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American Academy of Forensic Sciences – Membership Levels

 American Academy of Forensic Sciences pic
American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Image: aafs.org

Based in Austin, Texas, Danielo Perez is a forensic pathologist with experience working for the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office in Chicago. Danielo Perez belongs to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Society for Clinical Pathology.

Established in 1948, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) is a professional organization dedicated to the advancement of the forensic sciences.

There are three types of memberships available within AAFS. The first is a student affiliate membership. To become a student affiliate, the applicant must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program that would lend itself to a forensic science career. This status can be maintained for two additional years after graduation, and once a student affiliate gains employment in a forensic discipline, he or she is eligible to become a trainee affiliate.

Trainee affiliate status is granted to those who meet education requirements but do not yet have the experience required for the third status, associate member. Associate members must be actively engaged in the field and have made a significant contribution to the forensic science literature or they must have advanced forensic science in another way. They also must hold a degree from an accredited and approved university.

How Forensic Pathologists Perform Autopsies

Forensic Pathologists pic
Forensic Pathologists
Image: bls.gov

A resident of Austin, Texas, Dr. Danielo Perez earned his MS in forensic science before pursuing his medical degree at the SUNY Downstate Medical College in New York. Drawing on years of experience in forensic pathology, Dr. Danielo Perez of Austin has performed numerous autopsies for deaths that were considered unnatural or unexplained.

Forensic pathologists are physicians responsible for examining the bodies of people whose deaths are sudden or violent. Their goal is to determine the cause as well as the manner of death through a process known as an autopsy.

An autopsy involves an external and internal examination of the decedent. During an external examination, the pathologist first takes note of the body’s characteristics like sex, age, weight, and eye color. The pathologist then searches for anomalies like gunpowder residue, wounds, or scars, which may serve as evidence to help investigators regarding the person’s death.

On the other hand, an internal examination involves opening the body to gain access to the chest, abdominal, and pelvic organs. The pathologist examines the organs in place, after which some organs may be removed for individual inspection, depending on the circumstances. In some cases, the autopsy may require the examination of the brain as well.

At the end of the autopsy, the body is lined with wool or other materials and closed up. In most cases, bodies that have undergone an autopsy can still be presented in open-casket funerals, due to the careful and respectful handling of the pathologist.