General Section News — October 2016

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:  Joanna Collins, MFS, Section Secretary

With summer but a fleeting memory and fall upon us, now is the time to make your plans to attend the 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting in New Orleans, LA.  Hotels are filling up quickly due to the NBA All-Star game, which will be held in New Orleans on February 19, 2017.  Please click the following link to make your reservation for the AAFS Annual Scientific Meeting.

The AAFS Standards Board (ASB) is a Standards Development Organization (SDO) that works closely with the various Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for forensic science to develop voluntary consensus standards, technical reports, and best practice recommendations.  The ASB has 14 Consensus Bodies comprised of members of the Academy’s various sections. Thank you to those members of the General Section who have been selected to serve on these Consensus Bodies.  Be on the lookout for emails from the ASB concerning public comment on various documents, as they will directly impact how you work within your respective disciplines in the future.

Congratulations to the membership!  There were 200 abstracts submitted this year, including 108 oral and 77 poster submissions. The General Section Program Chair, Melissa Connor, and Co-Chair, Gina Londino, are building a strong program from interesting and relevant submissions.  Given the standard scientific session schedule on Thursday and Friday of the annual meeting, with authors having 15 minutes to present their papers, there is time for 57 oral presentations, which is a 53% acceptance rate for oral papers submitted. Authors who requested longer than 15 minutes will likely not receive it and should consider their submissions for breakfast, lunch, or a half-day workshop, as appropriate, in the future.  Some submitting authors may have been asked to change their presentation type from an oral to a poster presentation, allowing for as many high-quality and interesting presentations as possible.

Additionally, the General Section is participating in a multidisciplinary session on taphonomy at the 2017 meeting.  The Pathology/Biology, Anthropology, and General Sections will each contribute five presentations to this session.  The session will focus on research concerning how bodies decay and advances on how to measure postmortem interval, including methods using microbes and bio-electrical impedance analysis.

October 1 is quickly approaching and you must have your completed membership application submitted to the AAFS staff by this date to be considered for promotion and acceptance at the 2017 annual meeting.  The Regional Representative Committee, chaired by Sandra Enslow, has assisted a number of applicants with the application process already.  Applicants who have no introduction into the General Section may receive assistance from the committee members on obtaining the General Section reference required for membership and/or promotion consideration.  Additionally, make sure your application is detailed and outlines your involvement in forensic sciences. If you have any questions or need a letter of reference, please email

Nominations for next year’s section officers are due to the General Section Nominating Committee Chair, Alan Boehm,, no later than October 15.  The positions of Section Chair, Secretary, and Director will be elected during the section business meeting, held on Wednesday of the annual meeting.  A list of officer responsibilities can be found at in the AAFS Policy and Procedure Manual.

Along with elections, a number of important issues are discussed and voted on during the General Section Business Meeting.  Our section is only as strong as its members and member involvement is critical to grow and develop our section within the Academy.  Additionally, section meeting attendance is a requirement for membership promotion.  The meeting is held immediately following the General Section Luncheon, at which Robert Morton, FBI (retired) will be the guest speaker.  You don’t want to miss his presentation nor the opportunity to catch up with colleagues.  Don’t forget to register for the section luncheon when you register for annual meeting attendance as on-site registration for this event is not available.

Should you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact Claire Shepard, Section Chair, at or Joanna Collins, Section Secretary, at

Looking forward to seeing everyone in New Orleans — Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!