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Chief Medical Examiner Talks About The Year Of COVID

Jett Loe, UNM Health Sciences
Dr. Heather Jarrell

  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. 

Credit UNM Health Sciences
Dr. Heather Jarrell

  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.

Megan has been a journalist for 25 years and worked at business weeklies in San Antonio, New Orleans and Albuquerque. She first came to KUNM as a phone volunteer on the pledge drive in 2005. That led to volunteering on Women’s Focus, Weekend Edition and the Global Music Show. She was then hired as Morning Edition host in 2015, then the All Things Considered host in 2018. Megan was hired as News Director in 2021.