AAFS Board of Directors Announce 2020–2021 Distinguished Fellow Recipient

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Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, MD

The AAFS Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Pathology/Biology Section Fellow Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, MD, has been named as the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Fellow Award.  The award will be presented to Dr. Sathyavagiswaran at the 2022 Annual Business Meeting in Seattle, WA.

Dr. Sathyavagiswaran was elected into membership in the Pathology/Biology Section in 1984 and achieved the status of Fellow in 1994. He is a medical graduate of Madras University, India, with a conferred MD (Doctor of Medicine) from State University of New York.

Dr. Sathyavagiswaran served Los Angeles County as Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner/Director from 1992-2013, Interim Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner (CME-C) from April 2016 to January 2017, following which he was Consultant and Director of Operations to the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner (DME-C) through December 31, 2018. As of January 1, 2019, he serves as a Consultant to DME-C. During his tenures, Dr. Sathyavagiswaran met the needs of the community and criminal justice system by working with Organ Procurement Organizations (OPO) toward a zero denial policy in accordance with the law and accepted medical practice.

He and the Department of Coroner staff participated in reality TV show “North Mission Road” with reruns still airing on the “Justice Network.” Over the course of his career, he handled the high-profile cases of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Carrie Fisher, and recently amended the cause and manner of death of Natalie Wood. He testified in the O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector trials. He and his staff have responded to several disasters, including the 1986 Cerritos air crash, 1991 LAX US Air crash, the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, the 2005 Glendale Metro-link, and the 2008 Chatsworth Metro-link multiple fatality train accidents. He has also testified in Indonesia in the “OKI” trial.

Dr. Sathyavagiswaran has numerous publications in various journals, several book chapters, abstracts, and conference presentations to his credit. He has been an invited guest speaker in international meetings in India, France, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Brazil. He was co-editor of a textbook, Forensic Neuropathology, published in 2007. He is the lead editor of the textbook Multidisciplinary Medico-Legal Death Investigation—Role of Consultants published in 2018.

Dr. Sathyavagiswaran has been Clinical Professor of Pathology and Medicine at University of Southern California (USC) Keck School of Medicine and Honorary Voluntary Clinical Professor at the University of California, Los Angles (UCLA) Geffen School of Medicine. He is an American Board Certified Physician in several specialties, including Anatomic, Clinical & Forensic Pathology, Internal Medicine, Geriatric Medicine, and Infectious Diseases. He is also certified in pathology by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. As a peace officer, he holds a specialized law enforcement executive certificate from the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, State of California.

Dr. Sathyavagiswaran served as President of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) in 2010 and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2011. As CME-C, the Department hosted the 39th Annual NAME meeting in Los Angeles (2005) wherein he was program chair.

Congratulations to Dr. Sathyavagiswaran for this honor of AAFS Distinguished Fellow!