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Internship Information for Medical Examiner's Office

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The Erie County Medical Examiner has jurisdiction to investigate the death of every person dying within his county, or whose body is found within the county, which is or appears to be: a violent death, whether by criminal violence, suicide or casualty; a death caused by unlawful act or criminal neglect; a death occurring in a suspicious, unusual or unexplained manner; a death caused by suspected criminal abortion; a death while unattended by a physician, so far as can be discovered, or where no physician able to certify the cause of death as provided in the public health law and in form as prescribed by the commissioner of health can be found; a death of a person confined in a public institution other than a hospital, infirmary or nursing home.

The Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office offers two types of internships. Intern will gain knowledge of forensics by working closely with forensic pathologists, toxicologists, and forensic investigators during the day to day operations of the office. The two internship options are:

General /Investigative – intern will work closely with the forensic pathologists and investigators to learning forensic autopsy and investigative techniques. Interns will observe autopsies while assisting staff in taking notes, photographs, setting-up and cleaning-up of the autopsy suites. Intern will observe forensic investigators during scene investigations and learn death investigative techniques. Interns will be asked to assist in general office duties including requesting medical records, inventorying medications and specimens, updating electronic information, uploading photographs into the computer, x-rays, and other tasks as needed. Interns will observe autopsies and toxicological practices as case load allows.

Applicant should be pursuing a degree in forensic science, natural sciences, criminal justice or a related field. A minimum of 120 hour commitment is needed. Intern will report to the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office to by 7:30 am on assigned days Monday – Saturday. 

Toxicology Internship – accepted intern is typically assigned a project utilizing skills and knowledge for chemical analysis of biological specimens. Intern interacts with laboratory staff to develop knowledge of forensic toxicology practices and procedures.

Applicants will have chemical laboratory experience and be expected to work between the hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm on assigned days Monday - Friday. Applicants should be pursuing a degree in forensic chemistry or forensic toxicology and have completed coursework in instrumental analysis and organic chemistry.


The Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office is a 24 hour operation with regular office hours from 7am to 3pm. Toxicology laboratory hours are from between 8:30am to 4:30pm. Intern schedule will be discussed and established on a case by case basis.

Due to the amount of time invested in training interns, we require that all interns complete a minimum of 120 hours at the Medical Examiner’s Office regardless of the internship requirements of your school.


College students 18 years or older who are studying a related subject matter. All internships require a fully executed affiliation agreement between Erie County and the department within the college/university in which the intern is enrolled. Applications must be submitted according to the following deadlines:

Spring Semester: October 1st – applicants will be notified on or around October 21st

Summer Break: March 1st – applicants will be notified on or around March 21st

Fall Semester: May 1st – applicants will be notified on or around May 21st

Winter Break: September 21st – applicants will be notified on or around October 1st

Applicants should contact the Medical Examiner’s Office, at 716-961-7591, to ensure all application materials have been received. A letter indicating acceptance or denial will be mailed or e-mailed. Accepted applicants will be contacted by phone to set up an orientation date. All applications are reviewed by the Division Director, Chief Medical Examiner and Internship Coordinator. Interns are accepted/denied on a case by case basis. Acceptance is dependent on office needs, the number of students applying for the particular semester, the presentation of your resume, and your letters of recommendation.


Interested individuals, who meet the above criteria, should complete and return the internship application along with their résumé, cover letter and two (2) professional/academic letters of reference.  Direction for returning the internship application ca be found on the application itself.  The cover letter should include a statement of purpose and future goals. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

**Note: Effective 5/2009, all accepted interns will be required to complete a minimum of 120 hours regardless of school requirements. Erie County Department of Health internships are not paid.

Revised 11/20/2015