Robert’s Program | Clinician Resources

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Contact the Robert's Program

Robert’s Program works with the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) to evaluate the cases of children who die suddenly and unexpectedly under the age of three in Massachusetts. We provide testing for metabolic, cardiac and neurologic abnormalities. We also complete a full assessment of the family medical history and relevant genetic testing of the parents when they consent to participation.

Our program currently focuses on Massachusetts, but we are available to informally discuss cases. We are also happy to receive research referrals from outside of Massachusetts.

We have a strong collaboration with the Massachusetts OCME to evaluate a child’s death with enhanced neurological and genetic testing. The unique relationship between Robert’s Program and the OCME works to standardize nomenclature and improve communication with bereaved families through explanation and support.

For Massachusetts families enrolled in Robert’s program, we are happy to include primary medical providers in our discussion with the family and share our conclusions.

For further information on sudden unexpected death in pediatrics, you can visit the following websites:


Robert's Program Newsletter, End of Year 2017


  • Kinney Filiano triple risk Filiano JJ, Kinney HC. A perspective on neuropathologic findings in victims of the sudden infant death syndrome: the triple-risk model. Biol Neonate. 1994;65(3-4):194-7. PubMed PMID: 8038282.
  • Kinney thach NEJM Kinney HC, Thach BT. The sudden infant death syndrome. N Engl J Med. 2009 Aug 20;361(8):795-805. PubMed PMID:
  • Duncan serotonin Duncan JR, Paterson DS, Hoffman JM, Mokler DJ, Borenstein NS, et al. Brainstem serotonergic deficiency in sudden infant death syndrome. JAMA. 2010 Feb 3;303(5):430-7. PubMed PMID: 20124538
  • Goldstein RD, Nields HM, Kinney HC. A New Approach to the Investigation of Sudden Unexpected Death. Pediatrics. 2017 Jul 5;PubMed PMID: 28679642.
  • Postneonatal mortality and SIDS Pediatrics Goldstein RD, Trachtenberg FL, Sens MA, Harty BJ, Kinney HC. Overall Postneonatal Mortality and Rates of SIDS. Pediatrics. 2016 Jan;137(1)PubMed PMID: 26634772.
  • Hefti SUDC Hefti MM, Kinney HC, Cryan JB, Haas EA, Chadwick AE, et al. Sudden unexpected death in early childhood: general observations in a series of 151 cases: Part 1 of the investigations of the San Diego SUDC Research Project. Forensic Sci Med Pathol. 2016 Mar;12(1):4-13. PubMed PMID: 26782961; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4752958.
  • Overlap paper Kinney HC, Poduri AH, Cryan JB, Haynes RL, Teot L, et al. Hippocampal Formation Maldevelopment and Sudden Unexpected Death across the Pediatric Age Spectrum. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2016 Oct;75(10):981-997. PubMed PMID: 27612489.
  • SUDC and febrile seizures Ingrid and Ann Holm IA, Poduri A, Crandall L, Haas E, Grafe MR, et al. Inheritance of febrile seizures in sudden unexplained death in toddlers. Pediatr Neurol. 2012 Apr;46(4):235-9. PubMed PMID: 22490769; NIHMSID: NIHMS567758; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4009678.

***marker for sids paper actaneuropathologica

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