Sample Epidemiological Profile Outline

The following outline contains the basic content areas to include in an epidemiological profile:

Cover Page


  • List members of your epidemiological workgroup, advisory council, evidence-based program workgroup, and any other key stakeholders.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

  • Provide a brief overview of what the epidemiological profile is, why it is important, and how it can be used.
  • Provide a brief list of key findings from the profile.


  • Describe your community. Consider including demographic information such as population size, age distribution, gender, and any socioeconomic background information that may be available (educational attainment, employment, etc.).
  • Include important historical, cultural, and contextual information that might be relevant to the data included in the profile.
  • Consider describing your Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF SIG) project. Describe SAMHSA’s Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) and how developing an epidemiological profile is a component of SPF Step 1: Assess Needs.
  • Describe your epidemiological workgroup. This can include the number of members, agencies, organizations they represent; how often they meet; where they meet; and any other information an interested person may want to know.

Data Selection Processes

  • Describe how you collected or gathered the data included in the profile.
  • Discuss how your workgroup decided which data sources to include in the profile and which data sources to leave out.
  • Provide a list of data sources, describing each source. Examples include a youth tobacco survey, emergency room data from the local hospital, alcohol-related motor vehicle crash data from local law enforcement, and community perceptions collected during a focus group. For each data source, include:
    • A brief description of the data source
    • The department, agency, or organization that provided the data
    • How frequently the data are collected and the years that data are available for
    • Any limitations of the data, which might include a small survey response or inadequate arrest reports
  • Provide a list of indicators, such as “Past 30-day Alcohol Use Among Adults” or “Number of Lung Cancer Deaths.”

Data Dimensions

Describe the criteria you need to prioritize substance misuse problems. These might include:

  • Size or magnitude
  • Trends over time
  • Relative comparisons (for example, one community to another, one age group to another)
  • Seriousness/severity
  • Economic cost

Body of Report (Findings)

This may include narrative, tables, graphs, charts, and maps. It is also helpful to incorporate a combination of formats. For example, use narrative to summarize findings in a table. Make sure that tables and graphs are clearly labeled.

  • Alcohol
    • Consumption/use indicators
    • Consequence indicators
    • Risk and protective factors
  • Tobacco
    • Consumption/use indicators
    • Consequence indicators
    • Risk and protective factors
  • Drugs
    • Consumption/use indicators
    • Consequence indicators
    • Risk and protective factors

Limitations and Data Gaps

  • Discuss indicators for which you do not have data and consider including strategies or plans for addressing those data gaps.
  • Discuss limitations of the data you do have. For example, maybe you have data that you cannot sort by gender or by age group.


Appendices, which might include:

  • Names of State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup members
  • Data collection instruments used
  • Large, detailed tables
  • Glossary of terms
  • Mortality or hospitalization data: ICD-9/ICD-10 codes (if the tribe uses these data sources)
Last Updated: 09/24/2015