5041.0: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 - 8:30 AM

Abstract #8247

Building a national firearm fatality reporting system

James Mercy, PhD1, Stephen Hargarten, MD1, Deborah Azrael, MPH2, Catherine Barber, MPA2, and David Hemenway2. (1) Firearm Injury Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedert Hospital East, 9200 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53226, 414-805-6526, jmercy@mcw.edu, (2) Harvard Injury Control Research Center, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, Boston, MA 02115

This presentation provides an overview of the process of piloting a national firearm fatality reporting system. The pilot is being coordinated by the National Firearm Injury Statistics System of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and the Firearm Injury Center of the Medical College of Wisconsin. It builds on earlier work supported by CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Standardized data elements and protocols for gathering data from medical examiners/coroners, police, crime laboratories, and death certificates are now being pilot-tested in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Utah, Wisconsin, Allegheny County (PA), Atlanta, and San Francisco. The reporting system will be updated and improved based on the results from the pilot testing. Three key improvements over existing sources of information are being incorporated into this system. First, a relational, incident-based database is being developed that has the flexibility to describe the circumstances of firearm-related fatalities and the characteristics of the firearms involved in these events in much greater detail than is available from existing national sources of information. Second, these data will be available on a timelier basis than existing sources of information. Third, the system incorporates data elements that facilitate linkage to other potentially valuable sources of information such as criminal histories and the Agency for Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms' gun tracing system. These improvements make the data from this reporting system an invaluable resource for policy development, evaluation, and epidemiological research.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation, the participant will be able to: 1. describe the need for firearm injury surveillance as an important component in evaluating public policy for firearms 2. comment on the relevance and appropriateness of the piloted data elements to their own local gun policy issues, program needs, or research issues 3. understand the process by which surveillance programs in their geographic area can become involved in the fatality reporting system

Keywords: Firearms, Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: none
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA