Massachusetts Medical Society: Cause of Death Training for Medical Certifiers

Cause of Death Training for Medical Certifiers

Cause of Death Training for Medical Certifiers


Death certificates are a primary source of critical and timely information for medical research, public health programming, and disease surveillance. Mortality information is also important to generations of family members in determining their own risk factors for disease and for closure in a loved-one's death. 

This self-paced tutorial will lead you through listing conditions in a logical sequence leading to death, and provide guidance on completing other required items on the death certificate.  

This tutorial is appropriate for all certifiers, whether they are using the online Electronic Death Registration System (EDRS) or a manual process.

Learning Objectives

  • Define roles and responsibilities in accurately documenting the medical facts of death according to Massachusetts General Law.
  • Differentiate between specific etiologic causes and those that are non-specific and/or mechanistic in nature.
  • Demonstrate understanding of common issues and misconceptions in completing the facts of death based on prior knowledge and the best medical knowledge.
  • Determine the most effective practices in documenting the medical details of death.
  • Determine when a case must be referred to a medical examiner.

Course Faculty

Renee Robinson, MD, Medical Examiner, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Robert H. Baevsky, MD,  F.A.C.E.P., Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine, Bay State Medical Center
Christian Kiriakos, Director of Decedent Affairs, Mortuary/Surgical Laboratory Supervisor, Boston Medical Center
Ashley Yeats, MD, Vice President of Healthcare Quality & Chief Medical Officer, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital
Randall J. Morse, MD, Internist, University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital
Edward P. Butler, MD, FIDSA Chief Academic Officer, Hallmark Health Systems
Karin Barrett, M.Ed., Deputy State Registrar, Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Course Fees

  • MMS Member Physicians: Free
  • Nonmember Physicians: Free
  • Allied Health Professionals: Free

Format:  Slides

CME Credit:  1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

Accreditation Statement for Joint Providership
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and
policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint 
providership of the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The 
Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for 

AMA Credit Designation Statement 
The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity meets the criteria for the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for risk management study.

National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).

Physician Assistants may claim 1.00 Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.

A score of 70% or higher is required to receive AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™.  

Activity Term
Original Release Date: July 31, 2014
Review Date: January 31, 2016, July 31, 2017
Termination Date: July 31, 2018

System requirements:


Windows, XP, Vista, 7, 8 Mac OSX 10.6 higher
Most modern browsers including: IE8,9,10 Firefox 18.0+ Chrome 26+ Safari 5+
Flash player  is required for some Online CME courses.

 iOS devices beginning with OS version 5 or higher (includes, iPhone, ipad and iTouch devices)
Android devices including tablets and phones.
Windows RT and tablets on Windows 8 are also supported.


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