National Violent Death Reporting System
APHA Supports the creation of a National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In 2003, Congress provided $3 million for the NVDRS. This will allow CDC to expand implementation of the program beyond the initial six states that were funded in 2002. In FY04, APHA is advocating for a funding level of $10 million for CDC's FY04 budget for the NVDRS (funding for the NVDRS is included in the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations bill).
The NVDRS will collect detailed information about violent death (homicides, suicides, and certain unintentional deaths) throughout the US -- including when it happens, where it happens, and how it happens. The information collected would include uniform data collected by crime labs, vital statistic registrars, medical examiners/coroners, and police. The information would be linked at the state level and coordinated by CDC.
The NVDRS would help law enforcement, public health officials, violence prevention groups, and policymakers better understand and prevent violent death in their communities.
Building on Existing Efforts
Currently, the Harvard School of Public Health is coordinating a pilot program involving 13 sites across the nation. Over the past several years, the pilot has been collecting uniform data about violent deaths. The system, supported by private foundations serves as a model for the NVDRS.
The first step is to secure $10 million for the start-up phase of the NVDRS. When fully operational, the system would require a $20 million annual budget. This represents only a fraction of the $2.3 billion in annual medical costs associated with treating firearms injuries alone -- nearly half of which come at taxpayer expense.
Related APHA Policy: 9818