About NAME

The National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) is the national professional organization of physician medical examiners, medicolegal death investigators and death investigation system administrators who perform the official duties of the medicolegal investigation of deaths of public interest in the United States. NAME was founded in 1966 with the dual purposes of fostering the professional growth of physician death investigators and disseminating the professional and technical information vital to the continuing improvement of the medical investigation of violent, suspicious and unusual deaths. Growing from a small nucleus of concerned physicians, NAME has expanded its scope to include physician medical examiners and coroners, medical death investigators and medicolegal system administrators from throughout the United States and other countries.


NAME members provide the expertise to medicolegal death investigation that is essential to the effective functioning of the civil and criminal justice systems. NAME is now the national forum for the interchange of professional and technical information in this important segment of public administration. NAME seeks to promote excellence in the day to day investigation of individual cases as well as to improve the interaction of death investigation systems with other agencies and political entities that interface with death investigation in each jurisdiction in this country.


The evolution of excellence in the medicolegal investigation of death in the United States has been slow and arduous. In many jurisdictions the medical aspects of death investigation remain relegated to personnel without medical training, or are performed by persons with little or no education in death investigation. NAME serves as a resource to individuals and jurisdictions seeking to improve medicolegal death investigation by continually working to develop and upgrade national standards for death investigation. The published NAME Standards for a Modern Medicolegal Investigative System provide a model for jurisdictions seeking to improve death investigation. NAME aims to involve competent professional medicolegal death investigators in every jurisdiction in the United States.


NAME, as an association and through its members, maintains active cooperative relationships with the College of American Pathologists, American Society of Clinical Pathologists, and other professional organizations. NAME representatives participate and serve in an advisory capacity to federal, public and private organizations on projects of mutual interest. As the official specialty association of physician medical examiners, the NAME promotes its vision of competent national death investigation from a seat in the House of Delegates of the American Medical Association.


Equally important as standards for performance and the technical scientific knowledge which NAME imparts, is a concept for the administrative and operational aspects of death investigation systems. The educational functions of NAME are simultaneously directed towards the development and improvement of administratively efficient, cost effective death investigation systems. The Association serves as the national forum for medical death investigators and system administrators for the discussion and dissemination of such information. NAME further encourages members to participate in the training of law enforcement officers, allied health professionals, paramedical personnel and others who interface with death cases.


The educational activities of NAME are carried out at the weeklong annual meeting each Fall. The meeting's didactic sessions provide instruction on subjects of medicolegal interest while the scientific sessions provide a platform for individual presentation of scientific studies and research in a peer review setting. Concurrent sessions are scheduled for medical investigators and administrators to discuss issues of mutual interest, share information and procedures, and present papers relating to the administrative and investigative functions of death investigation systems. The Association meets for an interim half day meeting each February in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.


The work of the Association is carried out under the direction of its Officers and a Board of Directors elected by the membership. An Executive Committee is responsible for the fiscal affairs and management of the Association. Standing committees deal with issues of membership and credentials, education, program and publications, ethics, standards, inspection, and accreditation, and finance amongst others. All members are encouraged to participate in committee activities. A permanent Executive Director and part time Executive Vice-President provide yearlong administrative support.


As part of its mission to improve the quality of death investigation nationally and to recognize excellence in death investigation systems, the NAME offers a voluntary inspection and accreditation program for medicolegal death investigative offices. This program is designed to offer expert evaluation and offer recommendations for improvement of functioning offices. Accreditation by NAME is an honor and significant achievement for an office. It signifies to the public that the office is performing at a high level of competence and public service. NAME also offers consultative services for jurisdictions seeking to establish medicolegal death investigation systems and for political entities wishing to evaluate death investigation systems under their administrative purview.


Membership in the National Association of Medical examiners is open to all physicians, investigators, and administrators who are active in medicolegal death investigation. The annual dues include a subscription to the Association's official publication, Academic Forensic Pathology, and access to NAME-L, an Internet List serve.


Information about membership and the procedure for scheduling an inspection may be obtained from the NAME Executive Director.


Further information about the history of the National Association of Medical Examiners and its first 25 years of meetings may be found in the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Volume 16, Number 4, pages 278-313, December 1995. It is available here.


The first Milton Helpern Laureate Award address, given by Past President Joseph Davis, MD at the 1991 annual meeting, entitled "The Future of the Medical Examiner System", is available here.


A good summary of the history of the Medical Examiner system can be found in Chapter 9 of the 2009 National Academies of Science report available here.


2014 NAME Bylaws


For further information, contact:

Denise McNally, Executive Director

31479 Arrow Lane

Marceline, MO  64658