The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are granting Indiana $1.4 million to analyze the factors behind Indiana’s violent death rate.
Indiana’s violent death rate, which includes homicides and suicides, is over 22 percent, and that’s higher than the national average.
Katie Hokanson, the director of the State Department of Health’s Trauma and Injury Prevention division, says this is the first time Indiana has gotten resources to investigate violent deaths.
“In every corner of the state are different needs and I really hope we are able to focus on where we need to target our prevention for the local communities,” Hokanson says.
The money is funding an online recording system that links data from death certificates, coroners reports and law enforcement records. The system will then analyze the demographics of those deaths and link them to areas across the state.
Paul Bonta, associate director of the American College of Preventive Medicine, says the grant won’t fund prevention efforts but could lead to specialized efforts.
“It actually takes a few years of data collection before a state can really capitalize and utilize that data to inform its programs,” Bonta says.
Bonta says an example of a preventative effort is in Oregon, where the reporting system found a high rate of suicides among the elderly. After discovering that statistic, the state could begin specific efforts to bring that number down.
This first year of using the violent death reporting system, Indiana state officials will look at six Indiana counties including Marion, Lake and St. Joseph counties and gather data on violent deaths among children.