Helpern, Milton

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HELPERN, MILTON (1902–1977), U.S. forensic pathologist. Helpern was born in East Harlem, New York, and educated in New York City public schools. He received his B.Sc. from City College in 1922 and M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1926. From 1954, he served as chief medical examiner of the City of New York and professor and chairman of the Department of Forensic Medicine at the New York University School of Medicine (1954–74) and was on the Faculty of Cornell University Medical College. He was co-founder of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the National Association of Medical Examiners.

Helpern was consultant in forensic pathology to many governmental agencies and lectured extensively. He brought attention to public health issues such as malaria among drug users, carbon monoxide poisoning, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. From 1968 he was president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, editor of the International Microfilm Journal of Legal Medicine from 1965, and coauthor of Legal Medicine, Pathology and Toxicology (19542). The Milton Helpern Library of Legal Medicine, established in 1962, was one of the finest of its kind. Helpern's basic philosophy held that forensic pathology cannot cure socioeconomic ills but it may be able to help society understand and prevent their tragic effects.


M. Houts, Where Death Delights: the Story of Dr. Milton Helpern and Forensic Medicine (1967).

[Fred Rosner /

Bracha Rager (2nd ed.)]