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Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Woman Makes History as NYPD’s First Ever Black Female Colorectal Surgeon

Dr. Lynn M. O'Connor

Nationwide — Meet Lynn M. O’Connor, who was appointed as the first-ever Black female colorectal surgeon to join the New York Police Department’s medical division, marking a significant milestone in the department’s 178-year history.

“It really is an honor and a privilege to be able to affect change in the lives of a lot of young officers,” O’Connor said in an interview with Rutgers Today. “It means a lot because I always say to my students and my residents, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see.'”

In her new role, she is the one in charge of assessing officers’ fitness for duty, coordinating care, and approving medical services for line-of-duty injuries.

With a notable career as the chief of colon and rectal surgery at Mercy Hospital in Rockville Centre, New York, and St. Joseph Hospital in Beth Page, New York, along with her private practice on Long Island, O’Connor embraces the opportunity to make a difference.

O’Connor’s appointment comes amidst a rise in colorectal cancer cases among young adults, making early screenings crucial. With her new platform, she aims to promote proactive health measures within the NYPD, advocating for early detection and healthy lifestyles.

Coming from a family of high achievers, O’Connor’s passion for medicine began in her childhood in Queens, New York. She majored in Biology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and eventually earned a master’s from Yale University and a medical degree from Temple University.

Beyond her accomplishments, O’Connor recognizes the significance of representation in the medical field, highlighting the gap where only 5.7 percent of physicians are Black despite the Black population being 13.6 percent.

“Studies that show when African Americans are given the opportunity to be treated by Black physicians, outcomes are better,” she said. “There is more trust, better communication and greater adherence to the treatment plan.”