Forensic Technology Center of Excellence


Just Partnerships To Enhance Overdose Fatality Review

Just Partnerships To Enhance Overdose Fatality Review

In episode five, Just Science interviews Dr. Mallory O’Brien, Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, to discuss how partnerships can enhance Overdose Fatality Reviews. 

The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) is the only state-based reporting system that covers all types of violent deaths, including homicides and suicides. It pools more than 600 unique data elements from multiple sources into an anonymous, usable database. Dr. Mallory O’Brien used her experience with NVDRS to improve the overdose fatality review process. 

Listen along as she discusses leveraging partnerships to enhance overdose fatality reviews, their impact on communities with substance abuse problems, and the historical context that led to fatality reviews in this episode of Just Science.  

This season is in collaboration with the Bureau of Justice Assistance Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program funding to respond to illicit substance use and misuse in order to reduce overdose deaths, promote public safety, and support access to services. 

This episode of Just Science is funded by the National Institute of Justice’s Forensic Technology Center of Excellence [Award 2016-MU-BX-K110].

Original Release Date: February 19th, 2021

Listen/Download at:

ItunesStitcherSoundcloudSpotify, Google Podcast

Download episode transcript here:


Guest Bio

Dr. Mallory O’Brien is the Founding Director of the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission (MHRC) and DataShare as well as an Assistant Professor with Institute for Health & Equity, Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. O’Brien has a PhD in Epidemiology and has worked as a researcher with public health, community and criminal justice partners in Milwaukee for the past 14 years. She has led the development, implementation and expansion of the MHRC since its inception. The MHRC has been systematically collecting comprehensive data from the criminal justice community on homicides since 2005 and non-fatal shootings since 2006. She is currently the Project Director for a USDOJ COPS grant to create a homicide review technical assistance manual and train 96 jurisdictions in the homicide review process. The data reports for the MHRC can be found online at Dr. O’Brien leads the development of DataShare, an integrated data system for Milwaukee, linking public health, public safety and education data to improve the lives of Milwaukee residents. Additionally, she is Co-PI on two NIJ funded grants one on nonfatal shootings, the second developing Sentinel Event Review

Related Content

microphone and headphones

Just Addressing the Stigma of Substance Abuse Disorder

In episode nine, Just Science interviews Clarence Jordan, the Vice President of Wellness and Recovery at Beacon Health Options, to discuss stigma and its impact to programs designed to support those with substance use disorder and on individual level outcomes.  There is no shortage of stigma surrounding the overdose crisis facing our…
microphone and headphones

Just The Importance of Identifying Emerging Drug Threats

In episode three, Just Science sat down with Amanda Mohr and Dr. Alex Krotulski from the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education to discuss the analytical and interpretative challenges associated with emerging drug threats.  The Center for Forensic Science Research and Education, otherwise known as…

The hidden costs of the opioid crisis and the implications for financial management in the public sector

Jeri Ropero-Miller and Paul Speaker   Report Date Volume 1, 2019, Pages 227-238 Abstract The November 2017 release of the Council of Economic Advisers’ White House report on the opioid crisis suggests that prior consideration of expenses severely underestimated the…