Forensic Pathology training at USF is conducted by the faculty at the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Department in Tampa. Hillsborough County has a population base of 1,408,000, encompasses 1072 square miles, and has its seat in the City of Tampa. The County performs approximately 2000 death investigations per year, over 1100 of these involve autopsies.
The mission of our program is to provide comprehensive training in forensic pathology that will enable the fellow to practice in the field with competence, confidence, and compassion; fellows are expected to become American Board of Pathology Diplomates in Forensic Pathology.
The fellow will participate in a diverse array of autopsies involving traumatic and non-traumatic deaths, and learn skills and techniques specific to each category, as well as to reconstruct pathophysiological processes leading to death in specific cases. The fellow will learn to successfully integrate and communicate autopsy findings with law enforcement, attorneys, family members, and health care professionals in other disciplines. Interdisciplinary conferences are considered essential to training. We will provide the fellow with a congenial and welcoming environment that is conducive to learning.
After graduation, the fellow will be equipped to practice as a competent medical examiner or coroner’s pathologist, or to enter academic practice as the director of the autopsy service of a teaching hospital. The emphasis in our program is on the acquisition of analytical and cognitive abilities to permit the fellow to function as an expert consultant to the legal, academic medical and practicing medical communities. The fellow will be prepared to conduct outreach efforts with various governmental entities and non-governmental community groups on a local, state, and national level.
A fellow can expect to perform over 200 autopsies during the course of the year, possibly testify in a few depositions, and toward the end of the year, testify in court (murder trials in Hillsborough County come to trial anywhere from 6 months to a year and a half after arrest). Each fellow spends two days at the Tampa Regional Crime Laboratory of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and attends a week-long course in forensic anthropology at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA, has opportunities to interact with USF anthropology students on skeletal remains consults, and has ample time for consultation with our two on-site forensic toxicologists in the toxicology section of the Medical Examiner Department.
Each fellow has a statutory appointment as Associate Medical Examiner, conducts scene investigations, performs autopsies, and signs his or her own reports. Our teaching program includes case supervision and daily teaching conferences; including fixed brains and hearts, journal discussion, and case discussion.
Hillsborough County medical examiners go to the scenes of all homicides, all infant deaths, some suicides, and all industrial accidents when there has been no hospital treatment; and to any other scenes that they elect. They regularly participate in the morbidity and mortality conference of the USF Department of Surgery at Tampa General Hospital.
The autopsy room, coolers, toxicology laboratory and offices of the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Department are housed in a spacious state-of-the-art three-building complex (built in 2008) at 11025 North 46th Street, Tampa, near the medical school.
Tampa is situated at the head of Tampa Bay, and is the cultural and financial center of a metropolitan area of 3 million people spread over several counties. The urban core is surrounded by suburbs, lakes and waterways, cattle ranches, citrus groves, tropical fish farms, and phosphate mines. This diverse geography makes for a rich case mix. Because Hillsborough County is only 30 miles square, medical examiners can easily make personal appearances at death scenes anywhere in the jurisdiction. Because of the favorable climate, scene investigations are not made unpleasant by winter weather.
The fellowship starts July 1. Preference is given to candidates who will have completed required training in Anatomical Pathology in a program accredited by the ACGME. The salary is $95,000. Benefits are described on the USF website at http://www.hsc.usf.edu/housestaff/new/current.htm.
Dr. Kelly Devers
11025 North 46th Street
Tampa, FL 33617
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 11
Tampa, FL 33612