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Kansas Receives CDC Funding To Gather Data To Help Prevent Violent Deaths

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TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) recently received $970,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to gather critical data on homicide and suicide using the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) for five years.

NVDRS provides de-identified details on demographics (age, income, education), method of injury, the relationship between the victim and the suspect, and information about circumstances such as depression, financial stressors or relationship problems. It is the only data system for homicide that collects information from sources outside of law enforcement. Using this data, public health practitioners and violence prevention professionals can develop tailored prevention and intervention efforts to reduce violent deaths.

“To stop violent deaths, we must first understand all the facts,” said Lori Haskett, Director, KDHE Injury Prevention Section. “NVDRS will provide a more complete picture of certain types of deaths in Kansas. Knowing the circumstances of violent deaths will help identify the right prevention efforts and put them in place.”

NVDRS provides details on demographics (age, income, education), method of injury, and information about circumstances such as depression, financial stressors or relationship problems. It is the only data system that collects information from sources outside of law enforcement and 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, MD, MPH, FACP, 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.”

Suicide is a statewide problem, and one that affects so many Kansans. In 2010, there were 401 suicide deaths in Kansas with a higher age-adjusted suicide rate than the national average (13.9 vs 12.1 per 100,000 population). Suicide in Kansas affects men more than women; the age-adjusted rate of suicide is four times greater among Kansas men than women (22.6 vs 5.6 per 100,000 population). One of every 10 deaths among Kansas males younger than 45 is due to suicide. Suicides are primarily an issue among adults, few occur before the age of 14. In 2010, suicide and homicide alone cost Kansas $654 million.

Kansas' 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. Asterisks denote new states participating in NVDRS.

For more information on KDHE Injury Prevention Programs please visit www.kdheks.gov/idp. For additional information about NVDRS visit www.cdc.gov/violencePrevention/NVDRS/index.html.

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