Alaska has two review programs: The Maternal and Child Death Review (MCDR) and the Child Fatality Review Team (CFRT).
MCDR has been in place since 1989. Initially, the program only reviewed maternal, infant and occasionally fetal deaths. In 2005, the age criterion was expanded to include children. The age range of children has varied over time; currently MCDR reviews infants and children 0 – 17 years of age statewide. Alaska’s MCDR staff consist of a Program Manager, Epidemiologist, Health Program Associate and a consulting Senior Epidemiologist. Federal funding like the Title V MCH Block Grant and the CDC SUID grant are blended to fund these positions which is housed in Alaska’ Title V Agency, within the Section of Women’s, Children’s, and Family Health of the Alaska Division of Public Health.
CFRT was established by statute (section 12.65.120 to .140) in 1998. There is no budget for this program and it is housed in the State Medical Examiner’s Office.
MCDR committee members are on a voluntary basis and are approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Social Services and the State of Alaska Medical Board. Committee membership includes medical providers such as pediatricians, neonatologists, obstetricians, and nurses, as well as social workers, epidemiologists, tribal representatives, and children’s justice advocates.
CFRT committee members are specified in Alaska statute. This CFRT state-level team is mandatory. The chairperson of the state team is the Chief Medical Examiner. The state team conducts retrospective/periodic reviews. Local teams are permitted, although none currently exist.
The MCDR program reviews maternal cases and infant and child deaths ages 0 – 17. All deaths occurring in the state of Alaska or among Alaskan residents that meet these criteria are reviewed. All reviews are conducted retrospectively, with the committee meeting once a month.
The CFRT program reviews all deaths ages 0-17 that are unanticipated, sudden, or violent, focusing on legal and law enforcement activities surrounding the death and only reviewing those deaths that go through the State Medical Examiner’s Office. All reviews are usually completed within one month of the time of death.
The final products of MCDR are reports with public health recommendations.
The final product of CFRT is a decision on legal action and decision on cause and manner of death to put on the death certificate.
MCDR utilizes standardized data reporting forms, which are completed for all reviews. All information is then entered and stored in the National Fatality Review Case Reporting System which is accessed for analysis.
Reports are published every two years with summary findings from the MCDR. Additionally, topic-specific Epi Bulletins and other reports are published to inform the public about specific risk factors impacting infants, children, or mothers.
No CFRT reports have been published.
Both MCDR and CFRT have meeting and confidentiality protocols in place.
An annual meeting is held where MCDR committee members and community partners are invited to discuss MCDR data and recommendations regarding specific types of death.
When possible, a guest speaker provides training on various topics relating to deaths of persons ages 0 to 17.
Last Updated: December 2019