Research seminar: November 6, 2020


If you want to save lives, start with the dead: Reducing suicides through shoe leather epidemiology

November 6, 2020

Co-sponsored by the COH Epidemiology program.

Kimberly K. Repp, Ph.D., MPH
Kimberly is the Chief Epidemiologist for Washington County, Oregon and is currently leading the County’s epidemiologic response to COVID-19 as well as heading the Medical Examiner’s office.

Her research at Washington County has spanned the breadth of public health and includes demonstrating the first ever person-to-person transmission of Norovirus without direct contact, epidemiological methods involved in an community-wide emergency response, and the evaluation of the National Violent Death Reporting System to a novel suicide surveillance system developed in the County.

In this presentation, Kimberly will discuss the development of the Consolidated Risk Assessment Profile form—a suicide surveillance system built with postmortem data filled out by the Medical Examiner Team.

Kimberly shadowed investigators to over 200 death scenes to understand their work and the wealth of information available in a standard death investigation. From that, she developed a list of 46 risk factors that contributed to a person's death by suicide.That data gave the County the information it needed to make tangible interventions. This system, in conjunction with a robust Suicide Fatality Review process, has been recognized and implemented by multiple counties throughout the nation.

Kimberly and her Medical Examiner Team won the 2018 Susan P. Baker National Public Health Impact Award for this integration of death investigators as a key part of public health prevention.