AAFS Offers Young Forensic Scientists Scholarship


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Image: AAFS.org

An experienced forensic pathologist residing in Austin, Texas, Dr. Danielo Perez has provided services over the years to many counties in the state that don’t have medical examiners of their own. Committed to the advancement of his participation outside of his work in Austin, Dr. Danielo Perez is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists (AAFS).

The AAFS recently highlighted an opportunity for AAFS members and affiliates to travel for an international presentation at the Brazilian Academy of Forensic Sciences (BAFS) Second interFORENSICS Conference in May 2019. AAFS is offering the Young Forensic Scientists Scholarship, which will cover the cost of the trip, to student/trainee affiliates, as well as associate members and members who are 35 or younger.

Those interested can submit their 500-word or less applications in either English or Portuguese to the conference’s online portal at interforensics.com/en. A panel of AAFS/Forensic Sciences Foundation jurors will review all applications and choose three submissions to receive scholarship funding. The deadline for all applications is March 1, 2019 by 11:59 p.m. EST.


Avenues of Postmortem Toxicological Analysis


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Forensic Pathologists
Image: bls.gov

With experience as a forensic pathologist in Austin, Texas, Dr. Danielo Perez has performed autopsies across rural communities in Central Texas that do not have their own medical examiner’s offices. In this capacity, Dr. Danielo Perez performed a number of duties, including toxicological analysis of blood and urine.

When undertaking drug testing among live patients, blood and urine samples are commonly analyzed in the lab. After death, similar tests present a number of challenges, including variable concentrations depending on the area of the body in which the chemical is found. Urine specimens can also be difficult to analyze when decomposition occurs.

While urine may be useful for initial tests, a drug’s presence does not always correlate with drug effects at the time of death. This has to do with the way the body takes an extended period to eliminate drugs and their metabolites through urine. Often, the presence of toxins in a urine sample is used to determine whether liver and stomach contents should be further tested.

Postmortem toxicology testing primarily involves the liver, where a majority of toxins and drugs are metabolized. Even when no traces of substances are found in the blood, they may still be concentrated in the liver (although forensic interpretation is often challenging). Another avenue of postmortem toxicology is the clear, gel-like vitreous humor, which is found in the eye and is particularly useful for determining blood alcohol concentration.

About NAME Accreditation

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National Association of Medical Examiners
Image: thename.org

Austin, Texas resident Dr. Danielo Perez is an experienced forensic pathologist, a role in which he has conducted autopsies related to deaths that were unexplained, unnatural, or unattended. In addition to his work in Austin, Dr. Danielo Perez keeps up with emerging trends in the field and networks with his peers through membership in the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME).

In order to ensure high quality services in death investigations across the country, NAME has developed a comprehensive accreditation program. Accreditation is not for individual medical examiners, but instead evaluates an entire office’s standards and practices with an emphasis on the policies that govern its everyday activities. Accreditation is conducted on a peer-review basis in which fellow medical examiners offer evaluation, feedback, and suggestions for improvement.

In addition to standard accreditation, NAME also offers International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accreditation in the ISO/IEC 17020 category in partnership with the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board. All accreditations are valid for a four-year period.

American Academy of Forensic Sciences – Membership Levels

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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

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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.

Policy Efforts of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists

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American Society of Clinical Pathology
Image: ascp.org

An experienced forensic pathologist, Danielo Perez of Austin, Texas, has completed autopsies for unnatural and unexplained deaths for many years. Danielo Perez stays active in his field in the Austin area and beyond through memberships with professional organizations. Among these are the American Academy of Forensic Scientists and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.

Since its founding in 1922, the American Society of Clinical Pathologists has advocated for the interests of pathology and laboratory medicine professionals and currently represents more than 100,000 members. Society members benefit from efforts to advance their profession through initiatives that range from educational programs, to policy and advocacy work.

Policy work at the Society is driven by its Institute for Science, Technology and Public Policy. The Institute, which works to maximize the role of laboratory medicine in patient health, engages in a range of public policy topics that impact the pathology profession. These include patient safety and lab quality in addition to professional standards and workforce licensure.

The Institute also advocates for the future of laboratory medicine by addressing the impact of related factors such as health information technology, payment methods, and global health.

Baguazhang – An Internal Martial Art Linked to Daoism

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Danielo Perez is a respected presence in the Austin, Texas, community who has undertaken numerous forensic investigations of causes of unexplained and unattended deaths. His responsibilities in Austin extended to testifying in complex cases. Having studied Mandarin Chinese in university, Danielo Perez has a passion for internal martial arts such as Tai Chi and Baguazhang, and philosophies such as Daoism.

With Bagua said to derive from the mountain teachings of Dong Haiquan in ancient Sichuan Province, the discipline is linked with Eagle Claw Kung Fu traditions and includes foundational symbols of Pre-Heaven and Post-Heaven.

The Pre-Heaven symbol ties Heaven and Earth on a single horizon and leads to concepts such as Yin and Yang, with fire rising from the Earth to Heaven and water falling from Heaven to Earth. The cyclical Post Heaven symbol aligns primarily with the seasons and replaces Earth with Water (moon/winter) and Heaven with Fire (sun/summer).

Also known as Eight Diagrams Palm, Baguazhang stands as one of the major disciplines within Nei Jia Kung Fu and is tied to Daoist meditation practices that focus on walking in circles. Its movements emphasize circular patterns, in tandem with concepts such as disruption and “relaxed” joint locking.