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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Iowa: Linking Data to Understand Violent Deaths

A unique database is linking data to help give Iowa a more complete picture of homicides and suicides in the state.

The Iowa Violent Death Reporting System (IAVDRS) is the only state-based surveillance system that can capture hundreds of unique data elements on all types of violent deaths, in all settings, and for all age groups. Data come from multiple sources including death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, law enforcement reports, and toxicology reports. Other existing data systems primarily count deaths and only provide basic demographic information about people who have died.

Since Iowa started collecting data for the IAVDRS in 2015, the IAVDRS has looked deeper into suicide deaths, which make up the majority (around 76 percent) of violent deaths in the state.  The IADVRS has been housed at the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) since its establishment in 2014 and is funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This past fall an IAVDRS team, including the University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center (UI IPRC), visited regional LEIN (Law Enforcement Intelligence Network) meetings to share summaries of all violent deaths in Iowa. They also provided a regional snapshot of violent deaths occurring in their regions.

“We presented IAVDRS data to those who are on the front lines of these violent events,” says UI IPRC deputy director Lisa Roth. “In the future we hope look more closely at veteran suicides, opioid overdoses, and violence occurring in the workplace.”

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