Forensic Pathology Facility earns NAME accreditation

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.—The National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) has announced that the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences Forensic Pathology Facility has earned full accreditation. UND’s facility is the first to achieve NAME accreditation in North Dakota and South Dakota; it is the sole accredited forensic pathology provider between Minneapolis, Minn., and Spokane, Wash.

UND SMHS professionals at the facility perform full medicolegal death investigations and forensic autopsies for Grand Forks County and eight counties in northwestern Minnesota: Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau. In addition, they serve as consultants to North Dakota coroners and perform forensic autopsies for 21 counties in North Dakota. The facility aids investigations for issues in public health, occupational safety, law enforcement and other agencies. Most importantly, the office serves North Dakota families at a time of need, personal loss, and tragedy.

NAME is the national professional organization of physician medical examiners, medical death investigators, and death investigation system administrators who perform the official duties of the medicolegal investigation of deaths of public interest in the United States. NAME is recognized as the premier professional organization of forensic pathologists and death investigators.

“NAME-accredited offices represent the highest quality of death investigation system,” said Barbara Wolf, cochair of the NAME Inspection and Accreditation Committee, in a letter announcing UND’s achievement. “The citizens of North Dakota can be proud of the hard work, dedication, and leadership of you and your staff in attaining this accreditation.”

“We have a great team serving the citizens and community,” said Mary Ann Sens, MD, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pathology at the UND SMHS, and past president of NAME. “NAME Accreditation is validation on a national level of our high standards of death investigation and forensic pathology. We are proud and honored by this recognition, reflective of our commitment to the communities we serve.”

Faculty members assisting Sens at the forensic pathology facility are Associate Professor and Assistant Medical Examiner Mark Koponen, MD, Assistant Professor and Assistant Medical Examiner Sarah Meyers, MD, and Associate Professor and Assistant Medical Examiner Walter Kemp, MD, PhD.

Sens has been chair of the Department of Pathology since 2002 and was president of NAME in 2011, where she was a past member of the Board of Directors and Executive Committee as well as serving on several committees within NAME.

She is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Forensic Pathology and licensed to practice medicine in North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota, and South Carolina.

In addition to her work at UND, Sens serves as the Grand Forks County Coroner and is the medical examiner for Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Marshall, Mahnomen, Norman, Polk, Red Lake and Roseau counties in Minnesota. She participates in numerous professional organizations, has served on the Fellows Council and Board of Directors for the American Society of Clinical Pathologists as well as serving on several committees for the College of American Pathologists, Renal Pathology Society, and the Association of Pathology Chairs. She was recently appointed to the Federal Interagency Working Group in Forensic Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.