Internship Information for Medical Examiner's Office

ERIE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH 
OFFICE OF THE MEDICAL EXAMINER 
INTERNSHIP PROGRAM 

The Erie County Medical Examiner has jurisdiction to investigate the death of every person dying within Erie 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. 

Interns 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 Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office offers two types of internships.  The two internship options are: 

Investigative Internship – Interns will work closely with Forensic Pathologists and Investigators learning forensic autopsy and investigative techniques. Interns will observe autopsies while assisting staff in taking notes and photographs, setting-up and cleaning-up the autopsy suites. When possible, interns 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 and specimens, updating electronic information, uploading photographs into the computer, x-rays, and other tasks as needed. Interns will observe autopsies daily as the case load allows. Applicants should be pursuing a degree in forensic science, natural sciences, criminal justice or a related field. A minimum of 120 hours commitment is needed. Interns will report to the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office to by 7:30 am on the days they are available Monday – Saturday. 

Toxicology Internship – Accepted interns are typically assigned a project utilizing skills and knowledge for chemical analysis of biological specimens. Interns interact 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 the days they are available Monday - Friday. Applicants should be pursuing a degree in forensic chemistry or forensic toxicology and have completed coursework in instrumental analysis and organic chemistry. Toxicology internships are not available during the Winter Break. 

INTERNSHIP SCHEDULE

The Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office is a 24 hour operation but Investigative internships will take place between 7am and 4pm. Interns must be able to arrive no later than 7:30 am on the days they are available. Toxicology laboratory hours are Monday-Friday between 8:30am to 4:30pm. Intern schedules will be discussed and established taking into account the Intern’s class schedule and availability. 

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. 

WHO MAY APPLY

College students 18 years or older who are studying a related subject matter and will receive college credit for the internship are eligible to apply. Preference is given to students who are required to complete an internship for their degree and to those students who are nearing their anticipated graduation date. Applications must be submitted according to the following deadlines: 

Spring Semester (late Jan-late May): October 1st – applicants will be notified on or around October 21st

Summer Break (early June-late August): March 1st – applicants will be notified on or around March 21st

Fall Semester (early September mid December): May 1st – applicants will be notified on or around May 21st

Winter Break (mid Dec-mid January): September 21st – applicants will be notified on or around October 1st 

Applicants should contact the Medical Examiner’s Office to ensure all application materials are received. All applications are reviewed by the Division Director, Chief Medical Examiner and Internship Coordinator. Acceptance is dependent on office needs, the number of students applying for the particular semester, the presentation of your résumé and cover letter, and your letters of recommendation. A letter indicating acceptance or denial will be mailed to the address provided on your resume. Accepted applicants will receive an acceptance packet and will be contacted to set up an orientation date. Once accepted, internship advisors will be contacted by the Erie County Department of Health to establish an affiliation agreement between the academic department and Erie County. All internships require a fully executed affiliation agreement prior to the first day of internship. 

HOW TO APPLY

Interested individuals who meet the above criteria can send the completed application along with their résumé, cover letter and two (2) professional/academic letters of reference to: 

Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office
Attn: Janinne Blank
501 Kensington Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14214
PHONE: 716-961-7591
FAX: 716-961-7581
EMAIL: janinne.blank@erie.gov 

The cover letter should include a statement of purpose and future goals. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Contact

Phone: (716) 858-7690

Fax: (716) 858-8701

Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH)
95 Franklin Street
Buffalo, New York 14202

ECDOH Locations

Western New York 211