Global Congress on Verbal Autopsy in 2011 open for abstract submission

The first Global Congress on Verbal Autopsy methods and applications will be held in Bali, Indonesia, in February 2011. This  neglected area of global mortality measurement offers sometimes the only feasible means to obtain information on causes of death in many populations. The Congress should provide a focus for all those interested in VA methods.

We’re delighted to post here a notice about this meeting, provided by Alan Lopez and Christopher Murray.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, the School of Population Health at the University of Queensland, and the open access journal Population Health Metrics are convening the Global Congress on Verbal Autopsy: State of the Science, in Bali, Indonesia, from 15-17 February 2011.

The goal of the Congress is to provide a venue to facilitate the exchange of information and present new developments in the methods and application of verbal autopsy to collect information on causes of death in populations without reliable medical certification of deaths. Verbal autopsy methods are now increasingly used by countries and promoted by the World Health Organization and others as an affordable means of collecting cause of death data to inform health policies and programs. National application of verbal autopsy to supplement existing, but inadequate, cause of death certification is being implemented by several countries, based on measurement instruments developed more than two decades ago. These routine applications, as well as the use of verbal autopsy in research, will benefit from the exposition of new methods, validation procedures, and instrument design underway in several research institutes. The advent of large new “gold standard” datasets collected across several countries has facilitated the development and refinement of measurement methods and increased understanding of which causes can, and cannot, be reliably measured by verbal autopsies.

The Congress will provide the first opportunity for researchers and policymakers around the world to learn and exchange information about these new developments and potential applications of verbal autopsy to strengthen the evidence base for policy action in populations where medical certification of all deaths will not be feasible for some time. Researchers are invited to submit abstracts on any aspect of verbal autopsy methodological development or application, including: instrument design; maximizing instrument performance; results from local and national applications; analysis methods to determine underlying cause of death; performance analytics; combining VA with other mechanisms; the challenges of VA in national health information systems; and policy use and ramifications.

Abstracts must be received by Nov. 22, 2010. Abstracts will be reviewed by the conference Organizing Committee, and authors of successful abstracts will be invited to attend and give a verbal or poster presentation at the event. You will be notified by Dec. 6, 2010, about the status of your abstract. Please submit abstracts and direct any questions to Summer Ohno, slohno@uw.edu, at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

In addition,  Population Health Metrics is planning a special thematic series on verbal autopsy. A subset of abstracts’ authors will be invited to submit a full manuscript for consideration for publication inPopulation Health Metrics. We will consider all original research as well as systematic reviews or scholarly commentaries addressing the theme. Papers must be submitted by Jan. 17, 2011, with the series to be published following the conference in spring, 2011. We also plan to distribute the series in a special print edition. All invited manuscripts will receive accelerated handling and undergo rigorous review and editorial evaluation.  The journal’s article-processing charge will be paid for by the conference organizers.  The issue editor will be Dr. Rafael Lozano, Professor of Global Health at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

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