- Medical Examiner
- Forensic Pathology Fellowship
FORENSIC PATHOLOGY FELLOWSHIP
The Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner (MCOME) offers an ACGME-accredited, one-year Forensic Pathology Fellowship, sponsored by the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. The fellowship is open to applicants who will have completed a 3 or 4 year Anatomic or Anatomic/Clinical Pathology Residency prior to matriculation. MCOME’s program currently is approved and funded for two fellows annually.
MCOME is participating in the NRMP Subspecialty Match Program and is currently accepting applications for the 2024-2025 academic year (two positions available).
Our program’s core purpose is to inspire and train exemplary physician leaders in the subspecialty of Forensic Pathology so that they may serve in the critical public health and safety operations of state and local medicolegal death investigation systems; these systems serve all members of the public by investigating traumatic, non-natural, sudden/unexplained, and high-risk communicable disease deaths in their communities and by sharing information about these deaths with policy-makers, health officials, safety officials, and the public-at-large so that future deaths may be prevented and communities may thrive.
- Welcome Letter from Program Director
- Program Overview
- Applicants: Eligibility, Compensation, and Benefits
- Location and Facilities
Thank you for your interest in the Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner (MCOME) Forensic Pathology Fellowship Program! Our fellowship will develop your medical death investigation skills and a forensic mindset through didactics, your own casework, and discussion of our agency’s work.
As MCOME is one of the busiest medical examiner’s offices in the United States, you will have access to a wide breadth of cases including all forms of trauma, substance use, sudden unexpected natural diseases, and communicable diseases. Under the supervision of experienced, board-certified forensic pathologists, you will become a fully autonomous forensic pathology practitioner by year’s end and learn valuable skills outside of the examination suite including how to manage practice challenges like speaking with grieving families, building resilience to vicarious trauma, navigating the legal system, emergency responses, and media-relations.
As a fully trained specialist physician, we respect the knowledge you bring to MCOME with you. You will operate as a junior-level Medical Examiner with casework responsibility, but under the steady guidance and supervision of a fully staffed, experienced team of practitioners. You’ll receive training from our on-site forensic anthropologist and forensic odontologist, our contracted forensic- and neuro-pathologist, and experience off-site rotations in forensic sciences at Phoenix Police Department’s Crime Laboratory and postmortem forensic toxicology at NMS Labs.
Our operation has been described as a model for large offices in urban settings. With modern facilities, technology tools, and lean workflow processes, you will also gain experience with how medical death investigation agencies run and what we can provide to communities. We are excited to have you join us in this final stage of your training and to help you establish a great foundation for your future practice!
We are currently accepting applications. If you are interested in applying please review the Applicants tab or contact our Program Coordinator, Stephanie Coombs at Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org or 602-372-7268.
The Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner (MCOME) serves 4.6 million people in Maricopa County, Arizona including all its cities and towns by conducting medicolegal death investigations pursuant to law. Fully accredited by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), the agency operates out of a free-standing, modern facility in downtown Phoenix, conveniently located across the street from the Phoenix Police Department Crime Laboratory and within a short walk to the County Court Complex where criminal trials occur.
MCOME annually receives over 14,000 direct reports of death; of these, approximately 7,800 are deemed jurisdictional cases and just over 6,000 are admitted for postmortem examinations including 3,900 full autopsies. Our investigators respond to over 4,100 scenes annually within the 9,200 square miles of the county (the US’s 15th largest by area and 4th most populous) including the vast majority of ME cases outside of healthcare facilities. MCOME also revisits incident scenes for infant deaths to conduct doll scene reconstructions. MCOME's jurisdictional cases include all homicides, suicides, accidents of all types, undiagnosed but suspected communicable diseases, and sudden unexplained natural deaths. Details of our annual caseload and operation can be found in our annual report.
Forensic Pathology Fellows gain knowledge and experience by participating in casework under the supervision and guidance of board-certified forensic pathologists. Our agency maintains full forensic pathologist staffing without Fellows, so the program can focus on education, not caseload management. Fellows are expected to complete 200-250 forensic autopsies, including all manners and types of deaths. They learn how to work-up forensic cases from the initial history and scene evaluation through postmortem examination, analysis of ancillary testing, and follow-up investigation. They gain skills in standard and advanced dissection techniques, efficient documentation of observations, and final Medical Examiner Report writing. The program prepares Fellows for autonomous practice in Forensic Pathology by year’s end and includes preparation for being a public official, how to approach media relations, and navigating trial testimony in criminal and civil litigations. Forensic Science exposure is through an off-site rotation at the Phoenix Police Department Crime Laboratory. Forensic postmortem toxicology exposure occurs at NMS Labs. Opportunities to gain experience with mass fatality and continuity planning, workplace safety, and interfacing with stakeholders in public health are available. Forensic Anthropology is taught on-site by an in-house board-certified forensic anthropologist. Likewise, Forensic Odontology experience is gained on-site by an in-house, full-time board-certified forensic odontologist. Neuropathology is provided by a contracted board-certified forensic- and neuro-pathologist who provides examination services on-site.
