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NIJ National Center on Forensics

Award Information

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

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $2,000,000)

George Mason University (GMU), in partnership with a full-service State department of forensic science with a medical examiner function (Montana Department of Forensic Science), an accredited university of higher education with affiliate medical and law schools (University of Washington (UW) Schools of Medicine and Law), and a statewide district attorneys association (Montana County Attorneys Association). The applicant proposes to: (1) provide medico-legal learning opportunities for medical students to train as deputy medical examiners/coroners (ME/Cs) in underserved rural areas, including in Montana; (2) provide forensic science and legal training to the legal community, through the associations/entities that are supporting this application, and others; and (3) develop opportunities to benefit current and future practitioners. The American Society for Clinical Pathology is also an affiliate.

The Team will increase the number of ME/C’s, provide forensic science-related training, and develop opportunities to benefit current and future practitioners. The Team will first conduct a needs assessment of ME/Cs, prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement, including in rural areas, to identify gaps in forensic science and legal training. Next, the Team will use this data to work closely with UW to develop trainings for medical students and doctors to become ME/Cs, and with UW and their partners to develop responsive trainings for prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement. UW’s one-of-a-kind, multi-state medical education program, which serves Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI), will provide the opportunity to recruit students who are likely to be prepared to serve rural areas to forensic pathology. Letters of support from the National Association of Medical Examiners, as well as prosecutor, forensic science, law enforcement, judge, and ME/C organizations/agencies in Arizona, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, and Virginia reflect widespread support for the proposal and that diverse communities are eager to partner with us. Notably, the Montana Department of Justice’s Forensic Science Division, a full partner, is one of only three "full-service State department[s] of forensic science with a medical examiner function."

This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements - 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14). CA/NCF

Date Created: October 22, 2020