Joyce M. Carter, M.D., a native of Wellsville, Ohio, holds the distinction of being the first female to serve as the chief medical examiner for Washington, D.C., as well as the first female and first African American to head a medical examiner's office in the state of Texas.
From July 1996 to October 2002, Carter was the chief medical examiner for Harris County, Texas. A board certified forensic pathologist, she received her medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine in 1983.
She received her undergraduate degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and completed her postgraduate medical education at Booth Memorial Hospital in New York and at Howard University Hospital in Washington , D.C. She also is board certified in anatomical and clinical pathology. Her forensic training was conducted in Miami, Fla.
Prior to assuming the chief medical examiner position in Houston, Carter served as the chief medical examiner for the District of Columbia . Before working with the Washington , D.C. office, she served as a Major in the U.S. Air Force and as Deputy Chief Medical Examiner for the Armed Forces Medical Examiner Department, located in the Walter Reed Army Hospital complex.
Carter has held faculty appointments at George Washington University, Howard University, the University of Texas Health Science Center, the University of Texas School of Public Health and Baylor College of Medicine. She is the author of several articles in peer review medical journals and was featured in Health Quest Magazine in 2001.
Most recently, she was an honoree at Metro's Annual Black History Month Celebration 2002, and Houston Community College also named her a Contemporary Black History Maker 2002.
In 1996, Carter traveled to South Africa to evaluate the organization of death investigations in that country and while there, addressed the Supreme Court on developing an independent system. She has provided expert testimony to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on the actions of date-rape drugs and was instrumental in the passage of a law that made drugs such as GHB (gamma hydroxy butyrate) illegal.
With a strong sense of community, Carter served as the first director of the Healthy People 2000 Anti-Violence Campaign in Washington , D.C. , and has developed a teen driving program (Saving Our Kids) to deter teen fatalities in Houston.
An avowed animal lover, she participates in dog adoption programs. She served as the chairperson for the Scientific Advisory Committee to the Bread of Life (a homeless project at St. John's United Methodist Church in Houston ) and was president of the Houston Medical Forum.
In addition to her professional and community duties, Carter also is an author of two books, My Strength Comes From Within and I Speak for the Dead, her most recent release. She is a self-publisher under the name of Biblical Dogs Publishing. In her first book, My Strength Comes From Within, Carter discusses her childhood, her feelings about her occupation and the paths she took on her journey to where she is now. In making that journey, Carter said she has endured racial bias, sexism and many obstacles, but by maintaining her vision of what she was determined to do and with a firm belief in God, she has charted her course.
Carter continues to lecture and do consulting work as a physician under the name of J & M Forensic Consulting.