As of 2021, Michigan has over 2,800 deaths each year that meet the definitions for inclusion in the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), an increase of 20% since 2015. While the state has participated in the NVDRS since 2010, we still need to know more about the characteristics of these incidents, their victims, and the preceding and precipitating circumstances to these deaths--information that can help improve prevention practice and policy development.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Injury & Violence Prevention Section is proposing to continue bringing together data from multiple local and state level data sources to create a repository of detailed information on these violent death incidents. This will allow detailed examination of what is killing people in the Great Lakes State and provide storehouse of knowledge with which to inform data-driven programming and policy decision making at the state and local level. Since MDHHS is proposing to continue statewide data collection, the Michigan Violent Death Reporting System (MiVDRS) will continue to be a comprehensive public health surveillance system of all deaths due to violent means occurring in the state of Michigan. Data is collected from death certificates, law enforcement (LE) records and Medical Examiner (ME) case files for all incidents of homicide, suicide, undetermined manner deaths involving trauma or poisoning, and unintentional firearm-related deaths.
Michigan is not an easy state in which to undertake this type of system. There is not a state ME Office or central repository for ME data; the state’s 83 counties are served by over 50 Chief MEs. Some LE case data can be obtained by from the Michigan State Police (MSP)--files on cases investigated by that agency, some of the case files from local agencies currently using the centralized online case management system offered by MSP for use by local LE agencies (currently being used by ~100 agencies in 12 counties), and minimal information from the MSP's Michigan Incident Crime Report database (information submitted to the National Incident Crime Reporting System). For the most part, LE case files for abstraction need to be acquired by contacting individual LE agencies, of which there are over 600 in the state. Currently, much of the ME and LE data collection needs to be done by manual abstraction from hard copy case files or electronic data files, which need to be acquired by contacting individual ME offices or LE agencies.
It is important that surveillance data be “brought to life” and disseminated to a wide range of end-users in ways that are useful to them. At least three dissemination products will be developed and used each project year. The MiVDRS program is also currently part of a pilot program funded by the Joyce Foundation to develop a public facing data dashboard using the MiVDRS data.
Careful attention will be paid to assuring data quality and an effective, efficient system. Working with members of CDC's NVDRS team, the MiVDRS Program will develop and implement a detailed evaluation plan within the first 6 months of grant funding. This plan will then be used over the remaining grant period to assure an efficient system and high quality data.