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Home Women Business News Dr. Lynn O’Conner Black Female NYPD Surgeon │DiversityComm

Dr. Lynn O’Conner Black Female NYPD Surgeon │DiversityComm

By Sydney Severn   

The New York Police Department (NYPD) joined the right side of history on September 25th when hiring Dr. Lynn O’Connor as their first Black woman surgeon, making her the seventh woman out of 35 surgeons in the department. Dr. O’Connor said to Good Morning America, “Perseverance pays off.”

After being sworn in, Dr. O’Connor said, “You can’t be what you don’t see, so even after 178 years we’re finally seeing it…it’s a tremendous honor.”

Even her daughter, Danielle Harris, spoke to reporters, saying, “It’s a representation that we definitely need, especially with there being so many disparities within the health industry and also just within care as well.”

A police surgeon works to examine prisoners detained in police stations, victims and even police officers concerning illness, injury, drug problems, intoxication and mental health. In the NYPD, surgeons respond when an officer has been injured in the line of duty, nurse them through illnesses and disabilities, and then clear them to return to the field.

Dr. O’Connor’s expertise within the department covers both colon and rectal cancer, being the third most common cause of cancer death and the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in the U.S., so her position in the department will represent this region of human anatomy.

She stated in a Good Morning America interview, “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, keeping them healthy and keeping them fit for service.”

Dr. O’Connor grew up in Manhattan and pursued medicine at Temple University for her degree, then got her Master’s in Public Health at Yale, after which her residency and fellowship took her to Maryland. She returned to New York to open her private practice and pursue her intentions of helping women who look like her. “Studies have shown when a patient is treated by a physician that is of the same race or ethnicity, they have markedly improved outcomes. 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,” she said to Good Morning America.

Dr. O’Connor is maintaining her Long Island private practice, being chief of colon and rectal surgery at both Mercy Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital, additionally beginning with the NYPD, where she will determine officers’ fitness for duty, treat injured members and provide them with consultations.

Dr. O’Connor plans to use her position to raise awareness about colon and rectal cancer, proper nutrition and exercise, explaining, “[Police] give so much of themselves that they take very little time to take care of themselves. So, it’s rewarding to give back. And being able to marry the position of the police surgeon as well as the colorectal surgeon, that’s going to give me the perfect unique opportunity and position to create colorectal health awareness programs and to do colon cancer screening programs.”

She additionally expressed her disbelief that she’d earned this honor, describing her personal devotion to the position, “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.

“Being the first African-American female is, it’s a tremendous honor and, you know, heavy is the head that wears the crown. I hope that I’m not the last. I’m going to make sure that I’m not the last.” Read more about Dr. Lynn O’Connor here.

Suffice it to say that Dr. O’Connor will contribute the necessary changes to be made in the U.S. health care system and special forces, as she continues to demand inclusivity and advocates for change. Discover more articles focusing on the Black Community here.


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