Annual Training Conference

The Program and Training & Education committees are pleased to announce the details of this year’s fantastic conference! The 17th Annual AFQAM Training Conference will be held in Providence, RI on October 9-12, 2018. Information on conferences beyond 2018 can be found on the Training Opportunities page.

Questions about conference registration should be directed to the President-Elect and Program Committee Chair.

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Registration costs:  $250 member/$300 non-member.  Registration refunds will be applied according to the following schedule:

  • Refund requested before 9/10/18: 100% refund
  • Refund requested between 9/10/18 and 9/24/18: 75% refund
  • Refund requested between 9/25/18 and 10/7/18: 50% refund
  • Refund requested on or after 10/8/18: no refund


Accommodations and Travel

Hilton Providence
21 Atwells Ave,
Providence, RI, 02903

Use this link to book your lodging to get the group rate of $151/night.  Reservations must be made by September 7th to obtain the group rate.


Air travelers are recommended to fly into T.F. Green Airport.

Taxi Service

Taxi service to and from T.F. Green Airport into Providence is approximately $35 each way.

MTBA Commuter Trains

T.F. Green Airport is also conveniently connected to the MBTA commuter trains through the InterLink train station. Travelers can access the InterLink directly from the airport terminal through the skywalk. To get to the skywalk, proceed down the elevators to the ground level and walk to the far front left of the terminal, past the Visitor Information table, and look for signs directing to the InterLink connector. Train fares and schedules can be found on the MBTA website.

Rhode Island Public Transportation (RIPTA)
  • T.F. Green Airport Inbound Service –Route number 20: Service from T.F. Green Airport to Providence-Kennedy Plaza
  • T.F. Green Airport Outbound Service – Route number 14: Service from Providence-Kennedy Plaza to T.F. Green Airport

Kennedy Plaza is located in the heart of downtown Providence and is a short walk to all the hotels and Rhode Island Convention Center.

Walking from Providence Train Station
  1. Proceed out the Gaspee Street entrance, facing the Rhode Island State House, and walk left towards the Providence Place Mall.
  2. Turn left onto Francis Street and walk for 1/5 miles.
  3. Turn right onto Sabin Street for 1/5 miles.
  4. Turn slight right onto Atwells Avenue and the hotel will be on the right.

Pre-conference Workshops

This year’s conference will include a full day of pre-conference workshops being offered by several fantastic vendors. Additional details will be forthcoming as registration details and payment for these workshops will be managed by each vendor separately from the conference. Stay tuned!

ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and the ANAB Forensic Accreditation Requirements (AR 3125) in a Nutshell – How to Crack that Nut!

ANAB ($150 – 8am to 5pm)

Both ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and the related ANAB Forensic Accreditation Requirements (AR 3125) documents have been updated and have moved to less prescriptive requirements. Mentioned in the Foreword to ISO/IEC 17025, this move is supported by an application of risk-based thinking and a focus on performance-based requirements (a move from “how” to “what”).

This workshop will review the main sections of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and for each section discuss the overarching concept and then focus on the intent of the requirements from both documents. For those requirements that are more open-ended, examples and/or exercises will explore options for
conformance. Keeping in mind that the approach to conformance will most likely not be the same, for all forensic service providers! The relationship of Process- Risk- Continuous Improvement will be explored.

Workshop participants will leave with a path forward to accreditation based on these updated accreditation requirements and a new perspective towards this revised approach to accreditation. The glass is half-full – the upside to risk-based thinking is opportunity!

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Safety in the Laboratory

LSI ($495 – 8am to 5pm)

This workshop is an intensive one-day short course on the fundamentals of lab safety and how to create a more effective lab safety program. At this course, you’ll learn how to avoid accidents and injuries with simple, practical low-cost solutions. You’ll discover how easy it is to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation associated with negligence suits. You’ll take home the resources needed to understand the fundamentals of lab safety, and to develop or improve your lab safety program. You’ll receive the training you need to more effectively train your colleagues.

