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

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The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) will receive $1.15 million over five years 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).

In Oklahoma, suicide is the leading manner of violent death. In 2012, more than 650 Oklahomans died by suicide. The OSDH will use NVDRS data to support suicide prevention programs of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. 

Other uses of the data include looking at geographic distribution and trends in violence in Oklahoma, intimate partner homicides, veteran suicides, youth suicide, and gang-related homicides.

The NVDRS helps state and local officials understand when and how violent deaths occur by linking data from coroners and medical examiners, vital statistics, and law enforcement records. Using the data, public health practitioners and violence prevention professionals can develop tailored prevention and intervention efforts to reduce violent deaths.

“To prevent violent deaths, we must understand the factors involved,” said Sheryll Brown, M.P.H., director of the OSDH Injury Prevention Service. “NVDRS provides a more complete picture of homicides, suicides, and unintentional firearm injuries in Oklahoma. Knowing the circumstances of violent deaths will help identify where prevention needs to be focused. ”

NVDRS provides details on demographics, 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 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 Debra Houry, MD, MPH, 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.”

For more information on the Oklahoma Violent Death Reporting System, please see  http://okvdrs.health.ok.gov. For additional information about NVDRS, see  www.cdc.gov/violencePrevention/NVDRS/index.html.

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