Polk County Medical Examiner

Staff Bios

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Gregory A. Schmunk, MD Polk County Chief Medical Examiner

Gregory was born in Ohio and grew up in San Diego, CA. He attended college at the University of CA, San Diego where he graduated Magna cum Laude with a major in Biology with concentration areas in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. He graduated medical school in 1983 from the University of Southern California and spent a brief time as a pediatrics resident at Children's Hospital, Los Angeles. He was then offered a post-doctoral fellowship at UCSD working in molecular genetics, immunology, and gene cloning, where he spent several years. He then completed two years of residency in Anatomic Pathology at the University of Washington, Seattle and then entered the fellowship program in Forensic Pathology at the King County Medical Examiner's Office in Seattle, WA where he spent one year as an Assistant Medical Examiner. Since his fellowship, he has served as a forensic pathologist with Northern California Forensic Pathology, a private medical corporation which provides forensic pathology services to Sacramento County, CA from 1989-1994. He was then Chief Medical Examiner for Brown and Door Counties in Green Bay, Wisconsin from 1994-1999, Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner for Santa Clara County (San Jose, CA) from 1999-2004, Chief Forensic Pathologist for the Stanislaus Co. (Modesto, CA) Coroner in 2004 and has been Chief Medical Examiner for Polk Co. (Des Moines, IA) since August, 2004.

His fields of interest include wound pattern interpretation, child abuse, and firearm injuries. He is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Forensic Pathology. He sits on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Dr. Schmunk became an ABMDI Registry Level Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator in February of 2000. He was the President of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) in 2013 and Chair of the Board of Directors in 2014. He is certified as an Accreditation Inspector for NAME and has done multiple inspections of Medicolegal Death Investigation facilities throughout the U.S.

He has testified over 435 times in the Superior and Municipal Courts of Wisconsin, California, Washington and Iowa and has also testified before the CA State Senate Subcommittee on the Judiciary on matters of child homicide. He has performed over 5,200 forensic autopsies including over 470 homicides, and additionally has performed over 120 hospital autopsies. He has been a technical advisor to CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS) and Bones (FOX) in addition to several other series.

Amanda

Chief Medicolegal Death Investigator

Amanda began working for the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office in November of 2005 and was promoted to Chief MDI in 2010. She graduated from Grandview College in 2001 with a Bachelor’s in the Science of Nursing. She worked at Iowa Methodist Medical Center on the Oncology Unit and for Visiting Nurse Services prior to starting at the Medical Examiner’s Office. She became an ABMDI Board Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator in September of 2011.

Jackie

Medicolegal Death Investigator

Jackie began working for the Polk County Medical Examiner’s office in November of 2008. She graduated from Mercy College in 1997 with a Diploma in Nursing. She became an ABMDI Registry Level Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator in August of 2010. She worked at Mercy in Des Moines and Mary Greeley in Ames in Obstetrics prior to starting at the Medical Examiner’s Office. She resigned her position as a full time MDI in April 2015.

Megan

Medicolegal Death Investigator

Megan moved to Des Moines in 2007 and began working for the Polk County Medical Examiner’s office in September of 2010. She graduated from Mount Mercy College in 2007 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor’s of Science in Criminal Justice. She also works at Iowa Methodist Medical Center on the Adult Oncology Unit. She became an ABMDI Registry Level Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator in March of 2011 and became Board Certified in July of 2014.

Amy

Medicolegal Death Investigator

Amy graduated from Iowa Wesleyan College in 1981 with her Bachelor of Science of Nursing degree. Her nursing career started in Oskaloosa, Iowa and moved to Weatherford, Oklahoma for approximately 6 years. After living here, she wanted to experience other parts of the country. Her next stop was Westwood, New Jersey and family had her return to Iowa one year later. Settling in the Des Moines area she started working at Mercy Medical Center. Amy assisted with the development of the Sexual Assault Response Team in Polk County and continues to be a volunteer responder for the mid Iowa SART team. In 2007 she obtained a Forensic Nursing Certificate from Kaplan University. In 2010 she received her Masters in Criminal Justice from the University of Phoenix. Amy joined our team at the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office in June 2010 as a part time/on call MDI. She became a full time MDI in April of 2011. She became an ABMDI Board Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator in March of 2015. Amy enjoys spending any free time that she can spare with her husband, three sons and especially her aging parents. Gardening is her favorite hobby.

