Welcome to the 2021 Culture of Data Conference!
April 8-9, 2021
Colorado Public Health Association
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Thursday, April 8 • 2:45pm - 4:00pm
B1 Breakout Session: How the Pandemic is Impacting Public and Behavioral Health Indicators

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This session includes two presentations about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting many areas of life and the impacts that are emerging in surveillance and survey data.
  • Presentation 1: Health Inequities and the Impact of COVID-19 Among Colorado’s Young People – Results from the 2020 HKCS Supplement (Whitney Israel - Colorado School of Public Health Anschutz Medical Campus; Emily Fine - Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment)
  • Presentation 2: Utilizing a State Epidemiology Workgroup to Generate a Behavioral Health COVID Impacts Report (Stacey McClellan, Julia Ricotta, Charlotte Gray; OMNI Institute)

Full presentation descriptions:
Health Inequities and the Impact of COVID-19 Among Colorado’s Young People – Results from the 2020 HKCS Supplement
The purpose of this session is to share youth health outcomes and behaviors from the 2020 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) Supplement, specifically identifying health disparities among young people, contextualizing the disparities using an equity lens, and highlighting the collaborative effort of the Colorado School of Public Health (CSPH), Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and local school communities.     

In the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSPH School & Youth Survey team administered the 2020 HKCS Supplement to measure adolescent health outcomes across Colorado. The survey was a shortened version of the standard HKCS, which is aligned with the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey and administered in odd-numbered years. The last full HKCS was administered in the fall of 2019 to over 100,000 middle and high school students.     

The 2020 HKCS Supplement was administered from October through December with the purpose of collecting critical data to evaluate the effects of COVID-19 and other relevant and timely health indicators such as experiences with racism & discrimination, ACEs, and resilience. In addition to these new measures, the instrument retained alignment with core measures in the 2019 HKCS for comparative analysis (e.g., mental health, substance use, school connectedness).    

The 2020 HKCS Supplement was offered to all participating schools of the 2019 HKCS (n=503). This convenience sampling resulted in approximately 73 schools enrolling in the survey.     We hope that this study will provide all participants with takeaways about the current state of health for young people in Colorado, with an emphasis on framing the data to understand systemic inequities experienced by Colorado youth during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

Utilizing a State Epidemiology Workgroup to Generate a Behavioral Health COVID Impacts Report
COVID-19 has affected community members' health and wellness beyond the coronavirus virus itself, and health data sources are slowly beginning to show these effects. This presentation will focus on the development of a state level COVID Impact report utilizing non-traditional, multidisciplinary data sources to illustrate the impact of COVID-19. It will also cover the process of using a statewide epidemiological outcome workgroup (SEOW) to access and understand this cross-sector data.   

The COVID Impact report includes preliminary trends in data around behavioral health, substance use and overdoses, the criminal justice system, and adverse childhood experiences since the onset of COVID in March 2020. Each topic covers data changes throughout the pandemic, how these changes compare to previous years of data, and how the state is addressing these impacts through program adaptations and innovative initiatives or programs. In addition to the behavioral health data, our team gathered other valuable resources to support the report, such as state legislation changes and the timeline of COVID-related restrictions, to create a holistic picture of each topic area.  

The presentation will also address some challenges our team faced when collecting data. As we gathered data, many traditional data or commonly used sources were not available for our focus areas. Our team had to look beyond traditional sources to converge on some indicators of interest. For example, in the absence of current local data on substance use rates, we looked at alcohol sales from the Alcoholic Beverage Control authority, alcohol-related crashes (State Patrol), hospitalizations, and death certificate data (Department of Health) to paint a picture of substance use during COVID-19. The lag in availability of traditional public health data sources has forced our team to take more creative approaches that have shifted our perspective as researchers and opened up new reporting opportunities.

avatar for Emily Fine

Emily Fine

School and Youth Survey Manager, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Emily Fine works as the School and Youth Survey Manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE). In this role, Emily is working to center the voices of young people in youth health surveillance.
avatar for Charlotte Gray

Charlotte Gray

Research Associate II, OMNI Institute
I am a Research Associate II at the OMNI Institute. I support multiple evaluation projects, with the majority focused on substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery. I received my MPH from Northeastern University in Boston and am passionate (to name a few) about public health... Read More →
avatar for Whitney Israel

Whitney Israel

Operations Manager, School and Youth Survey Team, Colorado School of Public Health
Whitney Israel is the Operations Manager for the School and Youth Survey Team at the Colorado School of Public Health. Whitney leads the Systems and Operations Core in school and youth survey methodology, development, and administration. Whitney obtained her Master in Public Health... Read More →
avatar for Stacey McClellan

Stacey McClellan

Research, OMNI Institute
Stacey McClellan joined OMNI as a Researcher focusing on Public Health in July 2019, providing evaluation support to substance use treatment programs. Since then, her focus has expanded to include evaluation support within the Criminal Justice field, including juvenile justice diversion... Read More →
avatar for Julia Ricotta

Julia Ricotta

Researcher, OMNI Institute
Julia Ricotta, MPH, is a Researcher at OMNI Institute. She primarily focuses on substance use disorder treatment and recovery, and has worked with several treatment centers on evaluation outcomes planning. Julia is passionate about partnering with communities to promote health equity... Read More →

avatar for Sarah


CEO, Trailhead Institute
Trailhead is a public health institute that serves as a basecamp for Colorado’s public health sector, working with and for all Coloradans through their communities and networks. Because health begins where we live, work, learn and play, Trailhead provides partnership and administrative... Read More →

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:45pm - 4:00pm MDT