Quality Alphabet Soup

AcronymStands forCategoryAdditional InfoNotesReference
A2LAAmerican Association for Laboratory AccreditationAccrediting BodyAccreditation Pathway; Standard Development OrganizationsAn accrediting body that accredits, among other things, forensic service providers.https://www.a2la.org/
AAASAmerican Association for the Advancement of ScienceProfessional Membership OrganizationThe AAAS seeks to “advance science, engineering, and innovation throughout the world for the benefit of all people.”https://www.aaas.org/ 
AAFSAmerican Academy of Forensic ScientistsProfessional Membership OrganizationThe AAFS membership is structured by its eleven sections (disciplines).  Each section provides opportunities for professional development, personal contacts, committee participation, as well as awards and recognition.  Holds an annual scientific meeting.  https://www.aafs.org//
ABAccrediting BodyAccrediting BodyOrganizations that assess forensic service providers against a set of standards to verify conformance to those standards.
ABCAmerican Board of CriminalisticsCABDevelop and manage tests of knowledge, skills, and abilities.  Offers a certificate in comprehensive criminalistics as well as in some specialty disciplines.http://www.criminalistics.com/
ABFAAmerican Board of Forensic AnthropologyCABProvides a program of certification in forensic anthropology.http://theabfa.org/
ABFDEAmerican Board of Forensic Document ExaminersCABEstablishes and maintains standards of qualification for those who practice forensic document examination and certifies applicants who comply with ABFDE requirements.https://abfde.org/
ABFOAmerican Board of Forensic OdontologyCABThe objective of the Board is to establish, enhance, and revise as necessary, standards of qualifications for those who practice forensic odontology, and to certify as qualified specialists those voluntary applicants who comply with the requirements of the Board. http://abfo.org/
ABFTAmerican Board of Forensic ToxicologyCABStandard Development OrganizationsNow in an alliance with ANAB, who will be administering the ABFT accreditation program, ABFT establishes and revises standards of qualification for Forensic Toxicologists and maintains standards for laboratories that practice postmortem forensic toxicology or human performance toxicology.http://www.abft.org/
ABMDIAmerican Board of Medicolegal Death InvestigatorsCABCertifies individuals who have the proven knowledge and skills necessary to perform medicolegal death investigations as set forth in the National Institutes of Justice 1999 publication Death Investigation:  A Guide for the Scene Investigator.https://www.abmdi.org/
AFQAMAssociation of Forensic Quality Assurance ManagersProfessional Membership OrganizationAFQAM and TC272; What does OSAC do?The Association of Forensic Quality Assurance Managers (AFQAM) promotes standardized practices and professionalism in quality assurance management for the forensic community.https://www.afqam.org/wp15/
AFTEAssociation of Firearm and Tool Mark ExaminersProfessional Membership OrganizationThe Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE) is the international professional organization for practitioners of Firearm and/or Toolmark Identification and has been dedicated to the exchange of information, methods and best practices, and the furtherance of research since its creation in 1969.https://afte.org/
ANABANSI National Accreditation BoardAccrediting BodyAccreditation PathwayAn accrediting body that accredits, among other things, forensic service providers.https://anab.ansi.org/
ANSIAmerican National Standards InstituteAccrediting BodyStandard Development OrganizationsANSI is the primary organization for fostering the development of technology standards in the United States.  ANSI does not write standards, but rather accredits SDOs (such as ASTM) and is the US member body to ISO.  ANSI has coordinated the development of voluntary consensus standards in the US for over 100 years.  https://www.ansi.org/
ASBAAFS Academy Standards BoardSDOStandard Development OrganizationsAn SDO dedicated to developing standards for forensic science.https://www.asbstandardsboard.org/
ASCLDAmerican Society of Crime Laboratory DirectorsProfessional Membership OrganizationAFQAM and TC272The purpose of the organization is to foster professional interests, assist the development of laboratory management principles and techniques; acquire, preserve, and disseminate forensic based information; maintain and improve communication among crime laboratory directors; and to promote, encourage, and maintain the highest standards of practice in the field.  ASCLD administers the US TAG for ISO/TC 272 .https://www.ascld.org/
ASQAmerican Society for QualityProfessional Membership OrganizationProvides enhanced expertise, professional networks, tools, and solutions to help our members advance their products, services, and industries. We provide professional training, certifications, and knowledge to members globally.https://asq.org/
ASTMPreviously stood for the American Society for Testing and Materials, but is now, itself, the name of the organization.SDOStandard Development OrganizationsA leading SDO, ASTM develops standards for many industries, including forensic science, around the world.  https://www.astm.org/
BFDEBoard of Forensic Document ExaminersCABAdministers a professional certification program designed to evaluate the knowledge practical skills, and abilities of forensic document examiners.  http://www.bfde.org/
CABsConformity Assessment BodiesCABStandard Development OrganizationsOrganizations or professional boards that certify individual forensic scientists or other forensic specialists.http://thefsab.org/
CACCalifornia Association of CriminalistsProfessional Membership OrganizationA California-based organization for professionals working in the field of Criminalistics. We strive to foster an exchange of ideas and information, and to encourage friendship and cooperation among laboratory personnel.https://www.cacnews.org/
CASCOISO’s Committee on Conformity AssessmentSDODevelops policy and publishes standards related to conformity assessment, but does not perform conformity assessment activities.  https://www.iso.org/casco.html
CCICalifornia Criminalistics InstituteImprovement/ResearchCCI provides specialized forensic training to forensic laboratory and law enforcement personnel.https://oag.ca.gov/cci
CFSOConsortium of Forensic Science OrganizationsImprovement/ResearchLobbying group that includes ASCLD, AAFS, SOFT, NAME, International Association of Forensic Nurses.  Represents the interests of smaller forensic science providers.https://www.thecfso.org/