Alex

Medicolegal Death Investigator

Alex joined this Office in April 2011 as a part time Investigator, and later became a full time Investigator in August 2011. Alex is a graduate from DMACC with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing in 1997 and a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Liberty University in 2013. He became an ABMDI Registry Level Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator in March of 2012. Alex worked at Mercy Medical Center in the OR, CCU, and ER from 1999 until joining this Office and also worked as an RN Exception Paramedic for Fraser Ambulance, Altoona Fire Department and is a United States Air Force Veteran (Desert Shield, Desert Storm).  Alex enjoys travel, flying, and spending time with family and friends.

Lisa

Medicolegal Death Investigator

Lisa grew up in Southeast Iowa. She received her LPN licensure from South Eastern Community College. Following graduation she moved to Lubbock, Texas. While in Lubbock she graduated from Methodist Hospital Medical Center with a diploma in Nursing. Lisa has lived in the Des Moines area since 1989. Since arriving in Des Moines she has been employed at Iowa Methodist Medical Center in the Emergency Department. She is a member of the Iowa Emergency Nurses Association and is nationally certified as an emergency room nurse. Lisa began her career with the Polk County Medical Examiner’s office in 2000 as a part time employee. In 2008 she took a leave to enjoy time with her husband and family and returned July of 2010 as a part time/on-call Investigator. Lisa became a Registry Level Investigator with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators in December of 2007. Lisa enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.

Julie

Medicolegal Death Investigator

Julie has been employed with the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office since August of 2007 and became a part time MDI in April of 2011. She became an ABMDI Registry Level Certified Death Investigator in October 2008. Julie works for MercyOne as a flight nurse. She also works as an Emergency Department staff nurse at Iowa Methodist Medical Center and Blank Children’s Hospital. She . Prior to becoming a nurse, Julie worked in Ames as a Paramedic Specialist with Mary Greeley Medical Center.

Michelle

Medicolegal Death Investigator

Michelle began with the Polk County Medical Examiner as a full time MDI in January of 2007. She resigned briefly in April of 2010 but then returned as a part time MDI in October of 2012. She graduated from Mercy College in 1997 with a Diploma in Nursing. Michelle became an ABMDI Registry Level Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator in May of 2008. Michelle has worked at the Polk County Health Department, Visiting Nurse Services, Intrust Pediatric Homecare and Mercy Hospital in Pediatrics and Neonatal Intensive Care. Michelle has joined the Polk County Medical Examiner’s team as a part time/on call Investigator.

John

Medicolegal Death Investigator

John Carter began working for the Polk County Medical Examiner’s Office in October of 2012 as a part time MDI. He became full time in April of 2015. He graduated from Excelsior University in 1998 with an Associate of Science in Nursing degree, and is also a Paramedic Specialist. He also holds Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Master of Public Administration degrees from Drake University. He worked as an RN in the Emergency Department at Iowa Methodist Medical Center, after which he assumed the role of Hospital Preparedness Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Public Health. He currently does preparedness consulting through his own company. John is a Reserve Officer for the Des Moines Police Department, and is a Planning Section Chief for the IA-1 Federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team. He became an ABMDI Registry Level Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator in August of 2014.

Chris

Medical Transcriptionist

Chris Dixon has been with the Polk County Medical Examiner’s office since August 2004. Chris’ educational background is a certificate in Medical Transcription through Hamilton College in Des Moines, Iowa. Chris is married with two busy young boys. Chris enjoys spending time with her family, reading and attending Broadway musical productions.

Dawn

Medical Secretary

Dawn started with the Polk County Medical Examiner’s office in May 2010. She has worked as a Medical Secretary since 1988 through Iowa Health System and Broadlawns Medical Center. Dawn has a 25 year old son and 19 year old daughter and enjoys spending as much time as possible with them as well as attending their numerous activities. When Dawn does find free time for herself she enjoys outdoor activities, attending music concerts and theatrical or musical productions.

Barry

Forensic Laboratory Assistant

Barry has served as the forensic lab assistant for the Polk County medical Examiner’s office since July of 1991. A native of Des Moines, he graduated from Lincoln High School, and attended Mankato State University (MN), where he majored in biology. Outside of work, Barry enjoys playing golf, attending Broadway shows, Drake women’s basketball games, and listening to all types of music, particularly a cappella.

Contact Us

To report a death call (515) 286-3333
1801 Hickman Rd
Des Moines, Iowa 50314
(515) 286-2102 (Days)
(515) 286-3333 (Other times)
Fax: (515) 286-2208