Frequently Asked Questions about AFQAM
AFQAM has provided these FAQs to assist you with learning more about our organization.
Please email an AFQAM Board Member for additional information.
What does the acronym “AFQAM” stand for?
AFQAM is short for the Association of Forensic Quality Assurance Managers.
When was “AFQAM” founded?
AFQAM was started as a regional group for Crime Laboratory quality managers from Southern California. It soon expanded to the mid-west as quality managers began to network at meetings and through classes. The founding members decided to meet as a group for the first time in Kansas City, MO. At that time there were 22 “members.” It was at this meeting that the group decided to formally become an organization, complete with by-laws. These original members decided on the name AFQAM. The first official meeting for AFQAM was held in Austin, Texas in October of 2002.
How many active members does AFQAM have and from what types of laboratories?
AFQAM has approximately 220 members, representing 49 states and Puerto Rico. We also have members from New Zealand and the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan. Members represent local, county, state and federal law enforcement forensic laboratories, as well as private forensic laboratories, national/international forensic accrediting bodies, proficiency test vendors and other organizations that are concerned with advancing forensic quality assurance.
How can being a member of AFQAM assist me in my day to day activities as a quality manager?
Becoming a member of AFQAM enables you to join in an on-line, email discussion group. This on-line discussion group provides an invaluable service by providing you direct access to other quality managers who are grappling with many of the same issues as your laboratory. The members provide a resource to assist in dealing with quality related issues that your own laboratory management may not know how to address. Additionally, the group serves as an invaluable resource for obtaining information on accreditation issues and interpretation issues surrounding accreditation criteria. If you are a quality manager in the beginning stages of the accreditation process, the discussion group can be of great assistance in providing guidance on how to tackle the process.
What other benefits are there to joining AFQAM?
AFQAM is developing a resource library for its members to use. Items in the resource library include presentations on various forensic laboratory quality assurance topics, samples of Quality Manuals and Standard Operating Procedures to assist in developing or revising laboratory quality system documents. Additionally, the resource library is useful when questions arise with regards to how other forensic laboratories conduct certain types of examinations – as a member you can request such information from the resource library with a couple of keystrokes vs. calling around the country talking to people who may not know who you are.
AFQAM holds an annual meeting where members can attend presentations covering such topics as auditing, audit databases, and real life stories of what not to do as a quality manager. The presentations are geared towards assisting all quality managers in forensic science so you are truly benefiting from attending the meeting vs. attending a meeting that have very few or no presentations available to assist you in your day to day responsibilities. Attendance at these meetings may also assist you in achieving some of the continuing education requirements of your laboratory management or your parent organization. Cost to attend these meetings is quite reasonable and the meetings are generally scheduled for the fall, when most governments have the funds available for travel. Additionally, it is a great opportunity to network with other quality professionals and discuss one-on-one some of those pesky issues that occur in all laboratories but which you may not wish to put out for discussion on the discussion group. Past meetings have been held in such beautiful locations as Missoula, MT; Indian Rocks Beach, FL; Indianapolis, IN; Las Vegas, NV; and San Antonio, TX.
Finally, AFQAM now offers all members access to the American Society for Quality through an organizational membership. There is no additional cost for this access and is provided to all members at all levels. This gives all AFQAM members access into ASQ’s huge portfolio of resources relating to all aspects of quality assurance and management.
What are the membership requirements?
AFQAM membership is open to those individuals, who are actively engaged in the field of forensic Quality Assurance management; who perform system or laboratory wide quality assurance duties on a regular basis; or who have advanced the profession for forensic quality assurance management in a significant manner.
How can I join?
Simply go to the Membership page, complete the required forms and mail in the application. The application will be received by the membership committee who will review the application and forward the application along with their recommendation to the board for final approval. Members are formally received into membership during each annual meeting.