobat desktop application. Refer to Department/Office(s) contact for assistance.

Appendix A | Application/Instructions for Researcher

*If there are issues with opening the above Appendix A document, please refer to the FAQs section of this website for additional assistance. 

Step 3: Submit application documents to the appropriate Department/Office(s) contact for review and approval.


Please view the Process Map for Researchers for more information.

Instructions for Department/Office(s)

Parties who are interested in conducting research using HHSA resources shall be directed to submit all applicable documents to the impacted Department/Office(s). Each Department/Office(s) shall utilize their internal policies and/or procedures to complete an initial application review. For approved applications, an HHSA Research Request Form (link) must be completed by the Department/Office to inform HHSA OSI of a new research request. HHSA OSI will conduct an application review, based on their own policies and/or procedures and forward to HHSA Compliance for review, once approved. All communication regarding HHSA research applications will be between HHSA OSI, Compliance, and the impacted Department/Office(s) and the final application decision will be communicated to the interested party by the appropriate Department/Office. For approved applications, researchers will continue to work with the Department/Office(s) to commence HHSA Agreements, if applicable, and provide the ongoing requirements for the duration of study. 

Overview of Steps

Step 1: Serve as the point of contact for Researcher and provide assistance on application documents as needed. 

Step 2: Review and determine research request application and all associated documentation required.

Step 3: Complete HHSA Research Submission Form to submit research request application, all associated documentation from the Researcher, and the HHSA Data Fields Request.

Detailed instructions can be found in Appendix B linked below.

Appendix B | Instructions for Department/Office(s)

HHSA Data Fields Request | Source system(s) used and data fields to be provided to researcher


Please view the Process Map for Department/Office(s) for more information.

HHSA Research Application Decision Tree

Please refer to the HHSA Research Application Decision Tree to determine whether a research application is needed. 

Procedures and Application Documents

Below are downloadable and printable documents for authorizing research using HHSA Resources.

Department/Office(s) Contacts

Below are the contacts of the HHSA Department/Office(s) for inquiries about research.

Department/Office: Aging & Independence Services

Contact: Kristen Smith

Email: Kristen.Smith@sdcounty.ca.gov


Department/Office: Child and Family Well-Being

Contact: Balambal Bharti

Email: Balambal.Bharti@sdcounty.ca.gov


Department/Office: Housing and Community Development Services

Contact: Julio Villarreal

Email: JulioC.Villarreal@sdcounty.ca.gov


Department/Office: Medical Care Services

Contact: Jamie Beam

Email: Jamie.Beam@sdcounty.ca.gov


Department/Office: Self-Sufficiency Services-Office of Military & Veterans Affairs

Contact: Alejandra Gutierrez

Email: Alejandra.Gutierrez@sdcounty.ca.gov

Department/Office: Behavioral Health Services

Contact: BHS Research Team

Email: bhsresearch.hhsa@sdcounty.ca.gov            


Department/Office: First 5

Contact: Hunter Watson

Email: Hunter.Watson@sdcounty.ca.gov


Department/Office: Homeless Solutions and Equitable Communities

Contact: Angela Fang

Email: Angela.Fang@sdcounty.ca.gov


Department/Office: Public Health Services

Contact: Ankita Kadakia

Email: Ankita.Kadakia@sdcounty.ca.gov

Frequently Asked Questions

HHSA Research FAQs

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