National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME)

2019 National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) Position Paper on Opioid-Related Deaths – Panel Members

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has engaged CDC’s federally funded research and development center (FFRDC) – known as the CMS Alliance to Modernize Healthcare — to support the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) to revise current recommendations for investigating, diagnosing and certifying opioid-related deaths. Research Triangle Institute (RTI International), an alliance partner of the FFRDC, is leading the project to revise recommendations described in the 2013 position paper from the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME)[1]. The revised recommendations are intended to more fully cover the new face of the opioid crisis including emerging synthetic drugs and interpretation of deaths involving multiple drugs.

RTI has worked with NAME to establish a working group of ME/C experts charged with improving the information on deaths by refining existing recommendations, including evidence-based recommendations for the practice of death investigation and autopsy, toxicological analysis, interpretation of toxicology findings, and death certification. The following subject matter experts have been approved by the NAME Executive Committee to participate in the working group.

Gregory G. Davis, MD, MSPH (Lead Author)
Associate Coroner/Medical Examiner
Jefferson County Coroner/Medical Examiner Office
Professor of Pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Margaret Warner, Ph.D. (Ex-Officio)
Health Scientist
National Center for Health Statistics
Centers for Disease Control
Emma R. Hall
Boulder County Coroner’s Office


Eric Tonsfeldt
Deputy Medical Examiner
Clackamas County Medical Examiner’s Office
Department of Disaster Management
Craig Thomas Mallak, MD
Chief Medical Examiner
District 17, Broward County, FL
Agnieszka Rogalska, MD
Deputy Chief Medical Examiner
Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office


Kent E. Harshbarger, MD, JD, MBA
Montgomery County Coroner’s Office
Thomas P. Gilson, MD, FCAP
Medical Examiner and Executive Director
Regional Forensic Science Laboratory
Cuyahoga County Office of Medical Examiner
Jerri L. McLemore, MD
Associate Professor of Pathology
Medical Director, Autopsy Service
Department of Pathology
Wake Forest University School of Medicine


Owen L. Middleton, MD
Assistant Chief Medical Examiner
Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office
Corinne L. Fligner, MD
Emeritus Professor,
Department of Pathology
University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, Washington
Robert A. Middleberg, Ph.D., F-ABFT, DABCC
Sr. Vice President of Quality Assurance and Operations
National Medical Services, Inc.


Robert Kronstrand, Ph.D. (Pending Approval)
Research Strategist
National Board of Forensic Medicine
Department of Forensic Genetics and Forensic Toxicology
Jeff P. Walterscheid, Ph.D., F-ABFT
Chief Toxicologist
Armed Forces Medical Examiner System
Amy B. Cadwallader, PhD
Director, Science and Drug Policy
American Medical Association


Ruth E. Winecker, Ph.D., F-ABFT
RTI International
Center for Forensic Sciences
Lewis S. Nelson, MD
Professor of Emergency Medicine
Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine
Chief of Service, Emergency Department, University Hospital
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School


[1] Davis, G. National Association of Medical Examiners Position Paper: Recommendations for the Investigation, Diagnosis, and Certification of Deaths Related to Opioid Drugs. Available at:

Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited. Public Release Case Number 19-0135
©2019 The MITRE Corporation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED