Rutgers New Jersey Medical School To Lead Bergen County Medical Examiner’s Office

Rutgers University, through Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, will appoint physicians to lead the Bergen County Medical Examiner’s Office by late September, in a new partnership between the County and the university.

The Bergen County Medical Examiner’s Office is mandated by state law to investigate the cause of death for unusual or suspicious matters including suspected homicides, inmate deaths, workplace accidents and sudden infant deaths, and to provide expert testimony in civil and criminal court cases. 

The five-year contract between Bergen County and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School is the first of its kind in New Jersey. The medical school’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine will assign at least two licensed physicians, who are also board-certified forensic pathologists, to work full time in the office. One will serve as the county’s chief medical examiner. Through the new partnership, the office may serve a teaching site within the school’s residency program in pathology, and as a research site for public health and forensic medicine research.

“Our physicians will serve Bergen County, families mourning the untimely loss of loved ones, and victims of violent crime with professionalism, compassion, and excellent skill in forensic pathology,” said Robert L. Johnson, M.D., dean, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “In addition, the benefit of a teaching site for our residency program will enhance our ability to produce highly-skilled physician graduates.”

“The Bergen County Medical Examiner’s Office has a longstanding reputation of providing quality services to the people of this County,” said County Executive James J. Tedesco III. “This exciting new partnership will not only enhance these services but also provide vital research that will greatly improve overall population health management.”

Bergen County has determined that its forensic pathology needs would be best served by contracting exclusively with a public teaching institution – and, in particular, one that already provides medical services at the county’s hospital, New Bridge Medical Center.  

“The Medical Examiner’s Office serves a critical role in society, from solving crimes to providing much-needed answers to loved ones,” said Bergen County Freeholder Chairman Thomas J. Sullivan, “The Freeholder Board is proud to work with the Administration in yet another partnership to create a win-win for the people of Bergen County.  Not only will this agreement create better trained doctors, but they will be putting that knowledge to work right here in our community, to share services for the benefit and protection of not just Bergen County residents but the entire state.”