Forensic Pathology Fellowship

group of people holding award certificatesThe Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office is the medicolegal death investigation entity serving Cleveland and 58 surrounding suburban municipalities.

Training in forensic pathology will be a tutorial system under the direction of Dr. Joseph A. Felo, Forensic Pathology Fellowship Program Director, and associates. This program is designed to provide one year of training in the special field of forensic pathology to individuals previously trained in anatomic and clinical pathology or in anatomic pathology alone. All training is provided in the Office of the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner.

What will I learn?

The main objective of this training program is to provide you with a broad exposure to the practice of forensic pathology, from which you may gain solid, wide, wholesome knowledge, with the necessary skills and attitudes for this discipline. You will be continually evaluated with the purpose of achieving these objectives.

What are my duties?

During this year of fellowship, you will be appointed as a Deputy Medical Examiner and will work with each of the on-duty professional staff, but will work most closely with the program director.

You will:
  • Conduct a substantial number of medicolegal autopsies on routine and unique cases
  • Be given substantial control of cases at all levels (naturals, accidents, suicides, and homicides), commensurate with your increasing ability.
  • Go to selected crime scenes in order to become acquainted with the type of information that needs to be accumulated, the preservation of evidence, and the importance of cooperation with law enforcement officials.
  • Gain experience in case analysis daily during morning viewing, and will participate in intradepartmental conferences that are held weekly.
  • Participate in teaching of rotating pathology residents, medical students, and other groups as needed.
  • Answer death related inquiries from families, treating physicians, law enforcement agencies, insurance agencies, attorneys, news media, and other interested parties to develop necessary communication skills and circumspection.
  • Participate in the preparation of cases for court and attend court proceedings where a pathologist is an expert witness.
  • Be expected to testify in court regarding the cases in which you participated, with appropriate guidance and supervision.

What techniques will be the focus of my work?

Special emphasis will be placed on autopsy technique, photographic documentation, proper evidence and toxicological specimen collection and handling, microscopic tissue analysis, and the written protocols used to document the autopsy. All of your cases will be reviewed by the Fellowship Program Director or other supervising Forensic Pathologists.

What other training will occur?

Training during the year also includes toxicology experience, both on a day-to-day level and through dedicated time spent in the ABFT and ASCLD/LAB-accredited toxicology laboratory located in the same building. Dedicated time will be spent in the ASCLD/LAB-accredited forensic laboratories, also located in the same building, to survey forensic topics including serology, DNA, hair and fiber analysis, clothing and vehicle inspection, gunshot residue analysis, etc. The opportunity to work with anthropology, odontology, entomology, and radiology expert consultants is available on relevant cases.

Will there be research opportunities?

You will be encouraged to participate in ongoing research by the staff and to conduct your own investigative work where feasible within the office. You will be expected to give occasional presentations on subjects of forensic interest to anatomic and clinical pathology residents at any of the three pathology residencies in Cleveland.

Download Forensic Pathology Fellowship Application

Contact Information:

Joseph A. Felo, D.O., Chief Deputy Medical Examiner
Forensic Pathology Fellowship Program Director
Phone: 216-698-5491