Pathology/Biology Section News – April 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.

The Academy’s 2016 Annual Scientific Meeting has passed, and it is time to acknowledge the people who, once again, made the meeting an amazing success. Our own section Fellow, Victor Weedn, presided over the 68th Annual Scientific Meeting as the President of the Academy and selected Transformation: Embracing Change as the theme for the meeting. For all of us involved in the planning and preparation, it provided a wonderful opportunity to work with the AAFS staff. These professionals at the AAFS headquarters are absolutely critical to the success of the meeting. They know what needs to happen, how it should happen, what works, and they graciously assist (and occasionally remind) all of us through the entire process. We truly owe them our gratitude for their effort and professionalism.

The membership came through in huge numbers with submissions of materials for posters and oral presentations. A record 310 oral/poster abstracts received for review led to the difficult process of selecting 72 oral presentations and 69 posters. This was in addition to our members chairing two breakfasts and sponsoring three workshops. Once again, Michael Graham assembled a group of outstanding speakers, combining a nice mix of the “regular” crowd and a new speaker or two for a highly successful Jay Dix Memorial Day.

Once again, special thanks are owed to the session moderators this year. They managed to keep the sessions on time and many more people offered to serve than were needed. Not unexpectedly, the announcement of the need for a substitute for one moderator who was unable to attend was met with multiple members volunteering within minutes of the announcement.

Thank you to Kathy Haden-Pinneri who completed her year of service as the Chair of the Pathology/Biology Section and to Jim Caruso for his year of service as the Secretary of our section. Dr. Caruso was elected to become the Pathology/Biology Section Chair and we welcome David Carter, our colleague from Hawaii, to the Section Program Chair position. The section voted to allow the Pathology/Biology Chair to appoint a committee to assist with the review of abstracts for future meetings. From those of us who worked without a committee, we are sure Pathology/Biology Program Chairs will welcome this much-needed improvement to the planning process.

Congratulations to Melissa Blessing for receiving honorable mention for her paper entitled ATV and Snowmobile-Related Deaths in Southeastern Minnesota. The Milton Helpern Award, awarded to individuals who have made extensive contributions to forensic science, was presented to two exceptional individuals: Thomas Noguchi and Gregory G. Davis. Once again, the Kenneth S. Field Award of Appreciation for Outstanding Service to the AAFS Staff went to a Pathology/Biology Section individual, Lisa Gavin, for her outstanding support of the AAFS in arranging the meeting in Las Vegas.

As you plan for next year, consider the theme, Our Future Reflects Our Past: The Evolution of Forensic Science, selected by AAFS President, John Gerns.