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OnDemand Webinar: How to Build Opioid Data Dashboards for Community Decision-Making

Updated: May 17

Data dashboards are powerful tools that can support community engagement and decision-making by providing public health surveillance and early detection of emerging health threats, as well as facilitating efficient resource allocation. These dashboards serve as a transparent and customizable platform for communicating critical information in easy-to-understand, interactive formats (e.g., charts, graphs, maps) to policymakers, stakeholders, community members, and the public. Many states and jurisdictions across the country have utilized data dashboards to identify trends, evaluate the effectiveness of existing policies, and develop targeted interventions to quell the ongoing substance use disorder and overdose crisis.

As part of the HEALing Communities Study (HCS), a multi-site research study that tested the impact of an integrated set of evidence-based practices to reduce fatal opioid-related overdose, researchers from four participating research sites (New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky, and Ohio) developed community dashboards to support data-driven decision-making.

The webinar aimed to show how data dashboards can facilitate evidence-based decision-making by providing insights into effective approaches, gaps in substance use disorder services, and opportunities to address challenges within communities. Presenters provided a step-by-step walkthrough of the undertakings to develop the HCS dashboards, including the process of accessing, displaying, and explaining data; co-designing dashboards with state and local partners; implementing and using dashboards in the community; and best practices for using and sustaining them. They also shared publicly available tools that communities can use to develop their own dashboards, as well as a set of standardized measures used by HCS for data collection.


  • Jennifer Villani, PhD, MPH, Associate Director of the HEALing Communities Study at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

  • Naleef Fareed, PhD, Associate Professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine

  • Daniel Harris, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy

  • Elwin Wu, PhD, Professor of Social Work at Columbia University

  • Peter Balvanz, MPH, Associate Director of Informatics at the Boston Medical Center

  • Jessica Hulsey, Executive Director, Addiction Policy Forum

This webinar was sponsored by HEAL Connections, an initiative funded by the NIH HEAL Initiative and in partnership with the HEALing Communities Study and Addiction Policy Forum.

The HEALing Communities Study (HCS) includes scientists from the nation’s leading health agencies and four major academic institutions to investigate how tools for preventing and treating opioid misuse and opioid use disorder are most effective at the local level. The robust initiative includes 67 communities across four states. HCS is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, a bold effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid crisis.

HCS Data Dashboards

Other Helpful Resources

HCS Journal Publications


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