A 51-year-old nurse from Springettsbury Township is joining a growing field of candidates running for York County Coroner after incumbent Barry Bloss announced his retirement in December.

Pam Gay, a registered nurse, said she'll be on the ballot with two deputies - Steve Cosey and Onalee Gilbert - who have already announced a run. Democrat Kay Strausbaugh also is running.

Though Gay has no experience as a coroner, she said she has worked around death as a nurse and has gained valuable experience working with the law enforcement through her on-call employment as member of a forensic nursing team called in by York Hospital for certain cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and elder abuse.

Gay said she's been a registered nurse for 31 years and has been trained in multiple areas of nursing specialties and has also worked in nursing-related education.

She has owned a small consulting business, "Susquehanna Valley Medical Legal Consulting," since 2001, through which she said she provides medical-legal services to attorneys and insurance companies, she said.

Gay said she has been contemplating a run for coroner since the late '80s, but she was raising her own children then and later didn't want to run against Bloss, a friend. Gay's husband was Bloss's campaign manager for his last election, she said.

She's running now because a coroner "really deals mostly with the living," and she would bring a nurse's compassion and sensitivity to the job when approaching family members, she said.

Education key: Gay said she thinks Bloss's staff has done a good job, but she would like to emphasize the office's education and followup on sexual assaults, child abuse, and other cases.

"As a nurse, I feel like there's more we can do," she said.

Also having experience in suicide prevention, Gay said she would like the office to have more of a presence in area schools to talk about teen depression and suicide.

Gay is a Republican committeewoman for Springettsbury's District 3, a member of the York County Rail Trail Authority, a member of Grace Baptist Church and the York County Republican Club, and a member of the American College of Forensic Examiners International and the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

"My mission as coroner is to be professional and dignified during the death investigation process while reaching out to the survivors of loss with caring and compassion," she said.

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