Pediatric abusive head trauma : recommended definitions for public health surveillance and research
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Pediatric abusive head trauma : recommended definitions for public health surveillance and research

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    The mission of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to create the expertise, information, and tools that people and communities need to protect their health – through health promotion, prevention of disease, injury and disability, and preparedness for new health threats (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2010). Among the key objectives used to achieve this mission is working with national and international partners to monitor health and detect and investigate health problems. Monitoring of population health is achieved through public health surveillance, defined as the ongoing and systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of outcome-specific data for use in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice (Thacker and Berkelman 1988). Public health surveillance relies on uniform case definitions and data elements that facilitate the collection of data useful for monitoring trends over time and characterizing persons at risk for health outcomes of interest among different subpopulations or geographic areas.

    The prevention of child maltreatment and the reduction of abusive injuries and their consequences is an important priority area for CDC. As part of the public health approach in addressing child maltreatment, CDC has launched an effort to develop uniform case definitions and data elements for use in surveillance of child maltreatment and abusive head trauma. In 2008, CDC published Version 1.0 of Child Maltreatment Surveillance: Uniform Definitions for Public Health and Recommended Data Elements (Leeb et al. 2008), which covers all types of child maltreatment. The current report focuses on standard data elements for abusive head trauma—a specific category of child maltreatment that presents unique definitional and measurement challenges. These challenges are discussed followed by a presentation of recommended uniform operational definitions of fatal and nonfatal abusive head trauma based on International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9-CM for morbidity coding and ICD-10 for mortality coding) diagnosis and external- cause-of-injury codes (2001; 2005). Similar processes and formats to that of the Child Maltreatment Surveillance Uniform Definitions and Data Elements have been used in order to maintain consistency and facilitate ease of use.

    Suggested citation: Parks SE, Annest JL, Hill HA, Karch DL. Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma: Recommended Definitions for Public Health Surveillance and Research. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2012.

    CDC-INFO Pub ID 221227

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