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ColoradoSPH's Top Stories of 2023

In 2023, some of the nation’s top public health researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health tackled a variety of the largest public health questions facing us today.


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Community    Community and Practice    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Cannabis    Health Advocacy    Health Policy

Colorado School of Public Health Delivers Comprehensive Review on Physical and Mental effects of High THC Concentration Cannabis to Colorado Capitol

Today, a research team assembled by the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) in response to the 2021 Colorado House Bill HB21-1317, “Regulating Marijuana Concentrates,” delivered its mandated review to Colorado legislators on the scientific evidence related to the physical and mental health effects of high-concentration THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis products). This review was requested as the marketplace shifted towards high-concentration products. The health implications of this change are not well understood. In a comprehensive scoping review, the team screened approximately 66,000 studies and ultimately identified 452 published through late 2022 that are relevant to understanding the health effects of high-concentration cannabis products. The ColoradoSPH team also created a first-of-its-kind interactive and publicly available evidence map of the 452 cannabis studies, which makes the studies searchable and accessible.   


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Research    ColoradoSPH at CU Anschutz    Cannabis    Environment

Heavy Metal Inhalation in Cannabis Users: New Study Funded at the Colorado School of Public Health

Researchers from the Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH) have received funding from the Institute for Cannabis Research (ICR) to study the potential exposure to heavy metals from smoking or vaping cannabis.  


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Press Coverage    Cannabis    Community Health    Injury & Violence Prevention

CDOT: Colorado Deaths Involving Impaired Drivers Up 44 Percent Since 2019

With rising numbers of fatalities involving impaired drivers, Ashley Brooks-Russell, ColoradoSPH associate professor and director of Injury & Violence Prevention Center, discusses how the mixing of cannabis and alcohol may be contributing to this increase.


Author Westword | Publish Date March 05, 2022
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Community    Community and Practice    Cannabis    Environment    Training    Worker Health

Health and Safety Training for Cannabis Cultivation Workers

The commercial cannabis industry continues to grow in Colorado and nationwide, demanding the need for a new workforce to be trained in occupational safety and health (OSH). In 2016, educators at the Center for Health, Work & Environment designed and delivered a full-day, in-person workshop for cannabis cultivation workers—one of the first learning experiences in the country of this kind. The course was an overview of OSH hazards and topics critical to the industry including chemical exposures, repetitive motion disorders, lockout/tagout, machine guarding, and personal protective equipment. A total of 208 people attended the two full-day trainings. 

To ensure we continue to provide high-quality educational offerings, our center evaluates all of its continuing education activities. Our recent paper, published in the Annals of Work Exposure and Health, describes how we evaluated this specific training. We wanted to know what attendees thought about the training, whether their knowledge about OSH in the cannabis industry improved, and how their OSH concerns changed after the training. 

Our evaluation discovered that:

91% of attendees rated the training as “very good” or “excellent.”
76% of attendees reported increased knowledge.
Attendees planned to implement changes in the workplace such as conducting more safety trainings, changing safety programs and policies, improving hazards, increasing OSH communications, and performing ergonomic and hazard assessments. 

Our evaluation demonstrates that OSH concerns of attendees shifted before and after the training, reflecting a better understanding of the musculoskeletal and respiratory hazards that exist in cannabis cultivation work. The training increased workers’ awareness of OSH issues that are more concerning and hazardous in their work than issues they previously thought were the most pressing. 

A significant takeaway from this training and its evaluation is that cannabis cultivation workers are highly interested in OSH training specific to their industry. Based on the rapidly expanding legalized cannabis landscape, the industry will continue to need updated information to keep its workforce safe and healthy on the job. Our center offers an online version of this training through its continuing education platform and is in the process of developing a more extensive training in the next year.   

If you are interested in occupational safety and health training for your cannabis cultivation employees, please reach out


Author Carol Brown | Publish Date April 06, 2020
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Colorado School of Public Health In the News

Colorado Public Radio

State launches first-ever firearm data dashboard meant to help Coloradans better understand gun violence, prevention

news outletColorado Public Radio
Publish DateFebruary 26, 2024

Beyond mass shootings, which generate a lot of media and public attention, gun deaths have steadily increased in Colorado for more than a decade, according to the state health department and reflected on the dashboard. During that time, state leaders and community advocates have worked to fight the trend. Now they’re turning to a new avenue — a public health approach to gun violence prevention. 

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The Denver Post

CDC chops $5 million in funding to Colorado research center working with local public health groups

news outletThe Denver Post
Publish DateFebruary 23, 2024

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to end its funding for a Colorado center that helps local public health organizations get their programs off the ground and prove they work. Colorado’s Democratic members of Congress sent a letter to the director of the CDC this week asking that the agency reconsider cutting funding to the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center.

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Colorado Public Radio

Can Colorado teachers feel more prepared for school emergencies?

news outletColorado Public Radio
Publish DateFebruary 21, 2024

Between reading, writing, and arithmetic, there are also disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and acts of violence at schools. While school districts have security and drills for these events, educators often have unanswered questions and are left feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Two Anschutz researchers wanted to change that, starting with gathering school staff’s ideas and addressing their questions about safety.

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CSU Source

What do your blood test results mean? A toxicologist explains the basics of how to interpret them

news outletCSU Source
Publish DateFebruary 07, 2024

As a toxicologist, Brad Reisfeld, a ColoradoSPH professor at CSU, studies the effects of drugs and environmental contaminants on human health. As part of his work, he relies on various health-related biomarkers, many of which are measured using conventional blood tests. Understanding what common blood tests are intended to measure can help you better interpret the results.

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