Bach Harrison Louisiana State Epidemiological Workgroup Online Data System
About

This Website

About the Website

 

The Louisiana State Epidemiological Workgroup Online Data System was developed by Bach Harrison, LLC for the Governor’s Office Safe and Drug Free Schools Program as part of the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF-SIG). The component of the SPF-SIG project responsible for data collection and analysis is the State Epidemiological Workgroup (SEW). The SEW was formed in 2005, and tasked with identifying and evaluating the substance abuse prevention related data that exists in the state, and developing a database that would assist professionals in the substance abuse prevention and other related fields. This website was developed with the guidance of the SEW and the data presented through this website were collected as part of the Louisiana SEW dataset.

 

The indicators collected by the SEW represent the most comprehensive compilation of data related to the consumption and consequence of substance use and abuse in Louisiana. These data were first presented and summarized in a formal report (“Louisiana State Epidemiological Workgroup Report for the Strategic Prevention Framework – State Incentive Grant”) written in 2005 (released in April 2006). The SEW has updated the state epidemiology profile report biennially, with the second edition of the report released at the end of 2007 and the latest edition completed at the end of the 2009. To download or view of copies of the 2006, 2007 or 2009 state epidemiology profile reports, please visit the State Epidemiological Workgroup information page on the Governor’s Office website.

 

This online database website is intended to complement the written state epidemiology profile reports. While the state profile report provides an excellent overview of the data housed within the SEW dataset and provides useful presentations of state level data (including comparisons between state and national data), space limitations constrained the profile reports’ abilities to provide sub-state level data. Because one of the primary goals for the SEW has been to provide data that informs prevention planning at the community level, an extensive effort has been made to obtain as much data as possible that can be disaggregated at sub-state levels (primarily parish levels). To this aim, the website enhances the ability of substance abuse prevention professionals to access the SEW data at the community level by providing simple analysis tools, and allowing users to download raw data that can be analyzed further as needed. For community level prevention professionals, the website offers several advantages over the written epidemiological profile reports because it allows users to generate customizable queries of indicators by parish, and mapping options of several years of data (rather than a single year as provided in the profile reports). Additionally, users can examine trends within certain demographic variables such as gender, grade and age when these data are available.

 

 

About the Data

 

The data housed within the SEW dataset were collected from a variety of sources both nationally and within the state of Louisiana. The data are presented (and available for download) through the website as they were provided to the SEW by the source agency. Many indicators in the SEW dataset were provided by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s State Epidemiological Data System (SEDS). The SEDS compiles a variety of substance abuse relevant data that are available through national datasets. Other indicators were provided by agencies within the state of Louisiana. In particular, the Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), Office of Behavioral Health (formerly, Office Addictive Disorders) and DHH Office of Public Health provided a wealth of data to the SEW. For a complete list and descriptions of data sources contributing to the SEW dataset, please see the data sources tab of this website.

 

While the hardcopy state epidemiology profile reports provide excellent overviews of the SEW data at the state level, including comparisons between state and national trends, the online data system is focused on providing community (sub-state) level data that will allow prevention professionals at the community level to examine data relevant to the communities they serve. By default, charts and map presentations of the data from the online system focus on parish and state data (rather than national data), and allow comparisons between these three levels of geography. With that being said, some data sources the SEW felt were important for inclusion in the data system are only available at state and national levels. For these indicators, the system presents state and national data rather than parish data.

 

Every effort was made to include the most recent data possible for each indicator. However, most data sets do not have data for the current or previous year. There are a variety of reasons for the lag in data availability. However, the primary reason for this lag is that most data sources have one to three year delays in making their data available to the public.

 

Additionally, for many indicators the source agency(s) would not allow small numbers of events or cases associated with a particular level of geography (e.g., less than five cases per parish) to be released for public use. These restrictions regarding data release are intended to protect the anonymity of those who are counted as part of the statistics for those indicators. As a result, queries of some indicators may result in some parishes having missing values that actually reflects that a low number of events occurred in that geography (e.g., less than five cases) for the specified time period. Typically, this occurs for indicators which are low frequency events (e.g., suicide, homicide, etc.), and/or in areas where populations are small (i.e., resulting in lower numbers of events). In order to minimize the number of data points that were unable to be released due to small numbers, the SEW queried different indicators with different time periods as necessary. For lower frequency event indicators, years were aggregated to maximize the likelihood that publishable numbers would be available for as many parishes as possible. The lower frequency the indicator, the greater numbers of years of aggregation are necessary. Therefore, presentations of indicators through the online database system will vary in the timeframes that they are published. For example, higher frequency events such as property and violent crimes allow publication of single year data at parish level, whereas relatively lower frequency indicators such as lung cancer deaths allow publication of 3-year aggregated data, and very low frequency indicators such as accidental deaths due to fires only allow publication of 7-year aggregated data at parish level. In order to balance the desire to have trend data for as many time periods as possible, with the publication limitations of low frequency indicators, the timeframes covered may differ within the same indicator for parish level data and for demographic breakdowns for this indicator.

 
 

About Rate Calculations

 

Most of the rates presented through the SEW online data system were calculated using population projections (estimates) developed by the United States Census Bureau (for more detailed information please see the data sources tab on this site). The Census Bureau population projections used for rate calculations are available for viewing or downloading through the online data system. These data are included in the list of indicators under the label “Census Projections.” For crash data obtained from the Highway Safety Research Group (HSRG) at Louisiana State University, rates were pre-calculated by the HSRG rather than re-calculated. This was done to ensure that queries made on the HSRG website were consistent with data presented through this website. Please note that the Census Bureau population estimates are updated each year, and as a result, the projections found in this website may differ slightly from the projections found on the Census Bureau website.

 

 

Contact Information

 

For questions about the State Epidemiological Workgroup or for technical assistance in using the website, please contact Dawn Diez, Louisiana Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant Project Director, Governor’s Office Safe and Drug Free Communities, at Dawn.Diez@drugfree.state.la.us.

 

For questions or feedback regarding technical issues with the website, please contact Bach Harrison, LLC, at support@bach-harrison.com.