Since 2000, injuries have been the leading cause of death in Texas for ages 1-44. From 2018-2020, 48 Texans died from injuries and violence each day. The leading causes of injuries are motor vehicle crashes, drug overdoses, physical violence, and falls. Injuries can cause long-term physical and mental health problems. The Injury Prevention Unit works to understand how injuries impact Texans. By providing injury and violence data and education, we can help you lead the way on injury prevention in homes, workplaces, and communities.
In 2017, DSHS created the Office of Injury Prevention to centralize injury and fatality reduction work. The Office joined three programs – Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Registries (EMS/TR), Child Fatality Review Teams (CFRTs), and the Safe Riders Child Passenger Safety Program. In 2018, DSHS received the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) violent death reporting system funding and set up the Texas Violent Death Reporting System (TVDRS). In 2022, DSHS elevated our injury prevention focus and changed the structure to an Injury Prevention unit.
Our vision is to use data, epidemiological principles, and public health best practices to inform injury prevention activities and programs.
The EMS/TR program collects over 4 million records from EMS agency services (ambulance runs and transfers) and trauma facilities on spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and other traumatic injuries specified in Texas Administrative Code, Title 25, Chapter 103. EMS/TR includes only records submitted into the registries through a passive surveillance system.
The Safe Riders Child Passenger Safety program partners with child safety seat distribution programs to provide child safety seats for low-income families and educate on proper child safety seat use.
Texas Child Fatality Review
The Child Fatality Review (CFRT) program tries to decrease preventable child fatalities by providing support to child fatality investigations; promoting coordination among agencies involved in child fatality responses; understanding child fatality causes and incidences; recommending changes that will reduce preventable child fatalities; and suggesting changes to law, policy, or practice that will impact child safety.
The Texas Violent Death Reporting System (TVDRS) program is a state-based surveillance system that collects 600 elements from multi-source violent death data and circumstances into one database. Records come from medical examiners, justices of the peace, and law enforcement. TVDRS links information about the “who”, “when”, “where”, and “how” from multidisciplinary violent death data and provides insights about “why” the deaths occurred. TVDRS will capture statewide data by 2025.
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