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December 4, 1996

Coroner Training Needs: A Numeric and Geographic Analysis

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.

JAMA. 1996;276(21):1775-1778. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540210081051

Objective.  —To define geographically and numerically the need for coroner training programs.

Design.  —Survey and literature review.

Setting.  —States in the United States that have coroners.

Main Outcome Measures.  —Which states have coroners; which states require coroners to be physicians or have mandated training requirements; and the number of coroners potentially requiring training on an annual basis.

Results.  —Twenty-nine states have coroners in some or all counties with coroner states being located throughout most of the United States except for New England and the MidAtlantic states. Four states (Louisiana, Kansas, North Dakota, and Ohio) require coroners to be physicians. Seven states (Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming) have mandated training requirements. At any given time, there are approximately 2759 individuals serving as coroners. Nationwide, the annual number of newly elected or appointed coroners ranges from 159 to 1546.

Conclusions.  —It is feasible to provide training to all newly elected or appointed coroners annually. The use of existing training programs, development of state-specific training programs, and the development of a standard national training curriculum may be useful strategies. Funding sources for coroner training need to be explored.