Public/Global Health

NYC chief medical examiner to step down

New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson, the first woman to hold the position in its 100-year history, has stepped down from her role.

Sampson shared her resignation in an interview with ABC News on Monday

During her 23-year career with the agency, Sampson oversaw the autopsies of Joan Rivers, Eric Garner and Jeffery Epstein. She also led the agency through the grueling days of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We were so overwhelmed with the number of fatalities here in the city that we needed every [Office of the Chief Medical Examiner] employee to be part of our COVID response," Sampson told ABC News. 

During her time as chief, Sampson also championed new technology for DNA analysis and opioid detection so autopsies can inform health and law enforcement officials on what types of drugs are on the street, according to ABC News. 

Sampson also maintained her predecessor Charles Hirsch's commitment to keep examining human remains recovered from the Sept. 11 attacks, with new identifications being found as late as the 20th anniversary of the attack, ABC News reported. 

Sampson added that while she didn't think much about being the first woman chief medical examiner for the city's agency, she knows she inspired women interested in the medical field. 

"I was clearly a role model for so many women who are interested in careers in medicine in science and in government. I found that now, looking back, extremely rewarding," Sampson told ABC News. 

Sampson, who served nine years as chief medical examiner, will leave her post for a new position in the Mount Sinai Health System.

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