President Preckwinkle Announces International Accreditation for Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office

June 27, 2019

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle this week announced the American National Standards Institute – American Society of Quality National Accreditation Board (ANAB) awarded the County Medical Examiner’s Office International Standardization Organization (ISO) accreditation for forensic testing and forensic inspection.

The Office is the first in the country to receive ISO 17025 for forensic testing and laboratory calibration and only the second to receive ISO 17020 for bodies of forensic inspection.

ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization that develops standards to ensure the quality, safety and efficiency of products, services and systems. This accreditation showcases the Medical Examiner’s Office’s high standards of impartiality and confidentiality as well as its technical competence in the fields of forensic science and forensic inspection.

“The accomplishments the County’s Medical Examiner’s Office has achieved under the pressures of its volume of cases is indicative of the dedication and passion of our employees,” President Preckwinkle said. “This announcement speaks to the institutional integrity of the Medical Examiner’s Office but most importantly, it should serve as an assurance to those whose loved ones pass through the Medical Examiner’s Office that the deceased are treated with dignity, care and respect.”

Under the direction of Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar, the Office handles more than 6,000 cases each year.

“I am grateful for the leadership of President Preckwinkle and the Board of Commissioners who have made the mission of the Medical Examiner’s Office a top priority,” said Dr. Arunkumar. “The work we do is vital but can be quite difficult and we take the responsibility of this Office very seriously. I am extremely proud of the recognition that everyone here worked tirelessly to earn.”

The Office is also the only fully accredited medical examiner’s or coroner’s office in Illinois by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) and the only office to have all three accreditations in the nation.

“We have pledged to provide the highest quality of care and compassion to our patients, as the last medical professionals who will see them,” said Dr. Arunkumar. “We are honored that ANAB and NAME have recognized and certified our efforts.”