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News Release    

June 2, 2003

Steinhaus Announces Hiring of New York City Deputy Medical Examiner
to
Lead Dutchess County's New Medical Examiner Program
 

Dutchess County Executive, William R. Steinhaus, announced today his selection and appointment of Dr. Kari Reiber to lead Dutchess’ new enhanced Medical Examiner Program. Dr. Reiber is currently Acting Deputy Chief Medical Examiner in Queens County, New York City. In announcing the hiring of Dr. Reiber, County Executive Steinhaus stated, “ Hiring a forensic pathologist with Dr. Reiber’s credentials is a critical step in the continuing commitment of my administration for a safer community and enhancing the local public health system. "

The County Executive added, “When I sent my initiative to the Legislature last summer to improve and strengthen the Medical Examiner Program in the County, I hoped we would find a professional of Dr. Reiber’s stature and capabilities to implement an enhanced Medical Examiner Office. We are extremely fortunate Dr. Reiber has agreed to accept the leadership role in this important public safety program, and we are excited about the future of this important initiative. Dr. Reiber brings exceptional skills and impressive experience to this task, and we have complete confidence in her ability to bring our Medical Examiner Office into the 21st Century.”

New York City’s Chief Medical Examiner and Dr. Reiber’s supervisor, Dr. Charles Hirsch stated, "She is an extraordinary forensic pathologist who cares deeply about the people she serves and I am confident that she will do the same for the people of Dutchess County."

Dr. Reiber currently resides just south of Dutchess in Putnam County, but she emphasized her commitment to Dutchess County and her readiness to take on the duties of the Chief Medical Examiner. “I am honored to become Dutchess County’s Chief Medical Examiner. I am absolutely confident that I will be able to exercise my responsibilities for the entire county and all of its communities. Indeed, having spent over a decade commuting to New York City, I look forward to having a professional life so close to my home. I look forward to beginning my career with Dutchess.”

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County Executive Steinhaus initiated consideration of improvements to the Medical Examiner Program, which is a part of the Health Department, in his 2002 Executive Budget request. At that time the County Executive proposed a phased process to: evaluate the existing program; examine options and possibilities for changing the Medical Examiner system; and compare the resources and delivery system used by other counties in New York State. The Executive’s Office retained the services of CGR (Center for Government Research; nationally recognized for its work assisting government at all levels) to review the County’s existing Medical Examiner Program’s operation and develop recommendations for the future. As a result of the comprehensive study, some key improvements were included in the County Executive’s 2003 Budget including: the establishment of a Medical Examiner Office that operates on a full-time basis with its own physical facilities to administer the Program’s operations; and the creation of a full-time Forensic Pathologist, a Chief Medical Investigator and full-time Program Assistant position to increase the professional resources of the program.

Dr. Reiber received her Undergraduate degree in Biology from New York University where she graduated Magna Cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. She attended Medical School at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain where she received her Doctor in Medicine & Surgery with Honors. Dr. Reiber has completed Residency and Fellowships in both Forensic Pathology (at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology) and Anatomic Pathology (at the University of Washington Medical Center), as well as a Surgical Residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Urology. Dr. Reiber is Board Certified in Forensic Pathology and in Anatomic Pathology and is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the National Association of Medical Examiners. Her academic appointments include Associate Professorial Lecturer in Forensic Sciences at George Washington University in 1992 and 1993, and a current appointment (since 1993) at New York University as Clinical Assistant Professor of Forensic Medicine. Dr. Reiber has been employed in the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner since February of 1993 as Medical Examiner assigned to Queens County. She was appointed Acting Deputy Chief Medical Examiner for Queens County in October of 1998.

Dutchess County’s Commissioner of Health, Dr. Michael C. Caldwell explained, “These steps, especially the selection of Dr. Reiber as the Chief Medical Examiner, will increase the capacity of the ME Program to meet its current responsibilities more effectively, to utilize the most modern forensic science techniques, and to work with recently implemented local initiatives such as the Forensic Nursing Program and the SAFE (Sexual Assault Forensic Exams) Program. Our new Medical Examiner Program will be truly comprehensive in its service to the community thanks to the leadership of County Executive Steinhaus.”

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The core functions of the Medical Examiner’s Office integrate very closely with the investigative work of the District Attorney’s Office as well as law enforcement agencies. Regarding the appointment of Dr. Reiber as Dutchess County’s new Chief Medical Examiner, District Attorney William Grady stated, “The tremendous advances in medical and forensic technology made over recent years, and the impact of some high visibility cases such as the Kendall Francois case have caused the Medical Examiner’s role to become increasingly important to the prosecution of homicide and assault cases and the successful outcome for the public. The appointment of Dr. Reiber as our Chief Medical Examiner will raise our community’s resources to meet these new challenges, and County Executive Steinhaus is to be commended for launching this important effort.”

Dutchess County Sheriff Adrian “Butch” Anderson said, “Dr. Reiber is an outstanding candidate for the position of Chief Medical Examiner/Forensic Pathologist. She will be a tremendous asset to the Law Enforcement community of Dutchess County.”

Janice Weinstein, MD, Clinical Physician with the Dutchess County Health Department, who currently oversees the existing Medical Examiner operations said, “Most people associate the Medical Examiner with only death, however, a successful, modern ME program can make very positive contributions to life and the improvement of lives. Clinical forensics, the application of forensic knowledge to living victims, organ and tissue donation, disease surveillance, as well as the determination of the cause and manner of death are all critical components of the county’s enhanced Medical Examiner program. As a physician, I can’t think of any more important contribution that County government could make to our community and I am extremely pleased that Dr. Reiber has accepted this position to lead this vital program.”

Dr. Reiber’s salary is being set at $125,000, consistent with the 2003 adopted county budget. The position requires confirmation by the County Legislature. Chairman Kendall has indicated the appointment will be on the agenda for the June 9, 2003 monthly Legislative meeting. If confirmed by the Legislature, Dr. Reiber will begin serving as Dutchess County’s Chief Medical Examiner on September 1, 2003.

-end-

(Dr. Kari Reiber may be reached through the office of the Commissioner of Health (845) 486-3432)

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