Violent Deaths Disproportionately Affect Young, Minority Males Interview with:

Bridget H. Lyons

Bridget Lyons

Bridget H. Lyons, MPH
Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The National Violent Death Reporting System has been collecting data since 2003. NVDRS collects data regarding violent deaths obtained from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, law enforcement reports, and secondary sources (e.g., child fatality review team data, supplementary homicide reports, hospital data, and crime laboratory data). This study examines 17 states that collected statewide data in 2013.

Our main findings are:
1. Violent deaths resulting from suicide or interpersonal violence disproportionately affected persons less than 65 years of age, males, and certain minority populations.
2. Primary circumstances for homicide and suicide included intimate partner problems, interpersonal conflicts, mental health problems and recent crises. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The National Violent Death Reporting System data inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of violence prevention strategies, which can ultimately save lives. Prevention programs can benefit from considering how best to address individual-level factors associated with violent death while taking into account the factors within relationships, families, peer groups and communities that contribute to violent behavior. NVDRS provides this critical information, which is not available through any other system.

The National Violent Death Reporting System can help identify populations particularly affected by violence. The system not only provides circumstance information for specific types of violent deaths, but identifies common factors that span multiple types of violence. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Findings from NVDRS have been essential in planning, implementing, and evaluating actions to prevent violent deaths and related injuries. CDC is working with states and communities to use this data to guide local decisions about efforts to prevent violence and track progress over time. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We are moving closer to the goal of full national state representation for NVDRS. Currently, NVDRS funds 32 states. Data show relationship problems, specifically issues between intimate partners, often occur before suicides and homicides. These findings emphasize the need for early prevention efforts that reduce risk for perpetration and improve skills for resolving conflicts without violence. The Division of Violence Prevention at CDC focuses on primary prevention of intimate partner violence to foster healthy, respectful, nonviolent relationships as early as the teen years in hopes of preventing problems before they occur. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Lyons BH, Fowler KA, Jack SP, Betz CJ, Blair JM. Surveillance for Violent Deaths — National Violent Death Reporting System, 17 States, 2013. MMWR Surveill Summ 2016;65(No. SS-10):1–42. DOI:

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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