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On February 23, 2018, PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada) will be taken offline permanently. No author manuscripts will be deleted, and the approximately 2,900 manuscripts authored by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-funded researchers currently in the archive will be copied to the National Research Council’s (NRC) Digital Repository over the coming months. These manuscripts along with all other content will also remain publicly searchable on PubMed Central (US) and Europe PubMed Central, meaning such manuscripts will continue to be compliant with the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications.

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1.  Improving National Data Systems for Surveillance of Suicide-related Events 
American journal of preventive medicine  2014;47(3 Suppl 2):S122-S129.
Describing the characteristics and patterns of suicidal behavior is an essential component in developing successful prevention efforts. The Data and Surveillance Task Force (DSTF) of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention was charged with making recommendations for improving national data systems for public health surveillance of suicide-related problems, including suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and deaths due to suicide. Data from the national systems can be used to draw attention to the magnitude of the problem and are useful for establishing national health priorities. National data can also be used to examine differences in rates across groups (e.g., sex, racial/ethnic, and age groups) and geographic regions, and are useful in identifying patterns in the mechanism of suicide, including those that rarely occur.
Using evaluation criteria from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and the U.S.-based Safe States Alliance, the DSTF reviewed 28 national data systems for feasibility of use in the surveillance of suicidal behavior, including deaths, non-fatal attempts and suicidal thoughts. The review criteria included such attributes as the aspects of the suicide-related spectrum (e.g., thoughts, attempts, deaths) covered by the system, how the data are collected (e.g., census, sample, survey, administrative data files, self-report, reporting by care providers), and the strengths and limitations of the survey or data system.
The DSTF identified common strengths and challenges among the data systems based on the underlying data source (e.g., death records, health care provider records, population-based surveys, health insurance claims). From these findings, the DSTF proposed several recommendations for improving existing data systems, such as using standard language and definitions, adding new variables to existing surveys, expanding the geographic scope of surveys to include areas where data are not currently collected, oversampling of underrepresented groups, and improving the completeness and quality of information on death certificates.
Some of the DSTF recommendations are potentially achievable in the short term (<1–3 years) within existing data systems, while others involve more extensive changes and will require longer term efforts (4–10 years). Implementing these recommendations would assist in the development of a national coordinated program of fatal and nonfatal suicide surveillance to facilitate evidence-based action to reduce the incidence of suicide and suicidal behavior in all populations.
PMCID: PMC4959537  PMID: 25145729
2.  The Colorado Violent Death Reporting System (COVDRS): Validity and Utility of the Veteran Status Variable 
Public Health Reports  2012;127(3):304-309.
Using the Veterans Affairs Beneficiary Identification Record Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) as the criterion database, we evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of the death certificate information in the Colorado Violent Death Reporting System (COVDRS) to determine Veteran status for those who died by suicide.
The study sample consisted of 3,820 individuals aged 18 years and older who died by suicide in Colorado from January 1, 2004, through December 31, 2008. To determine agreement on Veteran status, COVDRS data were submitted to the Veterans Benefits Administration for linkage to the BIRLS using Social Security numbers.
Sensitivity and specificity of the Veteran status information on the death certificate were 93.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] 90.7, 95.2) and 91.7% (95% CI 90.5, 92.8), respectively. The overall agreement between the death certificate and the BIRLS on Veteran status was very good (kappa = 0.76; 95% CI 0.74, 0.79).
This study of 3,820 suicide deaths in Colorado demonstrated a high level of agreement between the COVDRS Veteran status variable and the BIRLS. Such findings offer support for using the COVDRS in studying factors associated with suicide in the Veteran population.
PMCID: PMC3314074  PMID: 22547861

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