Research to support grieving parents receives $6.2 million grant

Grieving woman in support group with other woman offering support

A research team led by medical ethicists and physician-researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago has been approved for a $6.2 million award to Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, MA, and Lurie Children's Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), a leading funder of patient-centered comparative clinical effectiveness research in the U.S. Patients, caregivers and other stakeholders joined scientists to evaluate the proposals.

In partnership with families, coroners, medical examiners and grief experts, we aim to identify evidence-based strategies to ensure families with a sudden and traumatic loss of a child can find the community support they need.

“This project was selected for PCORI funding not only for its scientific merit and commitment to engaging patients and other health care stakeholders, but also for its conduct in real-world settings,” said PCORI executive director Nakela L. Cook, MD, MPH. “It has the potential to answer an important question about how to support parents after the unexpected or traumatic death of their child and fill a crucial evidence gap.”

While helping grieving families is the study's primary purpose, the researchers also intend to analyze the impact of their strategies on local medical examiners, coroners and community organizations. Rather than limiting their study to a rigidly optimized clinical setting, the researchers will work with five Chicago-area medical examiners' and coroners' offices dealing with a wide range of families of children under 25 who die unexpectedly or in a traumatic manner.

This pragmatic clinical study approach will allow them to observe how the strategies play out in “real-world” situations, making conclusions more generalizable in the long term.

“For a decade, we have been working in primary care, emergency care and hospital settings to connect families to local resources that help everyone stay well, manage illnesses and care for others,” said Lindau. “This study builds on everything we know about how to overcome health and human services system gaps.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to collaborate with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, University of Chicago and PCORI to advance necessary research around grief after child loss,” said Joseph P. Matty, president of