State Spotlight - Iowa
updated: February 2012
John C. Kraemer, PA, F-ABMDI
Director, Forensic Operations
Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner
2250 S. Ankeny Blvd.
Ankeny, Iowa 50023-9093
Julia Goodin, MD
Chief State Medical Examiner
Iowa Department of Public Health
2250 S. Ankeny Blvd.
Ankeny, IA 50023
The State of Iowa Child Death Review Team was established in 1995 by Statute, 641-90.1 et seq. The Team had an initial annual budget of $28,000. Funding for the program came from the Department of Public Health’s MCH Block grant ($8,000) and state general funds ($20,000). Funding is year-to-year. In the spring of 2009, the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner (IOSME) was assigned the coordination of the team with no funding or staff due to state budget cuts. The IOSME currently has one fulltime and two part-time staff members assigned to assist the Chief State Medical Examiner with case review and team management.
Iowa has a state review team. This team also serves as a CAPTA Citizen’s
State Team Chairperson: Laurie Gehrke, RN
The team is comprised of 14 official members and six liaisons. The
team meets four times per year. The State Team has participated in
legislative hearings, educational presentations and published articles
in professional journals.
The Iowa CDR team reviews deaths of children under 18 years of age.
The purpose of Iowa’s CDR Program is prevention.
Standardized data reporting forms are completed for all reviews. The
collection of data is not required by legislation or policy, but is needed
for their annual report. Iowa CDR has access to state vital records.
Vital records (birth and death certificates) are used to identify child deaths and for background checks.
CDR data are stored on a computer file and in hard copy for three years.
The data are analyzed using frequency distributions by manner and cause.
Iowa does produce an annual report. The report is on the Iowa Department of Public Health’s website. Recommendations are sent to the Governor and legislature. The report is distributed
to the Governor, legislature, state agencies, law enforcement and county
Iowa CDR efforts have influenced change. Statewide examples
of this include an influence on proposed legislation, coordination of CDR
data with the Iowa SIDS Foundation and changes in the length of sentences
for criminals who kill a child. Examples of how CDR findings have motivated
prevention activities include the distribution of SIDS brochures, posters
and videos to child care providers and educational materials on bed-sharing.
This effort has been evaluated for effectiveness. Evaluation efforts consisted
of a hospital survey that measured data from 2001 through 2002. The data
showed that in 2001, nine out of 93 hospitals placed babies in their newborn
nurseries to sleep on their backs and in 2002 (after brochures had been
distributed), nearly all reporting hospitals placed babies on their backs except
for those with medical reasons requiring a different sleep position.
Iowa CDR has confidentiality and child death investigation protocols
Iowa CDR provides training on child abuse and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Funding is not currently available.