Intern II – Real Time Overdose Surveillance

US Government, DPH - Public Health

King County Medical Examiner’s Office is looking for an Intern II, to work in our Real Time Overdose Surveillance (RTOS) team doing things like laboratory testing, confirming results, and compiling data. There are a lot of majors where this experience is helpful and interesting, ranging from public health, to behavioral health, to pre-med, to criminal justice. While most of the work will be with the RTOS, there will be the opportunity later in the internship to spend a few shifts with other teams in the office. 

In order to be eligible for this position, you must be in an undergraduate program and have an interest in getting real world experience in a medical examiner’s office.  

Learning Objectives

This is an internship and therefore is all about learning—learning about the work of a medical examiner’s office and learning about the current overdose crisis in King County. Additionally, there is a Continuing Medical Education conference weekly that interns can attend. This is also an opportunity to show your talents and work ethics to MEO staff. Currently, there are 5 staff members who started as interns at KCMEO (2 in investigations, 1 on the RTOS, 1 in administration, and 1 in autopsy).

Within 3 months, the intern will become competent in the use of several instruments (MC908, Rigaku, TruNarc) used to test drugs and drug paraphernalia, and Randox, which is used to test decedent blood. They will become familiar with data entry and evaluation in Red Cap and VertiQ.

Within 6 months they will be proficient in these activities, and be able to do them quickly and efficiently, and be able to take on additional work. 

After 6-9 months, as time allows, they will have the opportunity to work with or observe other sections in the office, such as autopsy technicians, death investigators, and the forensic epidemiologist.

The goal of this internship is to give the student intern exposure to and experience with Real Time Overdose Surveillance Team. During the internship, students will become confident in:

  1. Identifying drugs and drug paraphernalia in scene photos
  2. Testing drugs, drug paraphernalia and decedent blood and urine
  3. Accurately entering data into multiple databases, and cleaning the data
  4. Analyze data and put it into publications
  5. Understand and follow chain of custody
  6. Support the Overdose Fatality Review
  7. Prepare and conduct presentations of the data 


The King County Medical Examiner’s Office is an interesting and challenging place to work. We deal with all sudden, unexpected, and unnatural deaths in the county. The office is home to a robust educational program—from forensic pathology fellowship, to a weekly CME conference, to a large number of interns, this is an environment where everyone is learning. 

The Real Time Overdose Surveillance Team was created to address the large increase in overdose deaths in King County. They do in-house testing to produce toxicology results in hours, rather than months, look for overdose trends, and produce publications for partner agencies. In the Overdose Fatality Review, multidisciplinary teams review deaths, and create recommendations for law enforcement, public health, behavioral health and others.

Working in a medical examiner’s office isn’t for everyone. Interns will frequently be in meetings where photographs of decedents and death scenes are shown, and they will review these photos to identify drugs and drug paraphernalia. They will regularly work in the lab, which is next to the autopsy suite, so they will see and smell decedents.

Commitment To Equity and Social Justice

Named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most influential civil rights leaders in our nation’s history, King County is a vibrant international community with residents that represent countries from around the world. It is a region with increasing diversity that cherishes the traditions of many cultures.


The county government has a deep commitment to equity and social justice and advancing practices, strategies, and policies that promote fairness, justice, and opportunity for all – in our workplaces and our communities. With this commitment, King County has adopted a pro-equity agenda to advance regional change and ensure that residents from all communities are incorporated into our emergency planning and public outreach efforts.


We recognize that structural racism consists of principles and practices that cause and justify an inequitable distribution of rights, opportunities, and experiences across racial groups. Since declaring Racism is a Public Health Crisis in June 2020, King County and Public Health committed to being intentionally anti-racist and accountable to Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities.


To learn more, please visit


Work Schedule The student will work an average of 16 hours per week. This position is non-exempt and subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The work schedule will work around student class schedules, with each student coming in 2 days per week. We have 4 interns at any one time (with staggered start dates) so between them every day of the week can be covered.


Work Location The work performed in this position will take place at King County Medical Examiner’s Office on the Harborview hospital campus at 908 Jefferson Street, Seattle, WA, 98104 on the 2nd floor. 

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