2016 Distinguished Fellow: Douglas H. Ubelaker


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UbelakerDr. Douglas Ubelaker has served the forensic science profession for more than 40 years and is regarded as one of the world’s leading anthropologists. He currently serves as curator and senior scientist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC, where he has been employed for over four decades. Since 1978, he has served as a consultant in forensic anthropology and as an expert witness, reporting on more than 960 cases and testifying in numerous legal proceedings. He is a professorial lecturer at The George Washington University, Washington DC, and is an adjunct professor with the Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich. He has published extensively in the general field of human skeletal biology with an emphasis on forensic applications. He has served on the editorial boards of numerous leading scientific publications, including the Journal of Forensic Sciences; International Journal of Legal Medicine; Human Evolution; Homo, Journal of Comparative Human Biology; Anthropologie, International Journal of the Science of Man; Forensic Science Communications; Human Evolution; and Global Bioethics.

Dr. Ubelaker has been a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences since 1974 and achieved the status of Fellow in 1987 in the (Physical) Anthropology Section. He was acknowledged by his peers in 2001 when he was conferred with the Anthropology Section’s T. Dale Stewart Award. Dr. Ubelaker has served on numerous AAFS committees throughout his tenure with the Academy, and ultimately as AAFS President in 2011-2012. He has served as a Journal of Forensic Sciences reviewer for 26 years and as JFS Book Review Editor from 2008-2015. Dr. Ubelaker has served as the chair and editor of the Wiley/Blackwell-AAFS book series, Forensic Science in Focus, since 2012.

Dr. Ubelaker continues to work tirelessly on behalf of human rights worldwide. He currently serves as Chair of the AAFS Human & Humanitarian Rights Resource Center that was inaugurated at the 2015 AAFS meeting in Orlando. The Center seeks to promote the application of contemporary forensic science and forensic medicine principles to global humanitarian and/or human rights projects requiring special assistance.

Dr. Ubelaker’s professional activities have not been limited to AAFS as evidenced by his involvement in numerous regional, national, and international forensics associations. He has received numerous honors including the Memorial Medal of Dr. Aleš Hrdlička, Humpolec, Czech Republic; the Anthropology Award of the Washington Academy of Sciences; the FBI Director’s Award for Exceptional Public Service; the Federal Highway Administration Pennsylvania Division Historic Preservation Excellence Award; a special recognition award from the FBI; the Hong Kong Forensic Foundation Award, and was elected Miembro Honorario by the Sociedad de Odontoestomatólogos Forenses Ibero Americanos in Argentina; Profesor Ad Honorem by the Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de la Repύblica, Montevideo Uruguay; Socio Honorario by the Asociacion Latinoaméricana de Antropologia Forense; Honoris Causa by the Forensic Anthropology Society of Europe certification committee and Doctor (Honoris Causa) by the University of Cordoba, Argentina. He was appointed to the FSSB in 2014.

Congratulations to Dr. Ubelaker for this honor of AAFS Distinguished Fellow!