Medical Examininer Announces New Externship Program

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Released: January 19, 2024

Delaware County Office of the Medical Examiner Announces New Externship Program Starting Spring 2024

The Delaware County Office of the Medical Examiner (DCOME) is set to launch an innovative externship program in the spring of 2024, designed to offer aspiring students a comprehensive educational and practical experience in forensic death investigations.

This new program is tailored to provide an immersive understanding of the operational aspects of the Delaware County Office of the Medical Examiner. Students will gain firsthand knowledge of the daily functions and responsibilities within this critical field, marking a significant professional transition into forensic science.

Externship Vs. Internship:
What's the Difference?

An externship, as opposed to an internship, is usually characterized by a shorter duration and a more observational role. In an externship, students immerse themselves in a professional setting to observe and learn, rather than engage in hands-on work. This approach is geared towards gaining a deeper understanding of a specific job or industry. The DCOME externship, while offering a unique and invaluable learning experience in forensic science, is an unpaid opportunity.

Participants in the externship program will engage in a variety of activities, including the observation of autopsies and medicolegal death investigations. They will learn about the duties of the Medical Examiner and gain insight into the daily operations of the office.

"We are thrilled to embark on this journey with the next generation of talent,” said Dr. Chu, the Delaware County Chief Medical Examiner. “Our goal is to offer an environment where students will gain the kind of invaluable experience that simply can't be found in textbooks. And it’s not just about learning; it's about immersing oneself in the practical aspects of our profession.”

The introduction of the DCOME externship program represents a significant step in enriching the educational landscape for students interested in forensic science and public health in Delaware County.

The externship spans over the Fall, Winter, and Spring semesters, each lasting five weeks. This schedule allows students to choose the semester that best fits their academic timetable:

  • Spring Semester: Mar. 11, 2024 to Apr. 12, 2024. Applications due Feb. 10
  • Fall Semester: Sep. 30, 2024 to Nov. 1, 2024. Applications due Sep. 2
  • Winter Semester: Jan. 6, 2025 to Feb. 7, 2025. Applications due Dec. 16

Program Requirements and Application Process

To be eligible, students must be 18 or older and provide evidence of full-time or part-time enrollment at a college or university. A letter of interest, a waiver showing proof of health and car insurance coverage, a recommendation letter, and an interview with DCOME’s externship coordinator and administrative staff are also required.

Over the course of the program, students are expected to complete 100 hours, submit papers reviewing cases observed, and reflect on their overall experience. Appropriate semi-professional attire is mandatory throughout the externship.

It’s crucial for students to understand that while they will be exposed to a variety of experiences, they will not be permitted to handle evidence or decedents, assist in photography or note-taking, or handle hazardous materials. Additionally, maintaining confidentiality and professional integrity is paramount, and failure to adhere to these standards may result in disciplinary action, including termination from the program.

Interested students should submit their applications via email to three weeks prior to the start of the desired semester. For further inquiries about the application process or the program itself, the office can be contacted at (610) 891-5953.

Contact Us

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         Media, PA 19063
  •   8:30AM - 4:30PM
           Monday - Friday
  •   610-891-4000

About Delaware County

Delaware County, presently consisting of over 184 square miles divided into forty-nine municipalities is the oldest settled section of Pennsylvania.

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