AFQAM and TC272

AFQAM is a member of the US Technical Advisory Group for ISO/TC 272.  As a US TAG member, we currently have three representatives that provide input on the development of forensic science standards under development by ISO/TC 272.  The US TAG for ISO/TC 272 is administered by ASCLD.  The final submittal of the US position is submitted to ANSI via the administrator.  ANSI is the official ISO member body  responsible for providing the US position to ISO.

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Examples of Standards by ISO/TC 272 Forensic Sciences as of April 23, 2020

StandardStandard Description
Published Standards
ISO 18385:2016Minimizing the risk of human DNA contamination in products used to collect, store and analyze biological material for forensic purposes — Requirements
ISO 21043-1: 2018Forensic sciences — Part 1: Terms and definitions
ISO 21043-2: 2018Forensic sciences — Part 2: Recognition, recording, collecting, transport and storage of items
Standards Under Development
ISO/CD 21043Parts 3-5 – Analysis, Interpretation, and Reporting

Accreditation Pathway

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Standard Development Organizations

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Improvement and Research Agencies

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OSAC – What does OSAC do?

The ultimate goal of the OSAC is to strengthen forensic practice through improved standards.

Per the OSAC FAQ page* “the primary shared benefit [of implementing OSAC registry approved standards] across all stakeholder groups is the increase in consistency and quality in the production of laboratory outputs which impacts the entire criminal justice system. With uniformly higher quality comes improved confidence in the accuracy, reliability and reproducibility of test results. With improved test results comes a reduction in potential errors. Reducing risks in forensic science test results can improve not only the likelihood of successfully identifying the true perpetrator but also the likelihood of exonerating the innocent. Among other noteworthy benefits from increasing quality include the reduction in the number of cases generating equivocal results that often require repetitive testing. Clearer testing outcomes lead to higher productivity and increased efficiency resulting in the higher rates of return on investments in laboratory operations and more consistency in report writing and expert testimony.”


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