Forensic Pathology Fellowship

Under the tutelage of eight board-certified forensic pathologists, this one-year fellowship program prepares pathologists for careers in forensic pathology. The State of New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator, a statewide medical examiner system, is located on the campus of the UNM School of Medicine. This arrangement ensures that the state is provided with excellent facilities and death investigation, as well as affording outstanding educational and research opportunities in forensic pathology.

It is in this fertile environment that the forensic pathology fellow conducts a substantial number of medicolegal autopsies on routine and unusual cases from around the state and is given substantial control of cases (natural, accidental, suicidal, and homicidal) at all levels, commensurate with their increasing ability.

Training during the year includes rotations in toxicology, forensic odontology, forensic anthropology, and the state and local crime labs. The trainee is afforded the opportunity to testify in court, under supervision and direction, and is also encouraged to witness testimony by others who are experienced in courtroom dialogue.

The Office of the Medical investigator is a state of the art facility with in house computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Postmortem CT scans are performed on the majority of decedents and are interpreted by a board-certified forensic radiologist. Trainees will have in-depth exposure to radiology interpretation under the guidance of our forensic radiologist.

In this system, consultations are presented to all of the senior pathologists for review and advice. The trainee is allowed to actively participate in these interesting consultations. In addition to the case-by-case instruction, the trainee will be involved in didactic teaching and should be a participant in the annual Medicolegal investigation of Death seminar conducted each year for investigators and law enforcement personnel.

- Director, Forensic Pathology Fellowship Program

Teaching Faculty

photo of Lori A. Proe

Lori A. Proe, DO
Lori A. Proe, DO, Medical Investigator, received her undergraduate degree in Studio Art from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her medical degree from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine. She completed her pathology residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center and a fellowship in Forensic Pathology at the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.

Dr. Proe is board certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and Forensic Pathology. She is a member of multiple professional organizations.

photo of Heather S. Jarrell

Heather S. Jarrell, MD
Heather S. Jarrell, MD, Medical Investigator, received her undergraduate degree from Valdosta State University and her medical degree from Mercer University School of Medicine. She then completed her Anatomic Pathology residency and a Neuropathology fellowship at the University of Virginia, followed by a Forensic Pathology fellowship at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Jarrell has completed medical missions in Zambia, Honduras, Peru, and Tanzania.

Dr. Jarrell is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic Pathology, Neuropathology, and Forensic Pathology. She is a member of NAME (National Association of Medical Examiners) and the AAFS (American Academy of Forensic Sciences).

photo of Lauren E. Dvorscak

Lauren E. Dvorscak, MD

Lauren E. Dvorscak, MD, Medical Investigator, received her undergraduate degree from Indiana University-Northwest and her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine. She completed a pathology residency at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and a fellowship in forensic pathology at the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.

Dr. Dvorscak is board certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. She is a member of multiple professional organizations including NAME (National Association of Medical Examiners) and AAFS (American Academy of Forensic Sciences). Her research interests include sudden, unexplained infant death.

photo of Lauren A. Decker

Lauren A. Decker, MD
Lauren A. Decker, MD, Medical Investigator, received her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her medical degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed a pathology residency at The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center and a forensic pathology fellowship at the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.

Dr. Decker is board certified in Anatomic and Forensic Pathology by the American Board of Pathology. She is a member of multiple professional organizations, including NAME (National Associated of Medical Examiners). Her research interests have included the utility of CT (Computed Tomography) scans in a postmortem setting.

photo of Lauren A. Decker

Clarissa S. Krinsky, MD, CFP
Dr. Krinsky received her undergraduate degree from the University of San Diego and her medical degree from the University of New Mexico. She then completed a residency in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and a fellowship in Forensic Pathology at the University of New Mexico and the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.

Dr. Krinsky is board certified in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology and Forensic Pathology by the American Board of Pathology. Dr. Krinsky is also a Certified Financial Planner certificant and owned her own financial planning firm for many years.

Dr. Krinsky is currently a member of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME), and her research interests include prescription medication overdose deaths, firearm injuries and deaths, and financial literacy in healthcare students and practitioners.

photo of Ross Zumwalt

Ross E. Zumwalt, MD
Ross E. Zumwalt, MD, Medical Investigator and Professor Emeritus of Pathology: BA, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana; MD, University of Illinois College of Medicine; internship and pathology residency at the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, Cooperstown, New York; pathology residency at the Southwestern Medical School, Dallas; forensic fellowship training at the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office; military service as director of laboratories at the Navy Regional Medical Center in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Two years as deputy coroner in Cleveland, Ohio, and six years as deputy coroner in Cincinnati, Ohio, before coming to the Office of the Medical Investigator in 1987. Dr. Zumwalt is certified in anatomic and forensic pathology by the American Board of Pathology. He was a trustee of the American Board of Pathology from 1993 to 2004. Dr. Zumwalt served as Chief Medical Investigator of the State of New Mexico from 1991 through 2014.

Dr. Zumwalt has served as president of the National Association of Medical Examiners and is a member of the following professional organizations: The National Association of Medical Examiners; The American Academy of Forensic Sciences; College of American Pathologists; American Society of Clinical Pathologists; United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology; American Medical Association; and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He served on a National Academy of Sciences Committee on Identifying the needs of the Forensic Science Community 2007-2009.

