AFMES earns accreditation

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Deven Schultz
  • Armed Forces Medical Examiner System
After more than a year of research and application, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System (AFMES) Forensic Pathology Investigations (FPI) division recently received its accreditation through the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME). The NAME is a premier professional organization for medical examiners, forensic pathologists, medicolegal affiliates, and administrators.

FPI provides medicolegal investigative services to Department of Defense (DoD) leadership, combatant commanders, various federal agencies, military criminal investigative organizations, and most importantly families of the fallen. The division is team comprised of medicolegal death investigators, medical examiners, mortuary affairs specialists, and support staff who assist with tasks such as mortality surveillance, histology, and death certificate processing.

“We submitted our official intent to NAME for accreditation in December of 2022,” said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Zoe Sundell, Director, FPI. “By the following June we had the NAME checklist completed and submitted for peer review.”

The assigned NAME inspector reviewed samples of past autopsy reports, histology slides, metrics, and operational tasks to ensure the division met industry standards. The accreditation standards are prepared and revised by NAME to improve the quality of medicolegal death investigations in the United States.

“Earning this first-ever accreditation for FPI is a huge accomplishment,” Sundell explains. “It reassures our leaders, beneficiaries, and the public that we are always operating in accordance with professional standards and practices established by NAME.”

This accomplishment culminated a year-long effort of accrediting each division at AFMES with their own specific leading accreditation service, further solidifying AFMES as a leader in medicolegal death investigative services, forensic toxicological analysis, and DNA identification.

“Thank you to each and every member of this team that assisted in this endeavor, we absolutely could not have reached this milestone without your continuous devotion to our mission,” said Sundell.