Topics covered include: The Three Cs of Safety, Effective Safety Programs, The Scope of the Problem, Accidents, Legal Aspects, Planning for Emergencies, Chemical Handling, Storage and Disposal, Biological and Animal Hazards, Eye and Face Protection, Electrical Safety, and Safety Program Planning.

Contact LSI to for more information and to inquire about earning 1-3 Graduate Credits: or 508-647-1900. AFQAM members receive a 10% discount (not combinable with other discounts). Register two people at once and save more.

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The Power of Process: Qualtrax Workflows in Action

Qualtrax (free – 3pm to 5pm)

Utilizing automated processes, also referred to as workflows, organizations can eliminate administrative bottlenecks and create efficiencies and better visibilities.

In this educational session, participants will receive a demonstration from Allegheny County Forensic & MEO, Blythe Toma. In her remarks Toma will explain how over 30 workflows within Qualtrax have given her organization back more time and promoted better continuous improvement.

Qualtrax will also present on high priority processes for forensic organizations and address the role of automation. Specifically, Corrective Action Requests, Internal Audits, Proficiency Test Monitoring, Vendor Approval and Validation, all of which are offered by Qualtrax as Best in Class workflows. These workflows are pre-built to save you and your organization time during implementation and come with automated reminder emails and notifications so that your organization can easily stay on track.

This session is designed for anyone interested in maximizing technology to drive quality in your organization.

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Tentative Conference Agenda

Tuesday, October 9th
08:00 – 09:00 Welcome and Keynote
09:30 – 10:00 TC 272 Update
10:00 – 11:00 QA Manager’s Perspective on Transitioning to a New Standard
11:00 – 12:00 OSAC Update
01:30 – 02:30 TBD
03:30 – 05:00 AFQAM Business Meeting
Wednesday, October 10th
08:00 – 09:30 Leadership and Softskills – Obtaining Buy-In
10:00 – 11:30 Leadership and Softskills – Dealing with Difficult People
01:00 – 02:30 QA Toolbox – Investigations (Reviewing Records and Conducting Interviews)
03:00 – 04:30 AB Updates (ANAB, A2LA)
04:30 – 05:00 AB Q and A Session
Thursday, October 11th
08:00 – 12:00 Breakout Sessions (ABSTRACTS)
• Think Reliability – When Root Cause Analysis Ends in Human Error
• ANAB – Risk Analysis for the Forensic Service Provider
• QA Toolbox (AM) –
Part I: Project Management Tools
Part II: Team Building
01:00 – 05:00 Breakout Sessions (ABSTRACTS)
• Think Reliability – When Root Cause Analysis Ends in Human Error (repeat of AM session)
• ANAB – Risk Analysis for the Forensic Service Provider (repeat of AM session)
• QA Toolbox (PM) –
Part I: Conducting Management Reviews
Part II: Communication
Friday, October 12th
08:00 – 09:00 Lab Safety
09:00 – 10:00 Corrective Action – Distraction Policy
10:30 – 12:00 Bring Your Own Slides

Evening Event

The planned evening event for this year is a private dinner and tour of the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Park Zoo and is tentatively planned for Wednesday, October 10th. This unique annual event features a breathtaking display of 5,000 illuminated jack-o-lanterns artistically carved and displayed in scenes to play out the annual theme. Situated on the zoo’s picturesque wetlands trail, the event has won praise from across the nation for its amazing artistry. Registration will include a harvest buffet dinner in a private venue (salad, roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, apple crisp and drinks – spring water, coffee, and soft drinks) and VIP access to the pumpkin trail after dinner. Additional registration fee for the evening event will be $45 and also includes transportation from/to the conference hotel.



Interesting in being a vendor at our conference, and gaining exposure to laboratory management across the country and around the world? Register now!

Providence, RI photo courtesy of N. Millard/