Current Forensic Pathology Fellows

photo of Carolin Boecking

Carolin Boecking, MD
Degree: MD from Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg, Germany
AP/CP Residency: University of California, San Francisco

photo of Emily Helmrich

Emily Helmrich, DO
Degree: Master of Medical Science from the University of South Florida
DO from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
AP/CP Residency: The University of New Mexico, Department of Pathology

photo of Zoe Sundell

Zoe Sundell, MD
Degree: MD from Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
Transitional Intern and AP/CP Residency: Madigan Army Medical Center

photo of Paul Yell

Paul Yell, MD
Degree: MD from UT Houston (McGovern) Medical School
AP/CP Residency: UT Southwestern

Testimonials from Former Fellows

Brooks

“The New Mexico OMI was my top choice for forensic fellowship training, and I feel extremely fortunate to have been selected as one of the four fellows in my class. The diversity of cases and breadth of OMI faculty expertise (neuropathology, forensic odontology, forensic radiology, epidemiology, to name a few) made for an intensely educational year. While most of my training was conducted in the old OMI facility, having been in the new facility I can attest that they provide top-notch accommodations for current fellows. Training under a centralized medical examiner system afforded me the unique opportunity to become involved in statewide research collaborations (e.g. with the NM Dept. of Health) and to understand the importance of mortality statistics/tracking in a way that I otherwise would not have. To this day, the New Mexico OMI serves as my model of what a well-run forensic fellowship and death investigative system should be.”

Erin G. Brooks, MD

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the OMI. Being a centralized office for a state-wide medicolegal death investigation system kept the case load quite varied and interesting. As with most great medical examiner offices, the OMI’s strength was in its people; I felt like I was getting instruction from some of the best in the field, and in the form of Dr. Zumwalt, a forensic pathology legend. I also thought that the close relationship with the UNM hospital provided some useful interaction with the non-forensic medical staff when investigating challenging natural deaths. One of the opportunities that stands out to me was when I was able to testify in a Grand Jury hearing on a case I had performed early in my fellowship. Fellows rarely get the opportunity to testify and I felt fortunate to experience the witness stand for myself during my training. Beyond the educational experience, I was pleasantly surprised by Albuquerque, and New Mexico as a whole. I developed such an affinity for the area, I have returned almost every year to take my family skiing and to enjoy the wonderful food and sights that New Mexico has to offer. "

- Merrill Hines, MD

Fellowship Alumni & Their Positions After Training

Year Fellow Position After training
2018 Henry McNett, MD Washoe County Co. Regional Medical Examiner’s Office, NV
2018 Lindsay Taute, MD Cook County Medical Examiner, IL
2018 Andrew Guajardo, MD Office of the Medical Examiner, UT
2017 Christopher Liverman, MD, PhD Med Hennepin County Medical Examiner, MN
2017 Anne Hoffa, MD Onondaga Co. Medical Examiner's Office, NY
2017 Mark Giffen, DO Wake Forest Baptist Health Dept. of Pathology, NC
2016 Rebecca Asch-Kendrick, MD Midwest Medical Examiner, Ramsey, MN
2016 Lauren Edelman, MD Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, Austin, TX
2016 Lauren Decker, MD Cook County Medical Examiner, Chicago, IL
2016 Kacy Krehbiel, MD Utah Office of the Medical Examiner, Taylorsville, UT
2015 Lauren Dvorscak, MD Assistant Professor, Clinician Educator, Forensic Pathology, UNM, Albuquerque, NM
2014 Nika Aljinovic, MD Neuropathology/Cardiac Pathology Fellow, Office of Chief Medical Examiner, New York City, NY
2013 Udey Ukpo, MD Pathologist, Los Angeles, CA
2013 Leslie Hamilton, MD Assistant Professor, University of Calgary, Alberta Canada
2013 Deidre Amaro, MD Neuropathology Fellow, University of California, San Diego
2012 Cecilia Wu, MD University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
2012 Katherine Callahan, MD Medical Examiner in Travis County, Austin, TX
2011 Rebecca Wilcoxon, MD Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office, Minneapolis, MN
2011 Lori Proe, MD Assistant Professor, UNM Pathology, OMI, Albuquerque NM
2011 Hannah Kastenbaum, MD Assistant Professor, UNM Pathology, OMI, Director of the UNMH Autopsy Service, Albuquerque, NM
2010 John Burns, MD Forensic Pathology, Honolulu, HI
2010 Julie Schrader (Adams), MD Utah State Medical Examiners Office, Salt Lake City, UT
2009 Erin Brooks, MD Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics
2006 Laura Knight, MD Deputy Chief Medical Examiner, Washoe County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office, Reno, NV
2005 Merrill Hines, MD Assistant Medical Examiner, Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, Houston, TX

Application Process

To Apply, submit:

  • CAP Standardized Fellowship Application Form
  • Personal Statement
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Copies of USMLE Step I, II, III scores
  • Medical School Transcript
  • Three Letters of Recommendation, one of which should come from your program director
  • ECFMG certification, if applicable

 

Contact InformationIan D. Paul, M.D., Director, Forensic Pathology FellowshipNew Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator
MSC 07-4040
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Phone: 505-272-3053

NM OMI website: http://omi.unm.edu/