Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $325,502)
There is a nationwide shortage of board-certified forensic pathologists (FP). It is estimated that over 500 additional ones are currently needed. The Connecticut Office of Chief Medical Examiner has been approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) to provide two FP fellowship positions and are seeking funding for two positions to help increase and replenish the number of overall FPs. The immediate objective for meeting the project goal is funding. The organization’s current two-year budget cycle does not provide this funding. The project objectives are to fund these positions, recruit and train qualified fellows, and graduate new FPs. The existence of a New England regional FP fellowship may induce more pathologists to pursue this career path.
The Connecticut Office of Chief Medical Examiner’s strategy begins with recruitment as the pathology residents of the three Connecticut pathology programs rotate at their office. The residents gain exposure to forensic pathology, and some consider pursuing FP fellowships. With the training program the Connecticut Office of Chief Medical Examiner hopes to retain some of these residents. The accreditation of the program was continued in 2022 following a program evaluation by the ACGME. The Connecticut Office of Chief Medical Examiner will offer exceptional training at their National Association of Medical Examiners-Accredited, statewide office and through its core faculty of nine board-certified FPs. The core faculty are active teachers and engage in numerous research projects and the organization also has American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators certified investigators and employ a board-certified forensic anthropologist. The Connecticut Office of Chief Medical Examiner’s program will closely monitor the progress of its trainees, teaching best practices, and pledge that they attain board certification. They will prepare their graduate’s transition to practice by full exposure to death investigation, jurisdictional decision-making, quality assurance, and courtroom testimony. In addition, they will teach them work-life balance skills as a foundation for a lengthy career in this field.
Several strong partnerships make this training program standout – these include a graduate medical education-liaison with UCONN, all the Pathology Residency Programs and Medical Schools in Connecticut, an American Board of Forensic Toxicology-accredited toxicology laboratory, a state Crime Lab and Crime Scene teams, and the University of New Haven/Henry Lee Institute.
The most important outcome of this grant funding will allow the Connecticut Office of Chief Medical Examiner to deliver high-quality, well-trained, board-eligible forensic pathologists. They will monitor the success of our program through board certification rates. With BJA’s support they will continue training new forensic pathologists to perform sound medicolegal death investigations and improve public health and safety.