Welcome to the 2021 Culture of Data Conference!
April 8-9, 2021
Colorado Public Health Association
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Thursday, April 8 • 1:00pm - 2:15pm
A2 Breakout Session: Behavioral Health Data

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This session includes two presentations about how data is used to identify and respond to behavioral health challenges.
  • Presentation 1: Root Causes: A Statistical Journey into Social and Economic Factors Influencing Mental Health (Lindsey Whittington, Emily Johnson; Colorado Health Institute)
  • Presentation 2: A Community's Data Response to Current and Emerging Drug Threats (Anne Hill, Ryan Turner, Jenny Case; Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment)

Full presentation descriptions:
Root Causes: A Statistical Journey into Social and Economic Factors Influencing Mental Health
The Colorado Health Institute (CHI), in partnership with The Colorado Health Foundation, has developed the Root Causes project, a three-phase initiative that created multiple interactive tools allowing users to explore and understand the impact of specific economic, social, and environmental factors on mental health in their local communities. Together, these tools can help policymakers, community leaders, foundations, local agencies, researchers, and others understand what factors are associated with mental health outcomes and how these factors have changed over time at the local level. These tools help identify areas in Colorado that may be experiencing disparities in health, social, and economic outcomes and quantify the contributions these factors have on mental health.    

During the first two phases of work, CHI created a mapping tool that brings together data from multiple sources into one place – providing the user with a “one-stop shop” for data on economic, social, and environmental factors that influence mental health in Colorado. The tool also provided users with landing pages dedicated to county-level perspectives that helped further explore correlations of these indicators with mental health. CHI also engaged with community members to highlight stories of how these factors have changed in their communities and how these changes may have influenced mental health over time.     

In the final phase, CHI adapted a model that quantifies the impact of factors that directly influence mental health and, if improved, show attainable changes in mental health both state-wide and regionally. This model is a creative and innovative approach in discerning possible policy or programmatic solutions that could lead to real improvements.     

The presentation will highlight all phases of this innovative work. It will walk attendees through each one to demonstrate the creative ways that data can be used to understand mental health in local communities in Colorado.   

A Community's Data Response to Current and Emerging Drug Threats 
The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) received a grant from the Department of Justice (DOJ) in September 2019 to collect organizational-related data on current and emerging drug threats and collectively respond to these threats in Pueblo County. Beginning in November 2019, PDPHE convened existing and new community partners from different sectors (safety, health, harm reduction, schools/child well-being) as well as broad representation from agencies including data analysts to leadership to: 1) determine project-based research questions; 2) select a data management software system; 3) identify critical drug-related measures; 4) visualize data publicly; and 5) respond to drug-related threats using data.   Partners were critical in determining research questions aimed to: 1) understand current and emerging drug threats; 2) learn from drug-related issues partner agencies were encountering; and 3) determine mitigation of drug threats as well as provide input in brainstorming sessions on critical components when choosing a data management software system such as necessary basic features, software requirements, security, installation, and training. Additionally, partners selected drug-related measures to collect based on the significance/value of the data, feasibility of collection, consistency across sectors, and regularity of data collection. Efforts were made to incorporate health equity principles in the data collection process including area of residence, gender, age, and race/ethnicity.  Regular data collection began in April 2020 after partners signed data agreements. PDPHE aggregated data and with guidance from community partners, constructed internal dashboards using the data software system, Tableau. The visuals provided a comprehensive understanding and visual representation of drug-related arrests, overdose calls, deaths, naloxone distribution, and health-related services as well as offered partners accessibility and insight into the data using a more hands-on interactive approach. Internal dashboard views were reviewed by partners over three months with the goal of creating a public dashboard for display by January 2021. 


Jenny Case

Public Health Planner, Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment
After completing her master’s degree in public health, Jenny worked with populations experiencing homelessness both as a community health worker and a health services coordinator in addition to developing and implementing sexual health education curriculum with high-risk youth... Read More →

Ryan Turner

Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment
Ryan works at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) as a Health Promotion Specialist and public health facilitator. Ryan facilitates the Substance Use Response Ecosystem (SURE), a community coalition focusing on addressing substance use in Pueblo County. Ryan... Read More →
avatar for Anne Hill

Anne Hill

Epidemiology, Pueblo Department of Public Health & Environment
Anne works at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) as the Public Health Epidemiologist.  Anne assists the Pueblo County Partnerships for Data grant with data analysis and visualization as well participates on other data projects including Pueblo County’s... Read More →
avatar for Lindsey Whittington

Lindsey Whittington

Research, Colorado Health Institute
Lindsey Whittington joined the Colorado Health Institute in November 2019. Lindsey’s work includes quantitative research analysis of public health surveillance systems and creating data visualizations. Before coming to CHI, Lindsey worked at Tri-County Health Department where she... Read More →

Thursday April 8, 2021 1:00pm - 2:15pm MDT