A medical examiner visits crime scenes and investigates deaths that occur under unusual or suspicious circumstances by performing postmortem examinations. If you're interested in becoming a medical examiner, you will first need to earn a Doctor of Medicine from an accredited college or university and then complete a residency program in the field of pathology. These medical schools offer some of the top research programs in the country and can help prepare you for a career in the field.
Johns Hopkins University
Ranked as the third-best medical research school by "US News & World Report," Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore offers a pathobiology master's program as well as a doctorate in pathology. The students in the Department of Pathology at Johns Hopkins can choose an anatomic pathology, clinical pathology or neurological pathology track or combine two of the three. The school also offers the No. 1 residency program in the country in anatomic pathology that features forensic pathology and autopsy courses. At the time of publication, Johns Hopkins has four postgraduates participating in medical examiner residencies on the East Coast.
Stanford University has the second-best school of medicine in the nation, according to "US News & World Report." Through the autopsy pathology program, nearly 270 autopsies are performed by students each year under the close supervision and instruction of faculty. A residency program in anatomic pathology provides students with training in forensic pathology and neuropathology as well as a four-month autopsy training course. A customizable third year in the residency program allows aspiring medical examiners to focus on a specific course of study catered to their interests and needs.
The nation's top medical school, Harvard University features a department of pathology that includes divisions at four teaching hospitals in the Boston area: Boston Children's Hospital and Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center as well as Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital, which rank two and four, respectively, on Doximity's list of top residency programs. Harvard is internationally recognized as being a leader in clinical pathology, anatomic pathology, molecular pathology and transfusion medicine.
University of California, San Francisco
The University of California, San Francisco's Department of Pathology offers training in anatomic pathology, clinical pathology and neuropathology. The department also provides UCSF-affiliated hospitals with diagnostic services in autopsy pathology. The school has a top-10 residency program rating and is the fourth-highest-ranked medical research school according to "US News & World Report." Second-year residents serve at the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office for Forensic Pathology in addition to an autopsy pathology rotation.
Washington University in St. Louis
A top-10-ranked medical research school with a top-10 residency program, Washington University in St. Louis' Department of Pathology and Immunology has four divisions focusing on anatomic and molecular pathology, laboratory and genomic medicine, immunubiology and neuropathology. The school's residency program aims to train residents in modern methods of clinical investigation to prepare them for a career in pathology following completion. Members who satisfactorily complete this residency are equipped for a career as a medical examiner.
- US News and World Report: Best Medical Schools -- Research
- Johns Hopkins University
- Johns Hopkins University: Department of Pathology
- Doximity: 2014 Top Medical Residency Programs
- Stanford University
- Stanford Medicine
- Stanford University: Autopsy Pathology
- Harvard University
- Harvard Medical School: Pathology
- University of California, San Francisco
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