Chief Medical Examiner

US Government, 250 Health & Human Services

Under administrative direction, the Chief Medical Examiner (ME) must be able to exercise considerable judgment, authority, and discretion in directing the operations of the Office of the Medical Examiner (OME). They must also ensure that the provisions of the Medical Examiner Act are properly carried out. Under state statute, the Chief ME must be licensed to practice medicine in the state and be certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic Pathology and Forensic Pathology. They will conduct, supervise and/or direct medico-legal investigations and examinations, including autopsies, external examinations and record reviews. They will prepare written reports regarding case findings, including the interpretation of those findings, and issue official death certificates and final reports ruling as to cause and manner of death. They will act as an expert consultant in forensic medicine in civil or criminal matters and provide expert testimony and opinion in court, depositions, pre-trial reviews, and other proceedings. The Chief ME shall serve at the will of the Executive Director.

Due to the nature of this position, compliance to the Utah Department of Health and Human Services Employee Immunization policy is required. 

Principal Duties

They will work for an assigned period of time with the current Chief Medical Examiner through retirement transition and planning.

In collaboration with the Operations Director, they will develop, direct, and/or evaluate the functions and operations of the Office of the Medical Examiner. They will also work with the Operations Director to supervise subordinate personnel including hiring, determining workload and delegating assignments, training, monitoring and evaluating performance, and initiating corrective or disciplinary actions. They will directly supervise all leadership staff in the office (autopsy, front office, investigations, epidemiology, pathology).

They will serve as a liaison from the OME to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) leadership and other operations units as needed, and work with DHHS leadership to address funding needs with the Governor’s Office and Social Services Appropriations committee.

They will serve as a representative of the OME in interactions with outside agencies, including county, state and federal partners, organ and tissue donation agencies, funeral directors, and law enforcement.  Serve also as spokesperson for media outlets in coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services communications team.

They will serve as the Associate Program Director for the ACGME-accredited forensic pathology fellowship program, which is run in conjunction with the University of Utah Department of Pathology.

Certify the cause and manner of death and prepare final reports of cases which include reports of investigations of death.

Act as an expert consultant in forensic medicine.

Provide expert testimony in courts of law and depositions, as well as participate in pre-trial and other meetings with criminal and civil attorneys.

They will maintain a comprehensive quality assurance and improvement program and utilize the continuous quality improvement process to assess and enhance standards of quality in office operations.

They will direct and plan programs for the training and education of office interns, medical students, and residents, and participate in presenting training programs to law enforcement personnel, fire investigators, attorneys, and medical personnel regarding death investigation and the Utah Medical Examiner Act.

They will prepare staffing plans and submit requests to higher level managers to meet organizational, functional, and/or operational requirements. 

They will respond to personnel issues and confer with higher-level managers/executives, human resources staff, and/or legal advisors to determine appropriate decisions/actions. 

They will develop goals, document performance, provide performance feedback and formally evaluate the work of employees, as well as provide reward and recognition for proper and efficient performance. They will assist staff to achieve performance standards and identify opportunities for continual improvement to performance standards.

They will actively participate on the Department’s emergency preparedness, mass fatality plans, and response team(s) to support meeting the Department’s public health and environmental responsibilities outlined in the State Emergency Operations Plan. They will work with other agencies to exercise the OME Mass Fatality Plan.

Knowledge & Skills

They must have knowledge of the scientific principles, methods, and processes used to conduct a systematic and objective inquiry, including study design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, and the reporting of results. 

They must have knowledge of the principles, methods, and tools of quality assurance, quality control, and reliability used to ensure that a project, system, or product fulfills requirements and standards. 

They must have knowledge of budgeting principles and practices sufficient to be able to administer a budget to accomplish program objectives.

They must have skills to effectively teach, provide training, participate in research, create presentations, lecture, and contribute to testing and other instructional methods.

They must have knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process. 

The Ideal Candidate

The ideal Chief Medical Examiner will have a unique blend of forensic pathology expertise, people skills, and management acumen. The success of the Chief Medical Examiner will depend on an ability to convey and implement an outstanding vision of the department’s future and to provide sound departmental management and leadership. Candidates must also thrive in a fast-paced environment with a personal style that embraces a collaborative approach to decision making and problem solving. Successful candidates will have the ability to create and lead teams, organize and prioritize the work of others, and build collaborative relationships.

They must have three years of administrative and supervisory experience in a death investigation system.

Current unlimited license to practice medicine in the State of Utah (MD or DO) or the ability to become licensed prior to beginning employment.

Board certification in Anatomic Pathology or Anatomic/Clinical Pathology by the American Board of Pathology.

Board certification in Forensic Pathology by the American Board of Pathology.

In summary, the successful candidate will have the ability to lead and manage a complex, fast-paced Medical Examiner’s Office and will have consistently demonstrated the highest of ethical and professional standards.

Why You Should Join Our Team

This is an opportunity to make a difference. You will also receive great health and retirement benefits, as well as generous paid time off, so you can have a positive work/life balance. 

Click here to see more information about the benefits offered by the state.

You may accrue up to 6 hours of Annual leave per pay period.

The Agency

To learn more about the Utah Office of the Medical Examiner, click here. If offered this position, your continued employment will be contingent upon passing a fingerprint background check.


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