Mayor de Blasio Appoints Dr. Barbara Sampson as Chief Medical Examiner

December 10, 2014

Forensic pathology expert brings decades of experience to Medical Examiner’s Office

First female chief medical examiner appointed in agency history

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today appointed Dr. Barbara Sampson as Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York. A leading expert in the field of forensic pathology, Dr. Sampson will be charged with overseeing investigations into deaths in New York City and running the largest DNA laboratory in the nation.

“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. 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. Our administration is committed to building on this department’s strong record, and we look forward to working with Barbara in this effort,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“For sixteen years, I have had the honor of serving this city’s residents in the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office. In the aftermath of September 11th, this agency’s staff worked tirelessly and diligently in the face of unspeakable tragedy, and I’m proud to continue to work alongside these dedicated men and women as chief medical examiner. This department provides essential services to New Yorkers each day at the worst time of their lives, and I’m committed to working with this administration to ensure we continue to provide the highest quality services possible,” said incoming Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson.

Dr. Sampson brings years of experience to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office. A well-known expert in the field of forensic pathology, Dr. Sampson has worked for the city as First Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Senior Medical Examiner, and Cardiovascular Pathology Consultant, among other positions. Dr. Sampson has also published widely on forensic pathology and microbiology, and serves on the editorial boards of two journals of pathology. Dr. Sampson most recently served the city as Acting Chief Medical Examiner.

The Chief Medical Examiner has the responsibility to investigate all deaths of persons in the City of New York occurring from criminal violence, by accident, by suicide, suddenly when in apparent health, or in any unusual or suspicious manner. The Chief Medical Examiner 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.

About Dr. Barbara Sampson

Dr. Barbara Sampson was appointed Acting Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York in 2013. Sampson joined the OCME as a Fellow in Forensic Pathology in 1998. From 2000 to 2005, Dr. Sampson served the office as a City Medical Examiner II and Cardiovascular Pathology Consultant. In 2005, she was promoted to First Deputy Chief Medical Examiner.

Dr. Sampson is the recipient of the Young Investigator Award from the Society of Cardiovascular Pathology and the E.R. Squibb and Sons Senior Thesis Prize for Contribution to Scientific Research, among other awards. She is Vice President of the Society of Cardiovascular Pathology, and a member of the National Association of Medical Examiners, the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, and the American Medical Association.

Sampson earned her Bachelor’s degree at Princeton 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. Dr. Sampson has authored 29 articles and 4 book chapters in the fields of microbiology and pathology.

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