Dr. Lynn O’Connor is a native New Yorker, completing her undergraduate degree at Rutgers University. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in public health from Yale and her medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine, ABC7 NY reports.
Now a colorectal surgeon, O’Connor serves as chief of colon and rectal surgery at Mercy Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital. And she has now has made history by being appointed and sworn in as the first Black woman police surgeon for the New York City Police Department’s medical division.
“As someone who was born in Manhattan, raised in Queens, and lives in Long Island, it’s truly an honor to be sworn in as the first Black female police surgeon for the New York City Police Department. I am excited to bring the collective experience of merging law and medicine together while fostering community relations to reach people of all ages and backgrounds to help make a positive impact on their health,” Dr. O’Connor said.
In her new role, O’Connor hopes to use her platform to raise awareness about colorectal cancer and overall wellness. She will oversee and determine if uniformed officers are fit for duty, respond to hospitalized NYPD members who are severely ill or injured, oversee their course of treatment, and serve as a medical consultant.
O’Connor also points to the rise in colorectal cancer among younger patients, something she hopes to address as the police force has become much younger over the years.
O’Conner has already become an advocate within the community, with many excited for her next journey as top surgeon for the NYPD.
“She has devoted herself to the community and travels around the world to make sure people are educated, she is definitely an inspiration for all of us,” said patient Onida Coward Mayers.
O’Connor’s daughter Danielle Harris also offered her support, with her being by her mother’s side during her swearing in ceremony.
“When I heard the news, I was excited but I was also like, it makes sense because you’re a rockstar. She is the perfect person for this job because her heart is in it and you can tell,” said Harris.
O’Connor said she is grateful to be appointed to this historic position, one she said she doesn’t take lightly. Still, she’s made it her mission to open the door for other Black women, vowing to not be the last.
“It’s heavy as the head that wears the crown, and I hope I’m not the last, I’m going to make sure I’m not the last.”
Photo by Colon and Rectal Surgery of New York