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Lehigh County Coroner’s Office Seeking to Improve Professional Standards and Services Through National Association of Medical Examiner’s (NAME) Accreditation

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $53,878)

The Lehigh County Coroner’s Office is seeking to improve their professional standards and services by achieving accreditation through the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME). Obtaining NAME accreditation would represent a “seal of approval” from a community consisting of medical examiners, forensic pathologists and medicolegal partners across the nation; indicating that the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office upholds death investigation standards that are of the highest level; benefiting not only our relationships with the forensic pathology physicians and law enforcement organizations we work with on a daily basis, but most importantly for the families we serve.  

 The NAME organization will provide the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office with a vast network of medicolegal professions who can assist with providing the best standard practices in death investigation. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania consists of 67 counties, several of which are in rural locations. There is a lack of standardized training, education and resources among the medical examiner/coroner offices, which results in an unbalanced approach towards death investigations statewide. The primary purpose of achieving NAME accreditation is to place the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office at the forefront of death investigation practices in the Commonwealth; not only for the families we personally serve, but also as a model of excellence for the rest of the offices in the Commonwealth. Emulating the consistent, professional standards set forth by NAME, the Lehigh County Coroner’s Office will be a leader for other offices in the Commonwealth, helping identify their strengths and weaknesses; leading to more thorough and consistent death investigations. A secondary purpose for achieving NAME accreditation would be to further enhance our professional relationship with the forensic pathologists, who are contracted by our office to perform autopsies and other professional consultations. The forensic pathologists are all NAME certified and by being like-minded in professional training and standards, we can provide the most concise information leading to an effective collaborative death investigation.          

Lehigh County is the most populated of four counties that comprise the Lehigh Valley region of eastern Pennsylvania and northwestern New Jersey. Continued growth in population and infrastructure, along with two advanced expanding healthcare systems, have increased the offices workload. Expected outcomes include obtaining the invaluable leadership and advocacy provided by the NAME organization; learning the best practice standards in death investigation to meet the growing challenges we face; additional educational opportunities and availability into the latest research.

Date Created: September 8, 2023