East Hawaii News

DOH Receives Grant to Gather Violent Death Data

December 8, 2014, 10:47 AM HST
* Updated December 8, 10:48 AM
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The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has granted the Hawai’i State Department of Health $740,000. The money is for use in gathering critical data on homicide and suicide using the National Violent Death Reporting System over the course of five years.

State and local officials using the NVDRS can better understand when, and how, violent deaths occur by linking data from law enforcement, coroners and medical examiners, vital statistics, and crime laboratories.

Through the use of the data, public health practitioners and violence prevention professional can develop tailored prevention and intervention efforts to reduce violent deaths.

“To prevent violent deaths, we must first understand all the facts,” said DOH Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention chief Dr. Linda Rosen. “NVDRS will provide a more complete picture of homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries from firearms in Hawai’i. Better understanding of the circumstances of violent deaths may help identify prevention efforts that show promise to reduce these tragedies.”

The reporting system will provide details on demographics; including age, income and education. Method of injury, the relationship between the victim and suspect, and information about the circumstance such as depression, financial stressors, or relationship problems are also provided within the system.

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“We are very appreciative of the strong support we received from the Medical Examiner of the City and County of Honolulu and the coroner physicians on the Neighbor Islands and look forward to working with their offices and the Police Departments of the respective counties to enhance violent death reporting in Hawai’i,” said Dr. Alvin Onaka, DOH state registrar of Vital Statistics and principal investigator for the NVDRS grant.

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NVDRS is the only data system for homicides that collects information from sources outside of law enforcement and that has the capacity to link hospital and other health records.

“More than 55,000 Americans died because of homicide or suicide in 2011 – that’s an average of more than six people dying a violent death every hour,” said Daniel M Sosin, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P, acting director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “This is disheartening and we know many of these deaths can be prevented. Participating states will be better able to use state-level data to develop, implement, and evaluate prevention and intervention efforts to stop violent deaths.”

Hawai’i’s use of NVDRS is part of CDC’s expansion of the system from 18 to 32 participating states. The 32 states participating in NVDRS include: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

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