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Tennessee Receives Funding to Collect Data to Help Prevent Violent Deaths

National Violent Death Reporting System to Collect Data from all 50 States
Thursday, January 03, 2019 | 11:53am

NASHVILLE  – The Tennessee Department of Health Office of the State Chief Medical Examiner has received $1.4 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to gather critical data on homicide, suicide and other violent deaths. Tennessee is one of ten states to receive new funding to use the National Violent Death Reporting System, which will provide NVDRS with state-level data on violent deaths from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

“This is about prevention and we welcome this opportunity to improve our ability to track these important facts like the method of injury, the relationship between the victim and the suspect and information on other circumstances like depression,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Through the National Violent Death Reporting System we can use this data to develop tailored efforts to reduce violent deaths.”

NVDRS helps state and local officials understand where, when, why and how violent deaths occur by linking data from medical examiner, law enforcement, toxicology and vital statistics records. It is the only data system for homicide and suicide that links law enforcement data with data from non-law enforcement sources.

Violence is a significant public health problem in Tennessee. In 2017, more than 1,800 Tennesseans died as the result of homicide or suicide. Participating in NVDRS as a national system provides a complete picture of violent deaths across the nation with data to guide prevention efforts, actions and programs that can save lives.

As part of the funding the TDH Office of the State Chief Medical Examiner will form an advisory committee to include data exchange partners to track and prevent acts of violence. The committee will include members who are associated with and knowledgeable about the data sources, interested in using and analyzing the information and can influence agency decisions and cooperation. Partners will include Tennessee’s state chief medical examiner, deputy chief medical examiner and representatives from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, suicide prevention organizations, law enforcement, local medical examiners and other community-based stakeholders concerned with preventing violence.

“To stop violent deaths, we must first understand all the facts,” said Tennessee Chief Medical Examiner Julia Goodin, MD. “NVDRS will provide a more complete picture of homicides, suicides and unintentional firearm injury deaths in Tennessee. Knowing the circumstances of violent deaths will help us identify the right prevention efforts and use resources in the best way possible.”

For more information on the Tennessee Office of the State Chief Medical Examiner, visit

Learn more about NVDRS at

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. TDH has facilities in all 95 counties and provides direct services for more than one in five Tennesseans annually as well as indirect services for everyone in the state, including emergency response to health threats, licensure of health professionals, regulation of health care facilities and inspection of food service establishments. Learn more about TDH services and programs at