Hawaii Releases New Data on Fatal and Non-Fatal Injuries Occurring in Hawai‘i

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) and the state’s Injury Prevention Advisory Committee are releasing the most comprehensive data available on fatal and non-fatal injuries in Hawai‘i since 2006.

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The report, “Injuries in Hawai‘i 2007-2011,” includes detailed statistics by county and is being released in conjunction with the state’s five-year plan to reduce and prevent the most prevalent and serious injuries occurring in Hawai‘i. These highest areas of concern for Hawai‘i include: drowning, falls, poisoning, suicide, traffic accidents, and violence and abuse.

The report provides an extensive analysis of the major causes, mechanisms and outcomes of injuries in the state including detailed descriptions of their impact in each of the counties. “Compiling and evaluating this data is a huge undertaking for our injury prevention staff and well worth the effort,” said Health Director Loretta Fuddy. “The report is invaluable for charting the course to prevent injuries that are a major cause of death and hospitalization in Hawai‘i.”

Injuries take the lives of more Hawai‘i residents ages 1-39 years than all other causes of death combined, including heart disease, stroke and cancer, according to the newly released data. Among residents of all ages, injuries are the third leading cause of death, with the greatest contribution coming from suicides, falls, drug poisonings, motor vehicle crashes, and ocean drownings. During an average week in Hawai‘i, 12 residents die from an injury, 115 more are hospitalized, and another 1,530 are treated in emergency departments.

“The report included two new DOH data sources from the Hawai‘i Emergency Medical Services Information System and the State Trauma Registry,” said Dr. Linda Rosen, chief of the Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch. “The addition of this new data makes this year’s report the most comprehensive we have ever released and takes us another step closer to understanding and preventing sometimes fatal and often serious injuries.”

The report contains both good and bad news for the islands. “Hawai‘i residents have lower per capita rates of fatal and nonfatal injuries compared to residents of other states,” said

Daniel Galanis, DOH injury prevention epidemiologist and author of the report. “We’re also glad to see that there was a significantly decreasing trend in the number of residents killed in car crashes; however, we are concerned about the increasing trends in the number of residents who died by suicide or drug poisonings.”

To address injury as a critical public health concern, the DOH worked closely with the Injury Prevention Advisory Committee (IPAC) and other state, county and community partners on the “Hawai‘i Injury Prevention Plan 2012-2017.” IPAC is a statewide network of representatives from various fields and organizations working together since 1990 to prevent injuries. Developed with the consensus of these partners, the new prevention plan makes clear recommendations for each of the leading causes of injury in Hawai‘i. Building on the accomplishment of the previous five-year plan, recommendations are based on Hawai‘i-specific data and the most effective safety practices in the injury field.

“The next steps included for each of the injury areas in the plan provide a stimulus for organizations, agencies and community groups to collaborate on actions to take in preventing injuries,” said Bruce McEwan, chair of the Injury Prevention Advisory Committee,

For a copy of the “Injuries in Hawai‘i 2007-2011” and the “Hawai‘i Injury Prevention Plan 2012-2017”, visit the DOH web site at www.hawaii.gov/health.

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