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National Violent Death Reporting System

Restricted Access Database (RAD)

Guidelines for RAD proposals

To request NVDRS restricted access case-level microdata, investigators must contact the NVDRS team at for application materials. At this time, there are no costs for accessing the NVDRS RAD. It is also important to note that CDC staff are unable to provide analytic or other technical assistance to recipients for the proposed research.

The NVDRS RAD proposal, estimated to be 2 to 5 pages, contains the following:

  1. Cover letter on official home institution letterhead
  2. Project title
  3. Abstract: approximately 100-300 words summarizing the project
  4. Full personal identification, institutional affiliation, mailing addresses, phone, and email address of the person to be primarily responsible for care of the data and for compliance with the terms of the data sharing agreement
  5. Names of all other investigators who will be accessing the RAD files under the requesting investigator's supervision
  6. Source of funding for the proposed project, if applicable
  7. Background of study:
    • Key study questions or hypotheses
    • Public health benefits.  Requestors must provide evidence that there is a legitimate public health purpose that justifies the use of the data
  1. Summary of the variables needed for the proposed research. Description should include requested NVDRS variables and any data from other sources that might be merged with NVDRS data. A variable specifications sheet and the NVDRS coding manual can be requested prior to submitting the proposal. More information regarding the NVDRS coding manual and other NVDRS materials  are available at
  2. Methods for the study including analytic strategy and mock tables if raw or unweighted frequencies may be reported
  3. Description of the anticipated products, reports, and publications to be derived from the data analyses
  4. Description of the mechanisms that will be in place to secure the data, preserve confidentiality, and prevent unauthorized access. These mechanisms can include the data storage plan, limitations on access to the data, technical security practices such as password protection, use of stand-alone computers, encryption, and procedures covering networked computers and servers.
  5. The requestor must also include with the proposal:
    • A completed and signed copy of the NVDRS Data Sharing Agreement (Note: All investigators on the proposal must sign this agreement)
    • A signed copy of approval from the body of the requestor's home institution that is charged with the ethical review and approval of research projects.

Eligibility to Apply for Restricted Access Database

In order to request the NVDRS RAD, the primary investigator must meet all of the following criteria*:

* Have a Ph.D. or M.D.

* Hold a research position or faculty appointment at his/her institution

* Home institution must be a research organization, government agency, or institution of higher education. This includes research foundations or grant-making organizations.

* Agreement to comply with NVDRS RAD security, confidentiality, and data protection requirements as outlined during the review process

Local, county, and state government employees regardless of degree or research position are eligible to apply for the NVDRS RAD. The ability of the principal investigator to conduct the proposed analyses and to comply with NVDRS RAD security, confidentiality, and data protection requirements will be considered during the review process.

Review Process

Upon receipt of the request, a committee will review the proposal to ensure it meets the requirements established to protect the confidentiality of the data. The NVDRS RAD review committee consists of a panel of scientific and data analysis experts within CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

In each proposal the review committee will look for the following criteria:

  • Scientific and technical feasibility of the study;
  • Qualifications of all people who will have access to the data;
  • Consistency between requested data and study goals;
  • Description of any additional data that will be linked to NVDRS RAD data;
  • Anticipated publications or other dissemination of results;
  • Risk of disclosure of restricted information;
  • Protections in place to maintain confidentiality of the data; and
  • A legitimate public health purpose will be served by use of the data

At a minimum, the committee will review proposals every quarter. Incomplete proposals will be returned upon receipt. The review of complex projects that require extensive communication between NVDRS staff and the applicants may take longer to complete. When a proposal is approved, the principal investigator will be notified by email and will receive the data via FTP.

CDC reserves the right to deny or terminate any project at any time when it deems an investigator's/researcher's actions may compromise confidentiality or ethical standards of behavior in a research environment. Investigators are permitted to conduct only those analyses that have received approval. Failure to comply will result in the cancellation of the research activity and exclusion from future research activities using the NVDRS RAD.

NVDRS Contact Information

Contact the NVDRS team at  for the following:

  • Further information about the NVDRS RAD
  • Copies of the NVDRS RAD data sharing agreement
  • NVDRS coding manual and variable spec sheet
  • Proposal submission

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