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A NEOMED physician takes a patient's blood pressure.

In the news: Shortage of forensic pathologists

According to a recent article in the Akron Beacon Journal, there are an estimated 500 to 600 forensic pathologists currently working the U.S., and only 40 new pathologists enter the field each year.

That has presented a challenge for Summit County Medical Examiner Lisa Kohler, M.D., who told the Beacon Journal that cases have increased in the last few years, partly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including more drug-related deaths, more homicides as people have been isolated, stressed and struggling, and increased natural deaths due to people delaying medical care because of the pandemic. Her office of three struggles to keep up with demand.

A doctor speaking at a lectern.NEOMED chair of pathology Jennifer Baccon, M.D., shared some potential reasons for the shortage with the paper.

“Forensic pathology is one of the subtypes of pathology,” she noted in the interview, “so if you’re not recruiting folks into pathology, you’re also not recruiting folks into forensic pathology.”

She also noted that students don’t get significant exposure to pathology in medical school, and there’s no mandatory rotation in pathology.

Read Medical examiner says Summit County is losing ground in hunt for forensic pathologists