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2015 Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $197,409)

This proposal involves two agencies in Virginia, the Department of Forensic Science and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The State Administering Agency for this grant is the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. OFFICE OF THE CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER (OCME) Statement of the Problem - Currently in the United States there are a limited number of qualified forensic pathologists and a backlog of cases in most medical examiner and coroner offices. On average, it takes one year for a jurisdiction to recruit a qualified board certified forensic pathologist to work cases of violent death. In Virginia, forensic pathology vacancies have been filled by fellows previously trained in Virginia. In addition, fellows who have been trained in the Virginia program have gone to work successfully in other states and localities. There currently is no state funding for this program. Goal - OCME's goal for this project is to increase the number of qualified forensic pathologists in Virginia and the United States, by training and certifying a forensic pathology fellow. Objectives - The achievement of this goal is dependent on meeting instructional objectives set by the ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) accreditation. The Virginia OCME has met this instructional accreditation with rigorous program criteria for annual training of forensic pathology fellows. Anticipated Outcomes - Completion of 12 months of training of a forensic pathology fellow to: • Improve effectiveness and speed in medical examiner systems by increasing the pool of qualified forensic pathologists • Improve documentation and evaluation of death investigations and autopsies • Enhance recruitment efforts of medical examiner systems nationally and decrease backlogs DEPARTMENT OF FORENSIC SCIENCE (DFS) Statement of the Problem - As the demand for forensic analysis services from DFS continues to increase, the agency needs to ensure its scientists have the training necessary to accomplish their assigned case loads efficiently and in conformity with the highest standards of quality, as defined by the ASCLD/LAB-International accreditation program. Goal - Improve the quality and timeliness of forensic science services in Virginia by the DFS Chemical Analysis, Physical Evidence, and Calibration and Training program areas. Objective - Enhance DFS forensic scientists’ skills and knowledge base by providing internal and external continuing education opportunities for approximately 140 scientists in various scientific disciplines. Anticipated Outcomes - The anticipated impact of the proposed scientific training is a more knowledgeable scientific staff, translating to forensic services that are more efficient, timely and relevant. nca/ncf
Date Created: September 15, 2015