A Word From Your 2017 Program Chair

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the articles contained in the Academy News are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Academy.

Source: Julie A. Howe, MBA, Program Chair

The 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting was well attended with more than 4,500 attendees with more than 650 international attendees from 69 countries taking part in annual meeting activities in Las Vegas. In addition, there were 121 exhibiting companies in attendance. The warmer temperatures were appreciated by those from more northern regions as many members left the hotel at the end of the day to enjoy nearby dining and entertainment.

A brief summary of the Las Vegas meeting follows. There were 512 oral presentations, 375 posters, 6 Academy-wide Breakfast Seminars, 2 Luncheons, 24 Workshops, and 2 Special Sessions that effectively reflected the theme, Transformation: Embracing Change, set by Past President Victor Weedn. A review of the overall meeting demonstrates a common theme of the current forensic science initiatives and their progress. The Plenary Session’s international panel provided an outstanding overview of the response and impact of recent forensic initiatives in the global community. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) meetings were also well attended, indicating interest in the progress of standards being proposed by each subcommittee.

I would like to thank Dr. Weedn for his insightful establishment of the Academy Standards Board (ASB). Many of the OSACs intend to submit their standards for review through the Academy’ standards setting effort. This process attempts to address implementing standards within the forensic science disciplines to improve the quality of overall work produced within the forensic sciences.

The 2017 meeting theme identified by President John Gerns, Our Future Reflects Our Past: The Evolution of Forensic Science, provides an opportunity to cogitate on the evolution of scientific techniques and celebrate the progress forensic science has made. Plan to present if you have research that will further the cause!

As a reminder, a minimum of two active presenters must be included with the special session submissions. Having two presenters for a breakfast, luncheon, or workshop is intended to prevent a session from being canceled at the last minute if one presenter is unable to attend due to circumstances beyond their control, such as weather. The cancellation of special sessions is problematic on many fronts.

Even though the annual meeting has just concluded, it is time to once again start preparing for your 2017 abstract submission to allow time to prepare a clear and concise summary of your proposed presentation. As you are reminded time and again, the August 1 abstract submission deadline is firm. Preview the online abstract form before the deadline so that you are prepared with all the required information. Your abstract must be 400 to 700 words and will be included in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences’ Proceedings. The Proceedings is searchable on the internet by the general public. It is imperative that your abstract provides an accurate synopsis of your scientific research and findings or case study.

Program Co-Chair Christine Funk and I look forward to working with other program committee members and AAFS Staff to develop a memorable program for New Orleans. Please join us in making that happen. The quality of the annual meeting is dependent upon member participation. Start thinking of your contribution now!