Medical Examiner’s office to receive CDC grant

Published: March 22, 2023

LANSING, MI – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Sparrow Forensic Pathology Services, which operates the local medical examiner’s office, to help spearhead a new national collaborative to improve data sharing for death investigations.

Sparrow is among only seven entities throughout the country to receive the grants, intended as the first step toward the over 2,000 “medicolegal death investigation” offices nationwide sharing more information about probes into unnatural, unexplained and unwitnessed deaths. Those offices typically determine whether an autopsy should be performed, order X-rays and toxicology tests, and conduct interviews to understand the circumstances of a death.

“We are truly humbled to have been chosen by the CDC as a grant awardee,” said Michelle Fox, Supervisor, Sparrow Forensic Pathology Services. “This grant provides an excellent opportunity to collaborate with the CDC and others to continuously improve the excellent service Sparrow Forensic Pathology and the Office of the Medical Examiner currently provide to the seven counties we serve.”

Though medical examiner offices have a critical role there is currently no federal data-sharing system overseeing their work, creating a wide variance in death investigations. The grants will allow Sparrow and other awardees to pilot a new federal system to exchange vital records, toxicology and other data about their investigations and create new standards. Other awardees were medical examiner offices in Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, and South Carolina. The selected sites will soon begin meeting and receive technical assistance in the new system.

Sparrow Forensic Pathology Services operates as the medical examiner for seven local counties: Clinton, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Livingston, and Shiawassee.

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Sparrow is Mid-Michigan’s premier health care organization that includes hospitals in Lansing, Charlotte, St. Johns, Ionia and Carson City as well as Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group, the Michigan Athletic Club, and AL!VE. Sparrow is affiliated with Michigan Medicine through the Sparrow Children’s Center and with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges. Through these partnerships and the dedication of our 10,000 Caregivers, Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and Patient experience. For more information, visit