LOWER MANHATTAN (PIX11) — It was a historic moment for the NYPD Monday as the department swore in the first Black female surgeon of their medical division.
Dr. Lynn O’Connor celebrated the milestone at police headquarters with her family by her side.
“Being the first African American female is — it’s a tremendous honor and it’s heavy as a head that wears the crown, and I hope that I am not the last,” O’Connor said. “I’m going to make sure that I’m not the last.”
The lifelong New Yorker joins a team of 35 police surgeons who evaluate officers who are injured in the line of duty.
“I think it speaks to the department who’s actually making a conservative effort and underscores the importance of creating that diverse dynamic community that I’m going to treat,” said O’Connor.
The milestone is a triumph that her daughter Danielle Harris said is not only well-deserved but earned, after watching her mother’s journey from medical school to opening her very own private practice on Long Island.
“I think it’s been great to just see her transition throughout her career,” Harris said. “I was always with her at the process and to see her come out on this side with this amazing opportunity, as this, has been insane.”
Earning degrees at Rutgers University, Yale University, and Temple University — the colorectal surgeon has made it her mission to raise awareness about colon cancer. Onida Coward-Mayers has been her patient for the past five years.
“She has devoted herself to the community and travels around the world to make sure that people are educated and that she informs others,” said Coward-Mayers. “She is definitely an inspiration.”
O’Connor is hoping to be an inspiration to young girls who look like her.
“I always say you can’t be what you don’t see,” O’Connor said. “So even after 178 years, they’re finally seeing it and they’re able to see and envision themselves as well.”
O’Connor said she’s looking forward to creating awareness programs to look at the overall health and wellness of the men and women who serve and protect New York City.