Chief Medical Examiner
Luis Arturo Sanchez, M.D.
Executive Director & Chief Medical Examiner
Luis Arturo Sanchez, M.D., was appointed Chief Medical Examiner of Harris County effective January 1, 2003. On March 9, 2013, Harris County Commissioners Court approved his title being changed to Executive Director & Chief Medical Examiner to reflect his expanded role of directing the operation of both the Medical Examiner and Crime Laboratory services for Harris County.
Encourages scientific and academic growth at the Institute
As Executive Director of the Institute of Forensic Sciences, Dr. Sanchez oversees the day-to-day operations of the department including interagency relationships, finance and administration, investigations, autopsy services, the anthropology division, emergency management, quality management and the crime laboratory disciplines.
Dr. Sanchez continues to encourage scientific and academic growth at the Institute of Forensic Sciences and has facilitated various improvements that have made the Institute one of the nation’s leading forensic agencies. With the support of Commissioners Court, Dr. Sanchez is currently supervising the planning and design of a new, state of the art facility for the Institute of Forensic Sciences, which will consist of 9 stories and an estimated 207,532 square feet. This new forensic center will allow IFS to continue to expand capabilities for advanced forensic services and educational opportunities to meet the needs of Harris County and regional affiliates.
Achievements at the Institute
During Dr. Sanchez's tenure, the Institute has made unprecedented strides in its effort to keep pace with changing technologies and increasing service demands. Originally named the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, in March 2010, the name was officially changed to the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences to reflect the vast range of services provided by the fully accredited and advanced forensic center.
The accomplishments achieved under the direction of Dr. Sanchez include the following:
Dr. Sanchez received his Doctor of Medicine degree from The University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1988. From 1989 through 1992, Dr. Sanchez specialized in anatomic pathology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. He then went on to complete a one-year fellowship in forensic pathology at the Dade County Medical Examiner's Office in Miami, Florida. Dr. Sanchez is certified by the American Board of Pathology in both Anatomic and Forensic Pathology.
Dr. Sanchez is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the National Association of Medical Examiners, Southern Medical Association, Texas Medical Association and the Harris County Medical Society.
In 1988 after graduation from medical school, he established the position of the HIV program coordinator for the Department of Pediatrics/Pediatric Immunology of The University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Coordinating with the Worcester Department of Public Health, he was responsible for the implementation of a comprehensive AIDS risk-prevention program targeted at the Hispanic community.
Joined the Institute staff in June 2001 as Sr. Deputy Chief Medical Examiner
Dr. Sanchez served as a deputy medical examiner for the District of Columbia for six and a half years, and served as the Acting Chief Medical Examiner for the District of Columbia in 1998. During his tenure, Dr. Sanchez was a frequent lecturer at the Department of Criminal Investigation Homicide School of the Metropolitan Police Department. Additionally, he was the liaison to the United States Attorney's Office from 1994 until 1998.
Dr. Sanchez joined the staff in June 2001 as the Senior Deputy Chief Medical Examiner with more than 10 years of hands-on experience and expertise in forensic pathology. In October 2002, he became the Interim Chief Medical Examiner of Harris County, and was appointed Chief Medical Examiner by unanimous vote of Harris County Commissioners Court effective January 1, 2003.
Since 1995, Dr. Sanchez has been an active consultant in forensic medicine for the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP) under the aegis of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. As an ICITAP instructor, Dr. Sanchez has taught all aspects of forensic medicine including the on-scene role of the medical examiner to police officers, doctors and lawyers in programs he designed and implemented in emerging democracies throughout the world. During Dr. Sanchez's participation, these programs have become integral to the ongoing development of viable medicolegal systems throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean, Central Asia (Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan) and East Africa.
Dr. Sanchez has been an active educator of medical residents and fellows throughout his career and currently oversees the many educational opportunities for residents, fellows and interns at the Institute of Forensic Sciences. In addition, he is a dedicated educator in the Houston medical community.
Dr. Sanchez holds the following academic appointments:
- Endowed Professorship in Forensic Pathology and Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
- Senior Affiliate Member at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute (Houston)
- Clinical Associate Professor with the Department of Pathology at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston)
- Distinguished Lecturer of Forensic Science at South Texas College of Law (Houston)
- Staff Pathologist at Ben Taub General Hospital and the Harris County Hospital District (Houston)