Dashboards: Topics in Design, Evaluation and Maintenance for Effective Insights of Drug Overdose Surveillance
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Data visualizations using dashboards have become a frequently sought-after tool in recent years across public health sectors as evidenced by the growing number of CSTE members and partners interested in developing and utilizing these tools. Dashboard development is challenging in public health settings due to the variety of skills required to successfully execute these public facing overdose surveillance dashboards to display jurisdictional and/or state drug overdose surveillance data for use with audiences such as the public, media partners, law enforcement partners and other stakeholders. Public health teams possess extensive knowledge of public health data reporting mechanisms, analytics, and data governance; however, they are not often well versed in the principles of data engineering and data visualization. 

The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) has developed an expansive overview of foundational dashboard topics (see Lesson 1) and an accompanying workbookwith videos describing the process of developing a dashboard in Tableau (see Lesson 2). 

Lesson 1 Dashboards: Topics in Design, Evaluation, and Maintenance for Effective Insights of Drug Overdose Surveillance 
This resource will walk participants through common considerations when developing an overdose surveillance dashboard including topics related to data, data preparation, wireframing, and examples of dashboards.

By the end of the lesson, participants will be able to:

  1. Discern data preparation elements commonly experienced in dashboard development
  2. Understand common data sources for overdose data dashboards
  3. List common dashboard development tools and examples

Lesson 2 Workbook: Designing Drug Overdose Surveillance Dashboards
This lesson features a workbook that complements the guidance found in Lesson 1. It provides participants with instructions to find data, process the data, and display the data using a dashboard visualization in Tableau. The guidance is reinforced with five (5) short, guided videos.  

By the end of the lesson, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand common data considerations when preparing data for dashboards
  2. Complete a wireframe of their dashboard concept
  3. Create a dashboard using Tableau

This training series was funded by CDC Cooperative Agreement No: 1 NU38OT000297-02. The content was developed in collaboration with CSTE members, CDC Subject Matter Expert contributers and Data Scientists. Views expressed do not necessarily represent the official views of CDC.


  • 1E – Assessment & Analysis - Data Organization and Management
  • 1G – Assessment & Analysis – Interpreting Data
  • 3D – Communication – Communication Technologies
  • 4A – Community Dimensions of Practice – Using Epi Data to Inform Public Health Practice
  • 7A – Leadership & Systems Thinking – Strategic Planning