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The agreement resulted from a two-day scientific meeting held in February at the University of Havana’s Center for Demographic Studies.


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Ross J Simpson, MD and Irion W Pursell, RN, SUDDEN project leaders from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, participated in the first collaborative meeting of United States and Cuban researchers on sudden death. The SUDDEN project leaders, in partnership with GIMUS (Sudden Death Research Group of Cuba), held a two-day scientific meeting at the University of Havana’s Center for Demographic Studies. Researchers from both groups presented data on the impact of sudden death in their respective communities and discussed prevention strategies.

Sudden death is a major public health problem in the United States and globally, accounting for an estimated 10% of deaths each year. There are many inconsistencies in the reporting and characterization of sudden death. The SUDDEN Project has taken an innovative approach to the problem, using new methods to capture every potential sudden death in the state of North Carolina. GIMUS’ efforts have brought light to the critical need for a generally accepted clinical definition of sudden death and targeted heath policy for high-risk groups.

As a result of the meeting, a historic collaboration agreement was reached between UNC and GIMUS to develop strategies to prevent sudden death. The first step is a pilot project that will screen sudden death cases in Cuba using existing SUDDEN methodology. Research findings from the collaboration will be disseminated through international meetings, conferences, and manuscript publications.