Tracking embalming practices informs and helps prepare future professionals
1, 2016, the Office of Vital Records (OVR) added a new question for funeral
staff to answer when registering the fact of death. This question, “was or will
the decedent be embalmed,” was added to collect disposition data at the request
of the Program of Mortuary Science at the University of Minnesota.
families are choosing cremation as a means of preparing the bodies of loved
ones for final disposition. Whereas the
first modern cremation occurred in the United States in 1876, as recently as
1990 the cremation rate in Minnesota was only 16%. Over the past 26 years, however, Minnesota’s
cremation rate has risen steadily. Dr.
Michael LuBrant, Director of the Program of Mortuary Science analyzed data provided
by OVR for the first two months of 2016. He comments, “Minnesota’s cremation
rate now averages 60.5%, making the preference for cremation in Minnesota the
highest for all states located in the West-Northcentral region of the United
preference for embalming remains common when burial is chosen, LuBrant said
that, “until we began this research project, we did not know the extent to
which families choosing cremation were also choosing embalming. An assumption in our research is that if a
family chooses cremation with embalming, their preference is for services that
incorporate the presence of the decedent’s body, and most likely include an open-casket
analysis by the University of Minnesota shows that of families choosing
cremation, only 10% are also choosing embalming. LuBrant hypothesizes “that the preference for
embalming (and hence services and ceremonies with the decedent’s remains
prepared for reviewal) may be higher (or lower) in certain areas of the state,
and for certain populations of citizens, depending on factors that include diversity
in the cultural and ethnic background of the decedent.”
With the assistance of OVR, the Program of
Mortuary Science is working to inform the industry and to better educate its students
about the variations in death care preferences of citizens residing throughout Minnesota. The University’s goal is to prepare students
to work as funeral directors sensitive to the death care needs of an increasingly
diverse population here in Minnesota.
Adoption Registry: a safety net for families
The Minnesota Fathers’ Adoption Registry (MFAR) protects the
rights of putative fathers and adoptive families. A putative father is a man of
any age who:
- Thinks he may be the father of a child
- Is not married to the child’s mother before or
at the time of the child’s birth
- Has not established paternity through a
voluntary paternity acknowledgement or a court order.
MFAR serves as a safety net for putative fathers and
adoptive families. It was created by the Minnesota Legislature in 1998 to
stabilize the adoption process by placing time limits on a putative father’s
opportunity to assert his rights.
MFAR is a tool to:
- Determine the identity and location of a
putative father interested in a minor child who is, or is expected to be, the
subject of an adoption proceeding—now or later
- Provide notice of the adoption proceeding to the
putative father who is not otherwise entitled to notice
- Provide a putative father an opportunity to
participate in the adoption process or exercise his rights and establish
Minnesota law requires MFAR to be searched for putative
fathers who have registered in relation to a child who is or may be the subject
of an adoption in Minnesota. It also requires that the putative fathers who
have registered to be notified before the adoption can be finalized. Men register
voluntarily and to protect their rights, register before the birth or within 30
days of the child’s birth. Men must also update their registration should their
contact information change in order to assure notification in the future.
search of MFAR identifies a man who has registered in MFAR for the child
included in the adoption petition, he is notified of the adoption proceedings.
The man can then exercise his rights as a father and establish paternity, or,
consent to the adoption process.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) maintains MFAR. The
registry database is a separate responsibility in the Office of Vital Records
(OVR). Staff within OVR register putative fathers, conduct searches, and issue
certifications of results. On March 31, MDH migrated the unsupported MFAR
database to the Minnesota Registration and Certification (MR&C) System. All
MR&C users now see a new MFAR tab at the top of their screen to the right
of all the usual MR&C tabs (Home, Birth, Death, Customer Service, and
While integrated within MR&C, MFAR continues to be a
distinct and unique database separate from vital records. Moving MFAR to the
MR&C System allows MDH to use current technology to effectively maintain
and support the registry. Using the MR&C tool also allows MDH to manage the
registry much more efficiently, improve security, and reduce fraud. Only MDH
personnel will have access to log in through the MFAR tab to register putative
fathers, search the registry and certify search results that are presented to
For more information about MFAR see the MDH webpages for the
Fathers’ Adoption Registry (MFAR).
National Public Health Week
Did you know that Americans are living 20
years longer than their grandparents’ generation? Thanks largely to the work YOU do and all of
us working together.
With every keystroke last year in 2015, you
entered data for 69,087 births and 42,710 deaths in the Minnesota Registration &
Certification system (MR&C) making you a part of the growing movement of
people, communities and organizations with a goal of creating the healthiest
nation in one generation.
National Public Health week is April 4-10,
2016. The Minnesota Office of Vital Records (OVR) and the American Public
Health Association (APHA) applaud you for your impact on improving the health
of all people and all communities in Minnesota and throughout our Nation.
During the first full week of April each
year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities
across the United States to observe National Public Health Week as a time to
recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are
important to improving our nation.
The American Public Health Association
champions the health of all people and communities. We strengthen the
profession of public health; foster understanding, engagement and support for
key public health issues; and directly influence public policy to improve
Together we can make America the place where
everyone has the best opportunity in the world for a long, healthy life. Thank
you for your efforts to help meet the goal to make the U.S. the Healthiest
Nation in One Generation by 2030.