NYPD Taps First Black Woman as its Police Surgeon

by Xara Aziz
Office of Dr. Lynn O’Connor, MD

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has just sworn in its first Black female police surgeon, multiple reports have confirmed.

Dr. Lynn O’Connor, who currently serves as the chief of colon and rectal surgery at Mercy Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital, said she is thrilled and honored to be appointed to the new role.

“This is incredibly [meaningful] to me,” she told ABC News in an interview. “If you would have told me at 10 years of age that I’d be sitting here speaking with you, and soon to be sworn in as the first Black female police surgeon for the NYPD, I wouldn’t believe it.”

In O’Connor’s new role, she will evaluate officers’ fitness for duty, treat injured members and provide consultations.

As a medical professional who cares for police officers, O’Connor said that her job is a rewarding one – in that she takes care of those who take care of others; so much so, that they sometimes do not have time to care for themselves.

“With my background in this position, I am uniquely positioned to develop colorectal cancer awareness programs, screening programs and various other initiatives that are going to be key in keeping our officers safe, and keeping them healthy and keeping them fit for service,” she said.

NYPD Chief of Personnel John Benoit said that the NYPD is “very excited about this historical appointment of the first Black female police surgeon in the department’s 178-year history.”

He continued: “Dr. O’Connor is an inspiration to all employees, and her expertise will prove to be valuable to our members – especially those who have been impacted by colorectal cancer.”

O’Connor emphasized that there are very few Black physicians in the country and hopes that her appointment will help pave the way for generations to come.

“Studies have shown when a patient is treated with a physician that is of the same race or ethnicity, they have markedly improved outcomes,” O’Connor said. “They’re diagnosed quicker, they’re seen quicker, their overall health is improved. And that leads to saving lives, that leads to longevity, which is what I want to do when we get into the NYPD.”

To all the young girls watching her, she has this to say:

“You can be what you can’t see. Perseverance pays off.”

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