Milwaukee hosts 1st-ever NVDRS conference to grow violence prevention efforts

NOW: Milwaukee hosts 1st-ever NVDRS conference to grow violence prevention efforts

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Hundreds of researchers, advocates and practitioners gathered in Milwaukee this week to discuss the past, present and future of the National Violent Death Reporting System, which has roots in the conference's host city.

The system, also known as NVDRS, links scattered information about the who, when, where and how from data on violent deaths and helps provide insights about why a violent death occurred.

At the Hyatt Regency in Milwaukee, the National Violent Death Reporting System Conference is the first of its kind.

"We want fewer deaths and injuries, we want fewer homicides and suicides," Stephen Hargarten, professor of emergency medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin told CBS 58. "Everyone wants fewer homicides and suicides. Working together we can achieve that."

The Medical College of Wisconsin pioneered the system in the nineties that is now used nationally across all 50 states and by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

"What can we do to reduce this turmoil? How can we learn better about these tragic events," Hargarten said. "That helps us establish programs, think about policies and then be in position to evaluate whether that program makes a difference, whether that policy makes a difference."

One of the keynote speakers at the conference was Reggie Moore, Milwaukee's former head of the Office of Violence Prevention and currently the Violence Prevention Policy and Engagement director at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

"A lot of the presentations here at the conference have focused on how data has been used to really understand, whether it's overdoses or violent injury and death has impacted various populations and strategies to address that," Moore told CBS 58.

Moore gave an example of overdose deaths of recently incarcerated people and how data from NVDRS highlighted how those deaths were more likely to occur in a shortly after people were released from jail or prison. That data can lead to policy makers focusing on death prevention efforts in a targeted manner.

"We really have to be strategic about where we're investing and where we're implementing programming that's evidence-based, and using data to drive where those interventions take place is critical," Moore said.

The conference runs through Thursday, May 18.

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