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Hal Johnson began his career in substance abuse epidemiology in 2001, when he became coordinator of the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (FYSAS) for the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Program Office (SAMH). This survey is administered annually to Florida public middle and high school youth, and assesses the frequency, prevalence, attitude toward, and risk/protective factors for substance use and delinquent behaviors. In odd-numbered years, it is administered to a state-level sample of schools, whereas in even-numbered years the sample is chosen to be representative at the county level. Hal continued to coordinate the FYSAS until he left SAMH in October 2013. For more information on the FYSAS, click here.

Hal received his Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis on Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 2007. He was also named Managing Epidemiologist at SAMH in 2007, and expanded his work to include analysis of data from multiple additional sources. This included data related to hospitalizations and emergency department visits, highway safety alcohol and drug related crashes, medical examiner drug-related deaths, alcohol licenses, alcohol sales violations, adult alcohol and drug use surveys, adult and juvenile arrests, and other data. He also became a member of the State Epidemiology Workgroup (SEW). The SEW was created and initially funded under a federal Strategic Prevention Framework – State Incentive Grant from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which is a component of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. It is composed of members with expertise in epidemiologic data and/or drug policy drawn from a wide variety of state agencies, universities, and community-based organizations. Its purpose is to promote data driven decision-making in Florida's substance abuse prevention system by bringing systematic, data-driven thinking to guide effective and efficient use of prevention resources. In 2009 Hal became Chairman of the SEW. In 2011, consistent with SAMHSA's recent emphasis on integrating substance abuse and mental health services, the Florida SEW began to gather data on mental health indicators, and subsequently changed their name to the Behavioral Health Epidemiology Workgroup (BHEW). At the same time, Hal began work on development of a behavioral health electronic "dashboard" including both substance abuse and mental health indicators. This involved becoming familiar with and working extensively with a number of additional data sets, including civil commitments (Baker Act), treatment data, additional hospitalization data, and suicide data. Hal began Hal Johnson Consulting in January 2012 as a part time business, with the intention of making it a full-time business in the future. In the fall of 2013, the future arrived! View Hal's resume here.