On Sept. 25, the New York Police Department (NYPD) swore in Dr. Lynn O’Connor as its first Black female police surgeon. Her role will consist of treating injured NYPD members, providing consultations, and assessing their fitness level regarding their roles.
“This is incredibly [meaningful] to me,” O’Connor said in an interview with Good Morning America. “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.”
The new Black female police surgeon addressed the need for Black physicians in the country. “Studies have shown when a patient is treated with a physician that is of the same race or ethnicity, they have markedly improved outcomes,” she said.
“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.”
According to ABC News, O’Connor is also the chief of colon and rectal surgery at Mercy Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital. NYPD Chief of Personnel John Benoit shared his enthusiasm about welcoming the new police surgeon to the NYPD.
“We’re very excited about this historical appointment of the first Black female police surgeon in the department’s 178-year history,” Benoit said. “Dr. O’Connor is an inspiration to all employees, and her expertise will prove to be valuable to our members—especially those who have been impacted by colorectal cancer,” he continued.
O’Connor acknowledged that officers are constantly tending to others and caring for them that they seldom have the time to focus on their own care.
“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, and keeping them healthy and keeping them fit for service,” the board-certified colorectal surgeon said.
The cancer specialist also encourages young girls who observe her in her roles. “You can be what you can’t see,” she said. “Perseverance pays off.”
She wants young girls to know they are important and their dreams and goals matter.