Forensic Pathology Fellowship

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.

Mission and Emphasis

The mission of the program is to provide training in forensic pathology that will equip the incumbent to successfully complete the forensic pathology examination given by the American Board of Pathology; and to practice as a 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 this program is on the acquisition of analytical and cognitive abilities of a caliber to permit the graduate to function as a consultant to the legal, academic medical and practicing medical communities, and to effectively incorporate new knowledge into practice patterns in later years.

Required Rotations

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.

Appointment and Conferences

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.

Scene Investigations

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.

Physical Plant

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.

Geography

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.

Selection of Candidates, Starting Dates, and Compensation

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.

Faculty

  • Kelly Devers, MD, George Washington University, Washington, D.C. 2006. AP/CP, FP, NP. Chief Medical Examiner and Assistant Professor.
    Special interests: neuropathology and trauma
  • Mary Mainland, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin, 1995. AP/CP, FP. Deputy Chief Medical Examiner and Assistant Professor. Special interests:
    child abuse, suicide, and autopsy reporting
  • Leszek Chrostowski, MD, Medical University of Gdansk, Poland, 1988. AP, FP. Associate Medical Examiner and Assistant Professor. Special interests: autopsy techniques and gunshot wounds
  • Selly Strauch-Rivers, MD, American University of the Caribbean, 2003.                                     AP/CP, FP. Associate Medical Examiner and Assistant Professor. Special interests: drowning and child deaths
  • Daniel Schultz, MD, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, 1990. AP/CP, FP. Associate Medical Examiner. Special interests: organ/tissue donation, infectious disease,
  • Julia Pearson, PhD, D-ABFT, Michigan State University, 1996. Assistant Professor. Chief Forensic Toxicologist. Special interest: novel psychoactive substances
  • Dina Swanson, MS, D-ABFT, University of Florida, 2009. Assistant Chief Forensic Toxicologist. Special interest: designer opioids
  • Erin Kimmerle, PhD, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, 2004. USF Associate Professor of Anthropology

For further information contact:

Dr. Kelly Devers
11025 North 46th Street
Tampa, FL 33617
Telephone: 813-914-4500
E-mail: deversk@hillsboroughcounty.org

Department of Pathology and Cell Biology

12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., MDC 11
Tampa, FL 33612