February 8, 2021
Deidre McCabe, Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-3536
Charlie Gischlar, Deputy Director, Media Relations, 443-463-7234
Maryland Department of Health announces appointment of Dr. Victor W. Weedn as Chief Medical Examiner
Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today announced the appointment of Victor W. Weedn, MD, JD to lead the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) beginning February 10, 2021. The appointment was made by the Post Mortem Examiners Commission after a national search.
'Dr. Weedn is an experienced and well-regarded forensic pathologist who is more than capable to serve as Maryland's chief medical examiner,' said Acting MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. 'I'm confident he'll excel in the role and advance one of the nation’s leading medicolegal institutions.'
Dr. Weedn is a forensic pathologist and attorney who served as an Assistant Medical Examiner with the Maryland OCME from 2009 to 2012. He most recently served as a Professor in the George Washington University Department of Forensic Sciences, including Chair of the Department from 2012 to 2018. His prior experience includes serving as a crime laboratory director and flight surgeon with the Air National Guard. He is a former President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Medical Examiners. Dr. Weedn earned his medical degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas and his law degree at the South Texas College of Law in Houston. He completed his residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at the University of Texas Medical School and a fellowship in Forensic Pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
Dr. Pamela Southall has been serving as the Acting Chief Medical Examiner since December 2019, when Dr. David R. Fowler retired.
'We extend our sincerest appreciation to Dr. Southall for her leadership and service over the last year,' said Acting MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan. 'She led the OCME through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensured that both personnel and operational needs were supported and addressed during a very challenging time.'
The OCME is responsible for determining the cause and manner of death if a person is not under the care of a physician, or if the death is unexpected or occurs under suspicious or unusual circumstances. The medical examiner must be notified to begin an investigation and make sure the death certificate is completed. Along with the responsibility of determining the cause and manner of death, the OCME serves a critical public health role by identifying lethal injury trends or infectious diseases that may pose a risk to Marylanders. The work of the OCME also assists with criminal investigations when a death is determined to have been a homicide. All deaths in Maryland must be recorded with a death certificate that lists the cause and manner of death. The criteria for OCME involvement in a death is defined by state law.
Maryland’s OCME also offers the only forensic medicine education program in the mid-Atlantic region, providing comprehensive training programs to the next generation of pathologists.
For more information about the OCME, please visit https://health.maryland.gov/ocme.
The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement.
Follow us on Twitter @MDHealthDept and at Facebook.com/MDHealthDept.