Chief Medical Examiner Talks About The Year Of COVID

Jun 18, 2021


  University Showcase, Friday 6/18 8a: As the coronavirus pandemic took hold in New Mexico in April 2020, Dr. Heather Jarrell stepped into a new role --- interim chief medical examiner at the Office of the Medical Investigator. On this episode, we talk with Dr. Jarrell about how the pandemic affected her office and staff, especially with the ongoing shortage of forensic pathologists here and around the country. She also talks about the need to recruit more young people into the field. 

Dr. Heather Jarrell
Credit UNM Health Sciences

  The OMI was created by the state legislature in 1972 to replace all the county coroners with a statewide medical examiner system. The staff investigate all reportable deaths to determine their cause and provide families with death certification.

The Office is a program within the Department of Pathology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. 


The Office of the Medical Investigator also offers grief services to people who lost loved ones due to sudden death at no cost. Find more about those services here.