State Spotlight - West Virginia

Last updated:  February 2014

Trish A. McCay, Coordinator
Fatality Review
Office of Chief Medical Examiner
619 Virginia St, West
Charleston, WV 25302
Phone: 304-558-6920 ext. 4010
Cell: 304-916-2510
Fax: 304-558-9038



Mortality Statistics

Program Description

West Virginia’s CDR Program began as a voluntary process in 1994 and was put into statute in 1996. In 2013 new legislation was enacted and WV Code §61-12A-2 created the Unintentional Pharmaceutical Drug Overdose Fatality Review and combined Child Death Review, Domestic Violence Fatality Review and the Infant and Maternal Mortality Review Teams as one. The Bureau for Public Health in consultation with the review teams is proposing rules for legislative approval in 2014.

West Virginia Child Fatality Review Team is a state team only.

State Team:
Kathy Cummins: Division Director of Research Evaluation and Planning for Sudden Infant Death, Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, under the Bureau of Public Health, DHHR

Marie Frazier, MD: Pediatric Intensivist from Marshall University

Lieutenant Danny Swiger: West Virginia State Police, Director of the Crimes Against Children Unit

Corporal Marlene Moore: West Virginia State Police, Crimes Against Children Unit

Vickie Hildreth: Coordinator for Emergency Medical Services for Children

Michelle Kelly: Medical Social Worker and Case Manager for WVU Hospitals

Jane McCallister: Director of Adult and Children’s Services, WVDHHR

Shana Modesitt: Detective Wood County Sheriff’s Department

Michelle O’Bryan: Director of Violence and Injury Prevention Program WVDHHR

Joan Phillips MD: Board Certified Child Abuse Pediatrician Women’s and Children’s Hospital System

Birgit Shanholtzer: Senior Health Statistics Center Epidemiologist, WVBPH

Harry Anderson: Program Manager of Governor’s Highway Safety Program

Mary Treece, CPS Investigator, DHHR Region 4

Jeannie Curry, CPS Supervisor, DHHR Region 2

Thelma Caplinger, CPS Supervisor, DHHR Region 3

Christa Janes-Ash, CPS Child Welfare Consultant, DHHR Region 1

Doronda Gaynor: Infant and Maternal Mortality Review Team

Melissa Baker: Epidemiologist, Bureau for Public Health

Annette Roberts: Nurse, Bureau for Public Health

Patrick Kerr: Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Director WVU Dialectical Behavior Therapy Services

Andrea Darr, Coordinator WV Children’s Justice Task Force

Becky King, Co-Coordinator for Our Babies: Safe and Sound

Eileen Barker, Co-Coordinator for Our Babies: Safe and Sound

Kimberly Harrison: Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities

Sharon Istfan: Board Certified Child Abuse Pediatrician, Women’s and Children’s Hospital Systems
Law requires basic review and data collection on all child deaths. The West Virginia CDR State Team does a “full” review on deaths that appear avoidable – homicides, suicides, motor vehicle, SIDS/SUIDS and accidents and undetermined. Reviews are conducted on children that are less than 18 years old.

Review all deaths of children under the age of eighteen years who are residents of West Virginia in order to identify trends, patterns and risk factors; Provide statistical analysis regarding the causes of child fatalities in West Virginia; Promote public awareness of the incidence and causes of child fatalities, including recommendations for their reduction; and Provide training for state agencies and local multidisciplinary teams.

West Virginia CDR utilizes the National Child Death Review Data Base and gathers all requested data.

Annual Report
West Virginia CDR will be working on further reports.

Prevention Initiatives
West Virginia CDR efforts have influenced change. A statewide example of this is the utilization of the standardized death scene investigation forms used on all child deaths. The child death investigation forms are specifically generated for each cause of death. The WVCDR provided every County Medical Examiner and the WV State Police Crimes Against Children Unit an infant death scene investigation kit. This kit includes the reenactment doll, place cards, forensic tools, child development chart, reference sheet to all services in the State of West Virginia and a hypothermic thermometer. The WVCDR has produced a statement and brief on preventing drowning’s in West Virginia, and press events for air bag safety. Along with the Chief Medical Examiner, the WVCDR is trying to establish a statewide child abuse and neglect medical evaluation team, who will assist and advise child protective services.


The West Virginia CDR Program is required by statute to provide training. The West Virginia CDR program has presented multidisciplinary training on child death review to law enforcement, child protective services, prosecuting attorney’s and other social service providers.