Almost all States, Tribes, and Jurisdictions have received federal funding from SAMHSA to establish an epidemiological workgroup. Following SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) model, these epidemiological workgroups are networks of people and organizations that bring substance abuse and mental health data, analytical thinking, and epidemiological capacity to prevention planning and decision-making. These workgroups are either created under the SPF State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG) or through designated subcontracts in non-SPF SIG States.
Epidemiological workgroups are charged with collecting, analyzing, and disseminating substance abuse and behavioral health data in order to inform and encourage data-driven decisions in all steps of the SPF at both State and community levels (whether currently SPF SIG or not). These workgroups also generate numerous products, ranging from targeted and user-friendly fact sheets to comprehensive reference guides, such as State and community epidemiological profiles. Workgroups have also been instrumental in building national-, State-, and local-level monitoring systems to track substance abuse and mental health outcomes by following a set of core tasks:
- Define key behavioral health indicators and determine the data needed to establish the magnitude and distribution of substance abuse and related problems
- Collect, analyze, and disseminate to States and communities key epidemiological data to inform planning, monitoring, and evaluation
- Assist States in determining data-guided prevention prioritization and planning
- Develop and enhance comprehensive State- and local-level substance abuse and mental health indicator monitoring systems