Eligible applicants will have a Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathic Medicine degree (M.D./D.O.) and have successfully completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology or combined Anatomic/Clinical Pathology in an ACGME-accredited program before the start of the Fellowship. They must obtain an Arizona Medical License or Arizona training permit prior to the start of work. MCOME requires medical clearance to wear an N95 respirator, a TB test, Hep B and Tetanus immunization records, and a background check. Fellows are employed by Maricopa County.
For other inquiries about the program, please email the Program Coordinator, Stephanie Coombs at Stephanie.email@example.com
We are currently accepting applications for fellowship year 2024-2025. Our program will participate in the MATCH program for fellowship selection through NRMP. Applicants must register with NRMP Match Program during the application process.
HOW TO APPLY
Please submit the items below to Program Coordinator, Stephanie Coombs at Stephanie.firstname.lastname@example.org
- CAP Common application PDF
- CV without gaps in time (all dates must be accounted for with all experience)
- One-page personal statement
- Three letters of reference including one from your pathology residency program director
- Applicant experience survey
View more information on Eligibility Requirements and Selection
A contract will be provided prior to the Rank Order List Certification Deadline
Our program does not discriminate with respect to gender, race, age, religion, color, natural origin, disability, or any other applicable legally protected status. We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment in all respects and for all learners.
Please be aware of the following:
- Deadline for accepting applications 01/31/2023
- Interviews offered and conducted virtually 11/01/2022-04/01/2023
- Forensic Pathology Match opens 2/8/2023
- Ranking period 3/22/2023-4/19/2023
- Match day 5/3/2023
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
Fellows are considered county employees and will have access to the full range of county benefits, including medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurance, enrollment in the Arizona State Retirement System, and paid vacation time.
Please visit this page for information: Employee Benefits and Wellness | Maricopa County, AZ
All fellows are covered through County Risk Management as MCOME employees.
WORK RELATED INJURY – WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
For work-related injuries, fellows must report through a supervisor or supervising ME at the MCOME, who will ensure the claim is reported electronically through the County’s Risk Management Claim Form. For questions on worker’s compensation claims, County Risk Management Worker’s Compensation can be contacted at 602-506-8041 or WorkersCompReports@maricopa.gov
The County has multiple fitness centers with free memberships available to County employees.
In addition to EAP services offered through the County’s medical benefits, the MCOME remains focused on addressing compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma. The MCOME has an in-house vicarious trauma committee, a designated Quiet Room, and a Peer Support program.
County employees receive many great perks of employment, including discounts to sporting events, concerts, theme parks, movie theatres, etc. There are also discounts for Maricopa County Parks and free mass transit passes through Valley Metro.
Phoenix and the surrounding metropolitan area, also referred to as the “Valley of the Sun,” experiences 300+ days of sunshine annually in the beautiful Sonoran Desert. As the 5th most populous city in the US, there are myriad choices for activities, restaurants, and entertainment. Outdoor activities are abundant and with access to higher elevations, you can often “choose your season” with a short drive.
Phoenix is home to several professional sports teams including the Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Mercury, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, and Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s also home to over 200 golf courses. If you want a change in scenery, California, Mexico, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and Northern Arizona are just a few hours away. From the scenic views, bustling night life, arts, sports, and outdoor activities, Phoenix is a great place to live, explore, and enjoy.
The Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner (MCOME) is NAME accredited and housed in a modern stand-alone, three-level facility with lots of natural lighting and easy access to downtown Phoenix and the County Court Complex. A U-shaped main examination suite with central observation hallway allows the Fellows to work on cases in close proximity to attending faculty and to be supported by a full team of forensic technicians and forensic photographers. A Lodox full-body scanner is adjacent and large monitors provide exam-suite access to radiology and scene images. Additionally, a special procedures suite allows for safe examination of cases with volatile chemical exposures and communicable diseases. The central hallway allows law enforcement observers to see the procedure without entry into the exam suite. There is covered on-site parking for all staff.
Fellows are provided a dictaphone, microscope, and a county laptop computer with on-site and remote access to our all-digital system for access to the case management system, records, images, and reports.
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Dr. Jeffrey Johnston