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Cobb’s Medical Examiner’s Office earns accreditation for the first time

Medical Examiner in front of aerial of his office
January 11, 2023

January 10, 2022 - The Cobb County Medical Examiner’s Office has attained full accreditation from the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) after a years-long process of upgrading its facilities, staff, and procedures.

“NAME accredited offices represent the highest quality of death investigation system,” NAME Chairman Dr. Barbara Wolf wrote in a letter to Cobb County Medical Examiner Dr. Christopher Gulledge.  “The citizens can be proud of the hard work, dedication, and leadership made by you and your staff in attaining this accreditation.”

Dr. Gulledge has been Cobb’s Medical Examiner since 2015 and spearheaded the county’s effort to build a new state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2020.  He says attaining accreditation was a top goal.

“The Board of Commissioners deserves thanks for recognizing the need to move into a new facility and making it happen,” Dr. Gulledge says.  “They also helped this office face challenges in recruiting and hiring the necessary staff to reach this milestone.  This accreditation should let the residents of Cobb County know we will continue to provide this necessary service at a high level.”

Dr. Mary Ann Sens with the University of North Dakota’s School of Medicine and Health Sciences inspected the Cobb ME’s office for NAME and found no deficiencies.

“This is a superb Medical Examiners office that serves the citizens of Cobb County in an excellent manner,” Dr. Sens wrote in her report.  “All checklist items within the inspection were fully met; this is exceptional performance for a newly accredited office. The new facility is spectacular, extremely well-designed, and reflective of the high quality of the office, the work, and the exceptional quality of death investigations in Cobb County.”  

Statement of Cobb County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Cupid on the announcement:

I am incredibly grateful to Dr. Gulledge, the Medical Examiner’s team, and Cobb’s  Board of Commissioners for their steadfast commitment to getting our Medical Examiner’s office accredited. 

Dr. Gulledge had the vision and fortitude to transform our operations to serve our citizens better and to become a top-notch department. Undoubtedly, his hiring and the transformation of the ME office resulted from earlier advocacy of Cobb citizen Tom Cheeks, whose research and recounting of his experiences following the passing of a family member prompted the need for improvement in our operations. Former members of our Board of Commissioners were also integral in funding needed changes.

With accreditation, I am confident Cobb is much better able to respond to citizens and lessen any added grief following the loss of a loved one. 

This is a positive moment for our county that exemplifies how one citizen can spur positive change that will have far-reaching impacts for years to come.

CobbTV’s YouTube channel featured a tour of the new Medical Examiner’s office.  Watch that here: