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DHHS Celebrates 100 Years of Collecting, Recording Vital Records


For Immediate Release
Friday, October 24, 2013

Raleigh, N.C. - The Department of Health and Human Services today celebrated 100 years of recording vital records and vital statistics in North Carolina. The event, held at the Cultural Resources building in downtown Raleigh, included a backdrop of displays marking important milestones that occurred during the first hundred years of collecting statistics. In his remarks recognizing the landmark, Acting State Health Director Robin Cummings lauded the man who profoundly changed our state's public health system.

"Over 100 years ago, leadership in the State Board of Health recognized the importance of measuring the impact of death and disease on the citizens of North Carolina," Dr. Cummings said. "Dr. W.S. Rankin, who was the state health officer at the time, led the charge for a law to require statewide registration of births and deaths. Under his leadership, the State Board of Health became a model for other states."

The agencies that carry on his work today - DHHS's Office of Vital Records and the State Center for Health Statistics - work closely with funeral homes, registers of deeds, hospitals, local health departments and their colleagues in the Division of Public Health to monitor and collect mountains of data that help guide public health policy. The event was held at the Cultural Resources building in conjunction with State Archives Week. State Archives is responsible for preserving copies of government-issued documents long term, including Vital Records.

In recognition of the anniversary, and of advances in public health in our state, DHHS has created two infographics highlighting North Carolina statistical data obtained through Vital Records:

image showing maternal deaths per 1000

image showing infant deaths per 1000


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