A New Association Academy: The Cuban Society of Legal Medicine


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The AAFS Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has accepted the Cuban Society of Legal Medicine as the third official “Association Academy.” The purpose of “Association Academies” is to initiate a relationship between AAFS and another professional organization located outside the United States.

This association is especially exciting as the original concept of AAFS was the product of a historic meeting between Dr. R.B.H. Gradwohl and Dr. Israel Castellanos of Havana, Cuba, in 1947. They planned the first meeting of the Pan-American Medical-Legal Congress which convened in St. Louis, MO, in 1948. Later that same year, the Congress would take on a new name: The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS). Together, the two greatest forensic scientists of their time conceived an Academy that would be international, multidisciplinary, and “uniquely American,” by which they meant that it would encompass the entire Western hemisphere.

To mark the 70th Anniversary of AAFS in 2018, Past President Daniel Martell helped organize an International Educational Outreach Program (IEOP) to Havana in an effort to reconnect with the Cuban forensic science community. As a result of those efforts, and under the leadership of Past President Sue Ballou,  IEOP participants traveled to Havana where they were warmly welcomed, and collegial relationships with forensic science counterparts were reestablished.

The Board of Directors has accepted the following three organizations as “Associations of AAFS”:

  • The Brazilian Academy of Forensic Sciences (February 2016)
  • The International Society for Applied Biological Sciences (February 2017)
  • The Cuban Society of Legal Medicine (August 2019)

Additional information regarding “Association Academies” may be found in the AAFS Policy and Procedure Manual (1.5.5. Protocol For The Establishment Of “Association Academies” With The AAFS) on the AAFS website.