De Blasio Appoints City’s First Female Chief Medical Examiner

De Blasio Appoints City’s First Female Chief Medical Examiner

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson. Photo Courtesy of Voices of September 11th

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson.
Photo Courtesy of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

She’s a pioneering forensic pathologist.

Mayor Bill de Blasio last week appointed Dr. Barbara Sampson the city’s chief medical examiner, the first female head ME in the agency’s history.

Sampson has been the acting chief medical examiner since Dr. Charles Hirsch, who was appointed by then-Mayor Ed Koch in 1989, stepped down early last year.

Widely considered an expert in forensic pathology, Sampson has served the OCME in a variety of roles over the past 16 years, including first deputy chief medical examiner, senior medical examiner and cardiovascular pathology consultant. She is also a member of the editorial boards of two journals of pathology.

“The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s investigations play a critical role for all New Yorkers, providing closure to families, information to police officers, and news to the general public,” de Blasio said. “Over the past two years as acting chief, Dr. Barbara Sampson has deftly managed these vital investigations with precision, objectivity, and sensitivity for all involved.”

Sampson earned her Bachelor’s degree at Princeton University and obtained a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at Rockefeller University. She earned her degree in medicine at Cornell University Medical College, followed by a residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

According to the Mayor’s Office, the chief medical examiner has the responsibility to investigate all deaths of persons in the city occurring from criminal violence, by accident, by suicide, suddenly when in apparent health, or in any unusual or suspicious manner. The chief ME is also responsible for taking possession of suicide notes and writings and portable objects useful in establishing the cause of death; maintaining records on all deaths investigated; and delivering to the appropriate district attorney copies of records relating to every death in which there is an indication of criminality.


By Michael V. Cusenza


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