In my time as a process improvement specialist at the City of Denver, I have only come across a few individuals who truly possess the essence of public service, and my friend Lindsey McNaughton is on the top of that list. I don’t say this lightly. She truly is of the best that humanity has to offer. Her dedication and commitment to her field of work comes from a place of true passion, a desire to learn and grow, and a selfless mission to build up others around her.

Lindsey is a stellar Forensic Autopsy Technician in the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, Division of the Medical Examiner. I remember her time in Peak Academy Black Belt training well because she was the very first participant of her cohort to be certified. Even more impressive was that she sent me her innovations before the week-long training was over! She has boundless energy for change and practices continuous improvement with the spirit of a true innovator.

Her most recent endeavor is something that no other person in her field has done before – she created a brand new non-profit association called the National Association of Forensic Autopsy Technicians (NAFAT), whose mission is to, “unite professional autopsy support staff nationwide to open the discussion on best practices, tools of the trade, mental health, and other facets of the job while providing training and education in relevant topics to our members”.

Photographer Credit: Lindsey McNaughton

Again, nothing of this kind existed before Lindsey created it. Her hope is to create a community of professionals who share knowledge, skills and resources to push the boundaries of the field and support continuous improvement nationwide.

A couple things on the horizon for NAFAT are a potential certification program to help boost credibility and pay of autopsy technicians while providing a new path for learning, and a technician exchange program to give members networking opportunities and a path to learn skills and methods from other dedicated individuals around the USA. Check out the link above if you’re interested in learning more about NAFAT!

In addition to this fantastic achievement and working full-time, Lindsey is on her way to earning a Master of Entomology (study of insects). She makes time to do these things in addition to being a leader on her team at the City of Denver. She helped rally a crew of Autopsy Technician interns to help with the vastly increased workload that has been caused by COVID. At the time of her interview for this blog, they had reached a case volume of 5,307 decedents for 2020 (they have never passed 5,000 before) – compared to around 4,656 for all of 2019. The work that she and her team do is an oft overlooked aspect of local government that deserves more attention, especially in this time of global pandemic. The families of deceased rely on the service of Autopsy Technicians to get answers and closure for their loved ones, and Lindsey is an integral part of that experience.

The time and service that Lindsey has put into her work makes me incredibly proud, and I hope she can be a beacon of inspiration for other Black Belt alumni from Denver Peak Academy. You are a truly special public servant, and I thank you so much for your contribution to society and to the citizens of Denver.

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