The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) Awarded a Cooperative Agreement from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 5, 2021 /AAFS/ — The AAFS is pleased to announce a cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as part of its efforts to promote the use of high-quality, technically sound standards.

The cooperative agreement provides funds to AAFS to develop training, tools, and resources to enhance implementation efforts and broaden awareness of forensic science standards among communities of interest. Training will address technical aspects of the standards as well as challenges, practical solutions, and benefits of adoption. Resources, including auditing checklists for compliance monitoring and gap analysis, will also be developed, as well as Factsheets, understandable to the lay person. Through the cooperative agreement, the Academy plans significant outreach efforts and engagement with other professional organizations, multiple Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs), certifying bodies, accrediting bodies, forensic service providers, and others. As the largest national professional organization representing the forensic sciences in the United States, the American Academy is well positioned to address this need.

"Our members have spoken," said Carl McClary, President of AAFS. "According to a 2020 survey of members, more than 80% of survey respondents were in support of consensus-based standards." These resources, which will be available at no cost to Academy members and the public, will help advance the implementation of standards and guidelines listed on the Organization of Scientific Area Committees (OSAC) for Forensic Science's Registry. Solution sets include awareness building across the forensic user communities, training mechanisms (both online and in-person), informative online and hard copy materials, media resources, post-training access to information, and forensic discipline-specific toolkits for implementing standards and guidelines on the OSAC Registry.

Forensic science is essential to the administration of justice. The services provided must be based on sound scientific principles, be conducted within robust quality-assurance programs by qualified personnel, and be presented in a clear and unbiased manner. The development of consensus-based standards meets that critical need. Placement of standards on the OSAC Registry acknowledges the technical merit of those standards and encourages stakeholders in the forensic science and criminal justice communities to adopt their use and integrate them into everyday practice.

"NIST's OSAC team looks forward to collaborating with AAFS to increase awareness of the OSAC Registry and provide resources that support the implementation of these high-quality forensic science standards," said John Paul Jones, OSAC Program Manager.

OSAC is administered by NIST with the goal of strengthening the nation's use of forensic science by facilitating and promoting the development and use of technically sound standards for forensic science. These standards define minimum requirements, best practices, standard protocols, and other guidance to help ensure that the results of forensic analysis are reliable and reproducible.

About AAFS
The American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) is a multidisciplinary professional organization that provides leadership to advance science and its application to the legal system. Since 1948, we have served a distinguished and diverse membership. Our 6,600+ members represent all 50 United States and 71 other countries. Membership is comprised of pathologists, attorneys, dentists, toxicologists, anthropologists, document examiners, digital evidence experts, psychiatrists, engineers, physicists, chemists, criminalists, educators, researchers, and others. Our objectives are to promote professionalism, integrity, competency, education, foster research, improve practice, and encourage collaboration in the forensic sciences.

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences established the Academy Standards Board (ASB) in 2016 with a vision of safeguarding Justice, Integrity, and Fairness through Consensus Based American National Standards. To that end, the ASB develops consensus-based forensic standards within a framework accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and provides training to support those standards. ASB values integrity, scientific rigor, openness, due process, collaboration, excellence, diversity, and inclusion. The ASB is dedicated to developing, and making freely accessible, the highest-quality documentary forensic science consensus Standards, Guidelines, Best Practice Recommendations, and Technical Reports in a wide range of forensic science disciplines as a service to forensic practitioners and the legal system.

 Media Contact
Donna Grogan

SOURCE: The American Academy of Forensic Science

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