SUDC Insights

SUDC Insights is the official blog of the SUDC Foundation which shares and discusses issues important to the understanding and the ultimate prevention of SUDC. If you have questions or issues you would like to see addressed in SUDC Insights, please let us know at

Insight from the 2019 Annual Meeting of the National Association of Medical Examiners


For over 15 years, the SUDC Foundation hasn’t missed the opportunity to attend the National Association of Medical Examiner’s (NAME) meeting. In order to achieve our mission to support those who have suffered the sudden, unexpected death of a child, we first need to connect with them. Medical examiners play a critical role by referring them to us. While pediatric and other medical professionals may be in contact with these bereaved families after the death of their child, medical examiners and coroners most definitely will be. Equally important, we rely on medical examiners and coroners to complete comprehensive investigations and gather crucial data to identify the most accurate causes of death for these children.

The four-day meeting provides a forum for discussion of a broad range of issues pertaining to forensic pathology and death investigation.

In October, we traveled to Kansas City, MO to once again raise awareness of SUDC and educate the meeting’s 460 attendees on the services the Foundation can provide to medical examiners and families. This year’s meeting included a session dedicated to pediatric forensic pathology, offering an excellent opportunity to focus on SUDC and the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Registry and Research Collaborative (SUDCRRC) at New York University’s (NYU) Langone Health. While unexplained pediatric deaths are rare, and often unusual, investigations for forensic pathologists, they are also among the most difficult to investigate and leave lasting questions for pathologists.  

Presentations on the SUDCRRC included:

  • “Cardiac Pathology and Neuropathology Sampling and Photographs in SUDC” presented by Laura Gould Crandall, Research Scientist at NYU Langone Health
  • “Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC): Blinded Neuropathology Review of Autopsy Standardized Cases” presented by Dominique Leitner, Ph.D. and Research Scientist at NYU Langone Health
  • “Results of the Molecular Autopsy from a Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Cohort” presented by Rachel Rabin, genetic counselor at NYU Langone Health

Laura Gould Crandall, Executive Director for the SUDC Foundation, also joined five other researchers and medical professionals to conduct a workshop highlighting the key considerations and procedural guidance for investigation, autopsy, autopsy reporting, cause of death certification and family support involving sudden pediatric deaths. This multidisciplinary panel of experts was identified by NAME and the American Academy of Pediatrics to produce a consensus of practice guidelines that may improve the quality and consistency of sudden pediatric death investigations, epidemiology and research. The three-year project was funded by the SUDC Foundation with resulting work to be published in a book early next year and available for purchase on

NAME’s annual meeting offers the SUDC Foundation an opportunity to connect with key partners in the forensic pathology community to improve our understanding of SUDC, foster compassionate care of families and bring about a brighter future for all children. The SUDC Foundation is thankful for these continued collaborations as we work to achieve our common goals.  




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