The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, along with the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, have selected a research proposal for funding that combines the perspectives of three disciplines—medicine, oral history, and the social sciences. The Fostering Interdisciplinary Research Explorations (FIRE) Grants Program encourages interdisciplinary innovation that transcends the boundaries of conventional partnerships.
This radically interdisciplinary partnership focuses on sudden death—unwitnessed death that happens unexpectedly, outside of the hospital—a phenomenon that has both medical and social dimensions. Using storytelling and qualitative analysis to prevent sudden death brings a social and historical context to medical practice that helps bridge gaps not only between historians and health care professionals but between doctors and patients. The Odum Institute will provide qualitative research support for this critical study; as many as 10% of deaths occur in such inexplicable circumstances. The other partners are the Center for the Study of the American South and SUDDEN (SUDden DEath in North Carolina) at the UNC Department of Medicine.