Bach Harrison Utah State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup Online Data System

This Website


The State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup Online Data System was developed by Bach Harrison, LLC and is brought to you by the Utah Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH), and was funded through 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 Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW). The SEOW was formed in 2006, 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 SEOW and the data presented through this website were collected as part of the SEOW dataset.

The indicators collected by the SEOW represent the most comprehensive compilation of data related to the consumption and consequence of substance use and abuse in Utah. These data were first presented and summarized in a formal report (“Utah Statewide Substance Abuse Epidemiology Profile Report”) in 2007. The DSAMH plans to update the state epidemiology profile report biennially. The latest report was developed in the Fall of 2009, and finalized in the Spring of 2010. To download or view of copy of the latest state epidemiology profile report, please visit the DSAMH website:

The online database tool is intended to complement the written state epidemiology profile report. While the state profile report provides an excellent overview of the data housed within the SEOW dataset and provides useful presentations of state level data (including comparisons between state and national data), space limitations constrained the report’s ability to provide sub-state level data. Because one of the primary goals for the SEOW 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 county and regional levels). To this aim, the website enhances the ability of substance abuse prevention professionals to access the SEOW 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 county, 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 SEOW dataset were collected from a variety of sources both nationally and within the state of Utah. The data are presented (and available for download) through the website as they were provided to the SEOW by the source agency. Many indicators in the SEOW 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 Utah. In particular, the Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH), and the Utah Department of Health (via the Indicator Based Information System for Public Health) provided a wealth of data to the SEOW. For a complete list and descriptions of data sources contributing to the SEOW dataset, please see the data sources tab of this website.

While the 2007 and 2010 state epidemiology profile reports provide excellent overviews of the SEOW 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 county, region, and state data (rather than national data), and allow comparisons between these three levels of geography. With that being said, some data sources the SEOW 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 county and regional data.

Every effort was made to include the most recent data possible for each indicator. However, typically 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 agencies would not allow small numbers of events or cases associated with a particular level of geography (e.g., less than five cases per county) 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 counties or regions 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 SEOW 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 counties and regions 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 county level, whereas relatively lower frequency indicators such as cardiovascular disease deaths allow publication of 3-year aggregated data, and very low frequency indicators such as suicides only allow publication of 10-year aggregated data at county 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 county level data and region level data (region level data is more likely to allow publication for smaller timeframes).


About Rate Calculations

Most of the rates presented through the SEOW 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 indicators downloaded from the Utah Health Department’s Indicator Based Information System for Public Health (IBIS), rates were pre-calculated by the IBIS website rather than re-calculated. This was done to ensure that queries made on the IBIS 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.