December 13, 2021
- For 10 consecutive years, laboratory receives national recognition for excellence in service –
NEW YORK, NY – The New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) today announced that its Molecular Genetics Laboratory has been awarded accreditation from the College of American Pathologists (CAP), marking the tenth consecutive year the laboratory has received and maintained this national recognition for the excellent quality of service provided to the community.
“Our agency is dedicated to providing answers for families and communities affected by profound and sudden loss, and the Molecular Genetics Laboratory is integral to that mission,” said Dr. Jason Graham, Acting Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York. “The laboratory takes on the most challenging questions in forensic pathology and generates findings that can save the lives of survivors at risk for genetic conditions. This accreditation from the College of American Pathologists for 10 consecutive years attests to the quality, innovation and dedication of the OCME Molecular Genetics Laboratory.”
The first and only molecular genetics laboratory in the nation housed within a medical examiner’s office, the OCME Molecular Genetics Laboratory office helps medical examiners investigate sudden unexpected natural deaths at a genetic level, beyond what conventional autopsies can see. This postmortem molecular diagnostic testing, also known as molecular autopsy, identifies and interprets genetic changes that may explain the underlying cause of sudden deaths. The findings can also alert family members at high risk for inherited disease to get tested and treated through connections to clinical genetic programs outside OCME.
As part of a recent on-site inspection, the CAP accreditation program reviewed the OCME Molecular Genetics Laboratory for quality control, staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety protocols, and overall management. CAP inspectors found the laboratory operates with the highest standards of care and service for all laboratory stakeholders.
The Molecular Genetic Laboratory handles over 500 forensic pathology cases under the jurisdiction of OCME each year, focusing on conditions that may lead to sudden death in infants, children and young adults, such as cardiac channelopathy, cardiomyopathy, epilepsy, aortopathy, thrombophilia, and sickle cell disease. The lab uses next-generation sequencing and automated robotic liquid handling systems to analyze hundreds of disease-associated genes in a precise and timely fashion.
Launched within the OCME Forensic Biology Department in 2003, the Molecular Genetics Laboratory today stands as its own unit with approximately 10 medical and scientific professionals. The laboratory has been awarded CAP accreditation since 2011 and has continuously maintained the accreditation through now.
The CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program is recognized by the U.S. government for its stringent criteria. CAP accredits more than 8,000 facilities worldwide.
“CAP Laboratory Accreditation is this country’s most rigorous program used to judge a laboratory’s quality management system and its accuracy of results,” said Timothy Kupferschmid, OCME Chief of Laboratories. “This achievement portrays our molecular biologists’ excellence and dedication to the people of New York City.”
“It is deeply gratifying to see the hard work and dedication of all who have been involved in the Molecular Genetics Laboratory operation recognized with this important accreditation for the past decade,” said Dr. Yingying Tang, Director of the OCME Molecular Genetics Laboratory. “In addition to the laboratory team, employees across all OCME’s departments have supported and contributed to this ongoing success. Continuous accreditation by CAP attests to the agency’s steadfast commitment to quality laboratory practices and the integrity of the answers we provide for the public at times of great need.”
Established in 1918 as the nation’s first comprehensive medical examiner office, OCME provides the public with the highest standards of service across the forensic sciences. The agency operates the largest and most advanced DNA public crime laboratory in North America, and houses laboratories in toxicology and histology, in addition to the nation’s only public molecular genetics laboratory. OCME is home to the country’s largest forensic pathology training program, having produced more than 100 board-certified forensic pathologists since 1990. OCME also houses a department of forensic anthropology and maintains a division of specially trained experts to respond to any and all mass fatality events and disasters.
As the world’s largest organization of board-certified pathologists and a leading provider of laboratory and accreditation and proficiency testing programs, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) serves patients, pathologists, and the public by fostering and advocating excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine worldwide. For more information, visit cap.org