Last month, CTEH health scientist, epidemiologist, and statistician Katelyn Hall, PhD, made presentations to the American Public Health Association (APHA) Cannabis Learning Collaborative Group and to the Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee in Colorado.

APHA is partnered with the Center for Disease Control and Health (CDC) and is exploring the role of public health surveillance for nonmedical cannabis use. The Retail Marijuana Public Health Advisory Committee helps monitor the public health impacts of legalization and the health effects of marijuana use to drive policy decisions in Colorado.

For both committees, Dr. Hall presented research from her dissertation. Her dissertation focused on research to understand the public health implications of recreational cannabis legalization in Colorado, stemming from Colorado becoming the first state to legalize and implement recreational cannabis sales in the United States. The research tracked impacts of this policy change by characterizing performance of cannabis diagnosis codes in predicting emergency room visits, with the aim of predicting emergency room visits that can be attributed to cannabis use.

The study used one year of emergency department (ED) visits from the University of Colorado Hospital to perform three analyses characterizing performance of cannabis diagnosis codes. The conclusion of her research indicated that cannabis diagnosis codes alone may not be ideal for measuring true numbers of ED visits attributable to cannabis, but could be used to measure trends in ED visits attributed to cannabis over time. Her studies also provided the first comprehensive characterization of the performance of cannabis diagnostic codes, forming a foundation for future development of similar research.

We’re proud of Dr. Hall for her contributions to medical research and her continued role in measuring the public health impacts of governmental policies. To learn more about Dr. Hall and the work she does for CTEH, visit her page.