Published on: 06-12-2018

Dear TIAFT Members,

In late November, some of the world’s current leaders descended upon Buenos Aires, Argentina in order to work towards common goals to better the world. I’m not referring to the G-20 Summit, but instead I am talking about the Latin American Regional Meeting of TIAFT.

This was the fourteenth year for a Regional Meeting in Latin America and it attracted nearly 200 registrants from 20 countries. It also included TIAFT Regional Representatives from seven countries, as well as a number of noted international speakers. The event opened with two full-day workshops – one addressing New Psychoactive Substances and the other Postmortem Toxicology. These were followed by two days of lectures and keynote addresses on various topics in forensic toxicology.

I am proud that TIAFT Secretary Carmen Jurado and I were able to join our colleagues in Argentina to represent the TIAFT Board. While there, we were able to hold our first TIAFT Town Hall Meeting. These “Town Hall” sessions are a new concept the TIAFT Board developed to allow for Regional Meeting attendees to receive updates on TIAFT activities, as well as providing a platform for discussions similar to the Business Meetings at our Annual TIAFT Conferences.

Congratulations go to Luis Ferrari. This was the fourth TIAFT Meeting (three being Regional Meetings and one the larger TIAFT Annual Meeting) that Luis organized. He’s been a TIAFT Member for over 25 years and is passionate about improving forensic toxicology practices in Latin America. Despite a number of hurdles in organizing the 2018 Regional Meeting in Buenos Aires, Luis and his team once again pulled off a great educational event.

I would now like to take a moment to remind you of two important items that we need your help with. First, AFTER January 1st, 2019, all members will be required to review the TIAFT Code of Ethics and “agree” to abide by them. This is accomplished through the Members Only area of the TIAFT website and must be completed by March 31, 2019 or your TIAFT membership will be suspended.

The second reminder is related to the proposed amendments to the TIAFT Constitution. Recently, I send an email to all members asking them to review and provide feedback on the language proposed in the revised version. We also ask that you let us know if you are opposed to any of the specific new items.

Among the more significant changes proposed in the new version of the TIAFT Constitution are:

  • Addition of a statement to make it clear that membership actions will be taken without regard to age, race, color, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin
  • Requirement for membership that an applicant cannot have been convicted of a felony or a crime that involved dishonesty or false statements in the past 10 years
  • Clarification of membership categories and introduction of a RETIRED MEMBER category
  • Definition of a member being in “good standing”
  • Reducing the standard appointment of Regional Representatives from 5 years to 3 years to match Board appointments
  • A definition of a quorum for purposes of Annual Business Meetings
  • Providing definition to TIAFT’s Standing Committees

The current constitution, as well as the proposed changes are, again, available at the Members Only area of the TIAFT website. A comment sheet is also provided to ensure there is a clear link between comments and specific clauses in the Constitution. All comments need to be submitted no later than January 30, 2019. After that time, the Board will review and attempt to reconcile all comments. A final proposed revision will then be provided in the TIAFT Bulletin and on the TIAFT website no later than mid-July of 2019. At the 2019 Annual Business Meeting in Birmingham, a vote will be taken on the revised version of the Constitution.

Finally, I wish you all a wonderful holiday season as we close out 2018. I hope that 2018 was a good year for you all and that 2019 has even more professional and personal rewards in store.

Marc LeBeau, PhD
President, TIAFT