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March 20, 1996

New Program Targets Death Investigator Training

JAMA. 1996;275(11):826. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530350008003

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A NEW TRAINING program that is based on an in-depth analysis of job skills may push death investigators closer toward national certification.

The Death Investigator Training Program, spearheaded by Milwaukee County (Wisconsin) Medical Examiner Jeffrey Jentzen, MD, is an effort to boost the quality of death investigation throughout the United States.

As part of their research in determining what's needed in such a curriculum, Jentzen and his colleagues conducted a national survey. "Only 60% of medical examiners across the country felt they were satisfied with their investigators. So we felt we needed to develop a training curriculum to improve their job performance," Jentzen said at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) in Nashville, Tenn, where he described the program.

Essential Skills Identified  A recurring theme during the AAFS meetings is the lack of adequate training in death investigation. "Only in seven states is training mandated"