President’s Message—July 2018

Source: Susan M. Ballou, MS, 2018-19 President In Havana, Cuba, in 1947, “the father of forensic pathology,” Dr. Rutherford B.H. Gradwohl, met with Dr. Israel Castellanos, the Director of the Cuban National Identification Office. They met to plan the first meeting of the Pan-American Medical-Legal Congress, which convened in St. Louis, MO, in 1948. Later […]


President’s Message—May 2018

Source: Susan M. Ballou, MS, 2018-19 President In 1992, a 23-year-old woman disappeared from her home. A recent graduate of Harvard University who aspired to working in the corporate world, she inexplicably failed to show up at work one day. While her family members tried to find her, police searched the area around her home […]


President’s Message—March 2018

Source: Susan M. Ballou, MS, 2018-19 President Under the direction of 2017-18 President Betty Layne DesPortes, the 70th AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting proved to be both exciting and educational. Let us now look forward to our next meeting in February 2019. I welcome you to what I know will be a tremendous and engaging year […]


President’s Message — February 2018

Source:  Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, 2017-18 President For this month’s President’s Message, I would like to run the President’s Editorial article that was published in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Forensic Sciences, Vol. 63, No. 1 There are No Sides in Forensic Science When I became President of the Academy, the first […]


President’s Message — January 2018

Source:  Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, 2017-18 President The pre-registration deadline for the 70th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Seattle, WA, is January 24. Please register today; workshops and special sessions are filling up quickly. The theme for the Seattle meeting is “Science Matters,” and the focus will be […]


President’s Message — December 2017

Source:  Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, 2017-18 President The Annual Meeting is fast approaching and now is the time to finalize your flight, hotel, and meeting arrangements. Pre-registration offers significant savings so do not miss the pre-registration deadline of January 24, 2018. Workshops and special sessions fill up quickly, so register as soon as possible […]


President’s Message — November 2017

Source:  Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, 2017-18 President At our annual meeting in Seattle, we will be celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. We have come a long way since that first American Medicolegal Congress in 1948, in St. Louis where the assembly approved a motion to pursue the formation of […]


President’s Message — October 2017

Source:  Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, 2017-18 President On October 19, 2017, I had the pleasure of attending the preview reception at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum celebrating the opening of the exhibit Murder is Her Hobby:  Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death. The exhibit contains 19 meticulously […]


President’s Message — September 2017

  Source:  Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, 2017-18 President Scientific evidence is a powerful tool in the search for the truth and the pursuit of justice. As forensic scientists, we have a duty to ensure our results and opinions are valid and reliable. Standards and best practice guidelines provide the foundation for our work and […]


President’s Message – August 2017

Source: Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, 2017-18 President The week of August 21-25, 2017, I had the pleasure of attending the 21st Triennial Meeting of the International Association of Forensic Sciences (IAFS) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The opening ceremony highlighted the global span of the 1,440 delegates from 86 countries and 6 continents. IAFS President Michael Pollanen […]


President’s Message – July 2017

Source: Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, 2017-18 President As President of the Academy, I have had the honor of talking to a wide variety of audiences about forensic science and the mission of the Academy. I often describe the greatest strengths of the Academy as the extensive knowledge base of our members and their level […]


President’s Message – June 2017

Source: Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, 2017-18 President Forensic science is a field with no borders, and it is a field that provides a vast platform for collaboration among scientists throughout the world. Meetings and conferences this spring and summer have highlighted these characteristics. The AAFS has been well represented at these meetings, but I […]


Message From The AAFS President – May 2017

Source:  Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS On May 13, 2017, I had the honor of speaking at the commencement exercises for the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Forensic Sciences. This Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) -accredited program had 45 Bachelor of Science graduates and 15 Master of Science graduates for 2017. When I […]


Message From the AAFS President — April 2017

Source:  Betty Layne DesPortes, JD, MS, AAFS President Message to the Membership: On March 7, 2017, the AAFS Board of Directors requested input from the membership on two pieces of legislation proposed by the Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations (CFSO), of which AAFS is a member. The two pieces of federal legislation concerned:  (1) the […]


AAFS President’s Message March 2017

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE One month into my term as your President, I am even more thankful to Immediate Past President John Gerns for his leadership and mentorship.  Without John’s diligent planning, the New Orleans meeting would not have been a success in his absence.  Without his transparency about the issues and decisions he faced during his […]


President’s Message — October 2016

Source: John E. Gerns, MFS, 2016-17 President As summer comes to an end and fall begins knocking on our door, I have just returned from a part of the world where spring is beginning — I am speaking of New Zealand. This year, the AAFS International Educational Outreach Program (IEOP) took place in New Zealand, also […]


President’s Message – November 2015

Source: Victor W. Weedn, MD, JD, 2015-16 AAFS President Gearing up to become a Standards Development Organization (SDO) is dominating the myriad of activities of the Academy, but appropriately so. Standards-setting is a dominant activity in the forensic sciences community and the Academy has the strength and depth to step into a critical supportive role […]