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Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

Mission of the State
Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) was incorporated into the State of Tennessee Department of Health on July 1, 2012 as a full-time position for the first time in the history of the state. Operating under the Department of Health, our goal is to create statewide consistency of high quality medicolegal death investigation and forensic autopsy services. Our purpose is to serve our fellow citizens by protecting the public's health and safety, participating in the criminal justice system and providing data for vital statistics.

Services Provided by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

  • Educating and training County Medical Examiners, County Medical Investigators, and law enforcement in death investigation.
  • Consulting service to County Medical Examiners and other local and state departments in forensic pathology and medicolegal death investigation.
  • Archiving county medical examiner and autopsy reports from throughout Tennessee.
  • Supplying copies of autopsy reports and/or reports of investigation by county medical examiners to the public.  
  • Autopsy Report Request Form (PDF)
  • Ensuring payments are made to pathologists for autopsies performed through the medical examiner program.
  • “The Chief Medical Examiner shall have investigative authority for certain types of death that are in the interests of the state, including mass fatality incidents, for the identification, examination and disposition of victims' remains, and instances that represent a threat to the public health or safety, or both.” TCA 38-7-103

County Medical Examiner

"A county medical examiner shall be appointed by the county mayor, subject to confirmation by the county legislative body, based on a recommendation from a convention of physicians resident in the county.” TCA 38-7-104

Services provided by the County Medical Examiner

  • Conducting death investigations in coordination with various professionals in accordance with TCA § 38-7-108: Death under suspicious, unusual or unnatural circumstances (PDF).
  • Providing an opinion as to the cause and manner of death.
  • Interacting with local and state government officials and departments.

TCA § 38-7-113 - Any person who neglects or refuses to comply with the provisions of TCA § 38-7-108 commits a Class E Felony. 

To Contact the State Chief Medical Examiner

Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
State of Tennessee Department of Health
William L. Jenkins Forensic Center
P.O. Box 70431
Johnson City, TN 37614

Office (423) 439-8403
Fax    (423) 439-8810
*Vital Records Issues Death Certificates*

Tennessee Forensic Centers

Useful Links

For physician licensing contact the Board of Medical Examiners:

Tennessee Child Fatality Review

American Academy of Forensic Sciences:

American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigation (ABMDI):

National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME):

National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs):