Many individuals have wanted more information about forensic dental identification. One of the largest forensic organizations in the United States is the American Society of Forensic Odontology. It’s website is www.asfo.org. This organization's mission statement is as follows:
The objective of this Society shall be to advance the cause of forensic dentistry and to develop and maintain the highest standards of practice. This shall be done via study, discussion, seminars, publications and liaison with other organized agencies.
Founded in 1970, the American Society of Forensic Odontology (ASFO) was established to promote interest and research in the field of forensic odontology. Prior to the formation of the ASFO, involvement in forensic odontology was limited to those dentists who were affiliated with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) or other law enforcement and scientific organizations such as the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Credited as one of the founders of the ASFO, Colonel Robert Boyers of the AFIP recognized the need to provide an inclusive opportunity for education and advancement in the field for all interested individuals. In addition to Dr. Boyers (DC,US Army), early founding members also included Edward Comulada, Lowell Levine, Lester Luntz, Curtis Mertz, Paul Stimson, George Green, George Ward and Edward Woolridge.
As membership in the ASFO began to grow in the 1970’s, the decision was made to meet annually in conjunction with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Sponsorship of the scientific session at the annual meeting provided the opportunity for newer, less experienced members to meet and interact with more experienced peers. Additionally, the joint meeting provided individuals from a variety of forensic disciplines a chance to become familiar with forensic odontology and the ASFO organization. Membership has continued to grow and now includes over 480 active members making it one of the largest worldwide organizations dedicated to this forensic discipline.
In 1980, Drs. Robert Siegel and Norman Sperber compiled the ASFO Forensic Odontology Workbook. Over the years, many Society members continued to contribute to this effort which led to the publishing of the ASFO Manual of Forensic Odontology. Currently in the fourth edition, this manual provides a general reference for forensic dentists and others studying the science. Current Society members also benefit from online continuing education, forensic course information, links and research grants.
The date for the next ASFO annual meeting is slated for Seattle, Washington, on Tuesday, February 18, 2014. For those of you wanting to learn more about forensic science, especially forensic dentistry, check out last week’s blog on Killer Nashville. Later this month, authors and scientists converge to share four day’s worth of seminars, round tables and group discussions.