Track 1 - Public Health Law and Policy

Sharing Session - 60 Minutes

C7 - Local Public Health’s Role in Monitoring the Impact of Marijuana Policy Changes

Wednesday, July 11
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
Location: Regent

Colorado legalized medical marijuana use in 2001, with the commercialization of medical marijuana in 2009. In 2014, retail marijuana use was legalized in Colorado. With legalization, the City and County of Denver formed the Denver Office of Marijuana Policy to oversee all aspects of marijuana legalization. To assess the health impact of marijuana use, Denver Public Health (DPH) was charged with developing the infrastructure and tools needed to monitor trends in marijuana use and align efforts with other local and state partners. Since 2014, DPH has been developing a plan for aligning data analysis and reporting efforts with other local and state partners, and developing and maintaining a set of electronic Business Intelligence tools to collect, analyze, monitor, and compare data from a variety of sources concerning marijuana use and abuse. To date, surveillance systems have been developed in a number of key areas:
• Monthly monitoring using syndromic surveillance/ESSENCE of potential marijuana-related emergency department visits at participating hospitals;
• A dashboard of marijuana calls to the Rocky Mountain Poison Center; and
• Annual monitoring of Colorado Hospital Association discharge data of emergency departments and hospitalizations related to marijuana.
Recently, we expanded efforts by including regional partners to assess impacts in the metro region of Denver and compare to other substances (alcohol and opioids). Assessing health impacts over time with changes in marijuana policy and its relationship to other substances with surveillance tools provides needed information to understand the impact of policy changes.


Public Health Laws & Policies, Assess & Monitor, Evaluation

Judith Shlay, MD, MSPH

Associate Director
Denver Public Health

Judith C. Shlay, MD, MSPH is the Associate Director of Denver Public Health and a Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. She has been working on various programs at Denver Public Health for 30 years. Dr. Shlay has been the principal investigator for a number of projects focusing on health promotion and disease prevention, HIV-related metabolic and neurologic disorders, immunization delivery, reproductive health, sexually transmitted infections, substance abuse, teen pregnancy prevention, and tobacco prevention. She co-leads the newly formed Center for Addictions Medicine at Denver Health. In addition to her public health work, Dr. Shlay is a primary care provider through Denver Health’s Ambulatory Care Services Department.


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Seth Foldy, MD, MPH

Director, Epidemiology, Informatics & Preparedness
Denver Public Health

Seth Foldy, MD MPH is Director of Epidemiology, Preparedness & Informatics at Denver Public Health serving Denver County and region. He previously served as Milwaukee (WI) Commissioner of Health; Wisconsin State Health Officer; program office director for informatics at US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and co-founder of Wisconsin Health Information Exchange. Seth chaired NACCHO’s informatics workgroup, authored the NACCHO-HIMSS Information Exchange Toolkit for Public Health, and has published broadly on public health informatics, surveillance and preparedness. He is clinical professor of Family and Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and board certified in Family Medicine, Preventive Medicine, and Clinical Informatics. Dr. Foldy is US Chair of the International Joint Commission’s Health Professionals Advisory Board and a PHAB site visitor.


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C7 - Local Public Health’s Role in Monitoring the Impact of Marijuana Policy Changes


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