About the Program

Mission

Our mission is to provide top-quality education and experience for future forensic pathologists. We commit to serving our community by investigating death within our jurisdictional criteria as defined by statute code. The result of our investigations shall be delivered in a way that is informative, collaborative, and serves the betterment of health and public safety. We commit to the values of excellence, accountability, respect, leadership, integrity, and public service.

Contact

Please contact us for questions you may have regarding your application to the program and interview.

Email: ForensicFellowship@clarkcountynv.gov

Program Aims

The forensic pathology fellowship aims to narrow the unmet needs of the forensic workforce by training and retaining fellows in the state of Nevada. Our program aims to deliver physicians who can function competently and independently in any type of jurisdiction or academic setting. They shall leave our program ready to become boarded in this area of specialty by the American Board of Pathology.

Curriculum

As part of the program’s curriculum, fellows will be required to perform the following:

  • Act as a functioning forensic pathologist under the supervision and guidance of experienced board-certified forensic pathologists.
  • Participate in scene investigations.
  • Complete postmortem examinations (approx. 200-250), including written reports.
  • Be involved in protocol preparations.
  • Participate in conferences with interested parties.
  • Be involved in court testimony.
  • Assist in the teaching of medical students and other medical trainees rotating through CCOCME for their autopsy experience.
  • Devote six to ten weeks exclusively to laboratory experience (e.g., toxicology, anthropology/odontology, and crime laboratory).

Additional Information

About the Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner

The Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner (CCOCME) provides professional medicolegal death investigation by determining cause and manner of death, identifies decedents, notifies next-of-kin, and protects decedent’s property. Our vision is to be the leader in providing compassionate and efficient service to the people we serve.

The office serves Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas and surrounding urban and rural areas, with a combined population of over 2.2 million people and an additional 45 million visitors each year. The office also provides autopsy services to the counties of White Pine, Nye, and Lincoln. In 2022, there were 22,452 deaths in Clark County. CCOCME was contacted regarding 7,894 of these deaths, of which 5,343 deaths required a full investigation, and 3,524 deaths, including 127 child fatalities, required a forensic examination performed by a forensic pathologist. During this year, we sent 37 neuropathology submissions and 55 genetic testing submissions. CCOCME also identified three unidentified decedents through CODIS ranging from the date of death of 1980 to 2020. In partnership with our Organ Procurement Organization (Nevada Donor Network), 279 organ referrals were made resulting in 99 donors and 371 organs recovered; and 3,940 coroner-directed referrals were made resulting in 254 tissue donors and 287 ocular donors.

The CCOCME is dual accredited by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) and the International Association of Coroners & Medical Examiners (IACME). The forensic pathology fellowship will be supported by board-certified forensic pathologists, board-certified forensic anthropologists, board-certified odontologists, board-certified neuropathologists, and board-certified forensic toxicologists (available by phone and email consultation through NMS Laboratories). Additional qualified personnel are available through Medicolegal Death Scene Investigations (certified by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators [ABMDI]), autopsy assistants (who also provide support and assistance in evisceration, evidence collection, forensic photography, and radiology services), histology (by qualified external providers that have CLIA and CMS certification), and criminalists (provided through the local crime lab, which is certified by the American Society of Crime Laboratories Directors Laboratory Accreditation Board). The office also has an excellent working relationship with law enforcement, public health, medical facilities, and local medical schools.

Facilities

There are three departments at CCOCME: investigations, forensics, and administration. Our 20,500-square-foot facility is located directly across from the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV and has:

  • A fully equipped autopsy suite with four tables.
  • A separate special procedure autopsy suite with two additional tables.
  • A FOBOS radiology system.
  • One large conference room with projection capabilities.
  • Multiple rooms for meetings and legal proceedings.
  • Private and semi-private office space/cubicle space for faculty and fellows with individual computers and microscopes.
  • Fixed specimen cutting room (equipped with formalin hood, computer, and Photodyne), and a histology lab with tissue storage space.

Block Schedule

Each block represents a two-week period.

  • Orientation - 1 block 
  • Investigations and MedicoLegal Investigations Conference (CCOCME and IACME) – 1 block
  • Anthropology, Odontology, and Radiology (CCOCME and UNLV) – 2 blocks 
  • Crime Lab (CCOCME and LVMPD) - 2 blocks 
  • Toxicology and Conference (NAME or AAFS) - 2 blocks 
  • Autopsy – 12 blocks 
  • Neuropathology – 1 block 
  • Court Testimony and Wellness – 1 block 
  • Research and Board Review – 2 blocks 
  • Vacation/Sick Time – 2 blocks

Compensation and Benefits

  • Salary will be based on graduate medical education year, commensurate with the level of postgraduate training in pathology.
  • No state income tax in Nevada.
  • One paid national conference (NAME or AAFS).
  • Relocation allowance up to $5000.00.
  • Paid vacation and sick leave as defined by the Kirk Kerkorian School of Medicine at UNLV GME vacation/annual leave policy.
  • Professional liability.
  • Health insurance.
  • Dental insurance.
  • Disability insurance.
  • Life insurance.
  • Vision insurance.

“Forensic Pathology is a Pathology subspecialty that is largely practiced on behalf of the public. Forensic Pathologists support the public health, public safety and criminal justice systems as well as provide critical information to the families of decedents and their treating physicians. Because there is a shortage of forensic pathologists in the United States, many communities lack the valuable information that these physicians provide.”

-The National Commission on Forensic Science

How to Apply

Eligibility

To be eligible for entry into the forensic pathology fellowship program, the applicant must have the following:

  • Valid Nevada class C driver’s license at the time of training.
  • Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathic Medicine degree (MD/DO).
  • Valid license to practice medicine in the state of Nevada at the time of training.
  • Successful completion of an ACGME accredited anatomic pathology residency.
  • Eligibility for certification in anatomic pathology or anatomic/clinical pathology by the American Board of Pathology.

Application Requirements

  • CAP Standardized Application
  • CV without gaps in time
  • Personal statement or letter of interest (one page)
  • Three letters of reference (one of which must be from your program director)
  • Photo

Please submit all required documents to ForensicFellowship@clarkcountynv.gov.

Meet the Team

Lisa A. Gavin, MD, MPH

Forensic Pathology Fellowship Program Director