The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed Dr. Odey C. Ukpo as the interim Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner of Los Angeles County. Ukpo is the first African-American to serve as Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner since the office was established in 1850.
Ukpo was sworn in during a virtual ceremony on Friday, Nov. 4. He will lead a workforce of 260 at the Los Angeles County Department of Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner (DMEC), which has an annual volume of about 12,500 cases a year.
Ukpo joined the department in 2014 and served as a Senior Deputy Medical Examiner before being named Medical Director in June 2022.
Prior to joining the office, Ukpo received his bachelor’s degree in science from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, as well as a master’s degree in science from the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in Rochester, Minnesota. He went on to earn his medical degree from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine in 2008. He then completed his residency at Washington University in St. Louis in 2013 and finished his Forensic Pathology Fellowship at the Office of the Medical Examiner in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2014.
Ukpo succeeds Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas, who led the department for five years and announced his intent to leave DMEC in September.
The Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner investigates and determines the circumstances, manner and cause of all violent, sudden or unusual deaths occurring within Los Angeles County. The department is a neutral and independent office and is separate from any law enforcement agency in Los Angeles County.
[Information via news release from the Los Angeles County Department of Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner.]