(Received 24 May 1996; accepted 30 September 1996)
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In 1986, the Centers for Disease and Prevention established the Medical Examiner and Coroner Information Sharing Program (MecISP) with four primary goals: 1) To improve the quality of death investigations in the United States and to promote more standardized practices concerning when and how to conduct these investigations; 2) to facilitate communication among death investigators, the public health community, federal agencies, and other interested groups. 3) to improve the quality, completeness, management, and dissemination of information regarding investigated deaths; and 4) to promote the sharing and use of medical examiner/coroner death investigation data. Major MecISP projects have included periodic production of a directory of death investigators in the United States and Canada, creation of standard and generic death investigation report forms, development of death investigation data sets, and collection of death investigation data from medical examiner/coroner offices. MecISP also conducts site visits to assist in office computerization, supports educational meetings and the development of training materials for death investigators, facilitates ongoing projects of relevant professional organizations, contributes publications to the death investigation literature, conducts surveillance of selected types of deaths, and responds to specific inquiries from medical examiners and coroners about administrative and practical death investigation issues.
Associate professor of Forensic Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA
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