July 18, 2014
The Oregon State Medical Examiner recently received special recognition by the Eye Bank Association of America for her advocacy and support of eye and corneal donation when she was presented with the association’s “Gift of Sight Award.”
Dr. Karen Gunson has worked for the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office for over 28 years and has been the Chief Medical Examiner since 1999. Dr. Gunson is a strong advocate and supporter of organ and eye donations and was intimately involved in developing Oregon’s 9-1-1 referral system to the eye bank to give families an opportunity to authorize donations whenever possible.
The “Gift of Sight Award” is presented by the Eye Bank Association of America to a professional who works closely with the eye banking community and whose efforts have demonstrated significant support of eye and corneal donation.
Corrina Patzer, Director of Business Development for Lions VisionGift, submitted the nomination leading to Dr. Gunson’s award.
“Dr. Gunson makes a difference and creates a positive impact on the field of eye donation and transplantation. Her dedication, energy and leadership provide a direct and lasting benefit to donor families, people in need of transplantation, and transplant recipients. Her steadfast support for donation translates into saved lives and enhanced living for many others,” said Patzer.
Dr. Gunson graduated from Oregon Health & Science University in 1981 and is board certified in Anatomic & Clinical Pathology and Forensic Pathology. In 2009, she was the first ever medical examiner to win the “Regional Champion Award” from the Health Resources Services Administration for outstanding contributions on behalf of organ donors, donor families and transplant patients.
About the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Division:
The purpose of the Medical Examiner Division is to provide direction and support to the state death investigation program. The Medical Examiner manages all aspects of the state medical examiner program and has responsibility for technical supervision of county offices in each of the 36 counties of Oregon. The division is staffed by four full‑time forensic pathologists, supported by four staff personnel located in the Portland Metropolitan area. Further administrative support and oversight are provided by the Department of Oregon State Police. The main activity of the division is to certify the cause and manner of a death requiring investigation within the authority of ORS Chapter 146. This activity includes post mortem examination and alcohol and drug analyses. The division also maintains appropriate records and provides lectures and training on legal medicine and death investigation to medical school physicians and students, attorneys, law students, police officers, emergency medical technicians, and other persons associated with the death investigation system.