Published on: 21-03-2022

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I am indebted to the membership for this opportunity to serve as TIAFT President.  TIAFT is a special organisation – run by volunteers who strive to improve the foundations of toxicology for all. Under Marc LeBeau’s leadership the Board made great strides in modernising our association.  I truly hope members can see all the positive changes made over the last 4 years.  The past Board persevered through a hurricane and a world-wide pandemic, and some very difficult times in between.  Who would have thought that the last in-person TIAFT meeting would be in Birmingham 2019 – thankfully all that will change later this year in Versailles.  Hard to make sense of what has happened in the world over the last few years.  

I am under no illusion in relation to the amount of work that is required for this and other executive roles on the Board.  We will continue to meet regularly as a Board and focus on things that are important to our membership.  As an association TIAFT aims to promote our discipline in the interests of justice, families, coroners, medical examiners, law enforcement and the community at large.  We provide factual scientific information to better understand how drugs can help us to live healthier, live longer, or explain how these substances can cause harm, toxicity or death.  I promise to do as much as I can to expand TIAFT’s positive influence across the world and across our membership.  Financially we are strong, and our membership is solid; but we can always improve.  Some of our strategic initiatives over the next few years include (but are not limited to): 

•    Review of economic threshold for DCF status;
•    Expanding and strengthening TIAFT opportunities in Asia and Africa; 
•    I also want to better define the role of the TIAFT regional representatives for improved member outcomes;
•    Establish more regular online education sessions for TIAFT members;
•    Establish true worldwide representation of TIAFT – e.g. continental representation and working more with the UNODC and other like organisations.

We will have more to say on these things after we have met in-person with our new Board – I am very excited about that. I also excited about working with our committees – they all do a great job and do stuff for TIAFT usually in their own time!

For the very first time on-line elections were held at our recent virtual meeting (a great success), resulting in new members to the Board.  We were spoilt for choice as we had many candidates who applied to give their time to TIAFT.  I thank each of you for making that commitment.  Ultimately the membership decided, and we have an excellent team for the next three years.  However, I would like to acknowledge the outgoing Board for their commitment and hard work.  Firstly, to Heesun Chung - her stewardship and cultural insights as Past President over the last few years were invaluable.  Heesun provided much wisdom to Marc and to all of the Board and we can’t thank her enough for her loyal commitment to TIAFT. It is pleasing to know that we have such strong women in our association.  No less so than Carmen Jurado for serving and continuing to serve as Secretary.  Carmen has done an amazing job over the last 4 years and we look forward to her continued contribution in this role.   To the other outgoing Board members Robert Kronstrand and Donata Favretto, I would like to thank them both for their support and enthusiasm. Simon Elliott was elected as President-Elect and Christophe Stove as Treasurer – so we will continue to work together over the next few years. To our new Board members Sarah Wille, Jean-Claude Alvarez and Nikolas Lemos - welcome and get ready to roll your sleeves up - there is much to be done! 

Finally, to my very good friend Marc LeBeau - I can’t thank him enough – it is both an honour and a challenge to follow in his footsteps.  Marc has been an excellent President for TIAFT, always displaying values of fairness, respect, and making TIAFT a better, more accountable and more modern organisation.  If you are in any doubt of the Board’s achievements under Marc, I encourage you all to read his last message - it’s quite a list! His insights going forward will be invaluable to the new board.

Many of us have endured very difficult times with the pandemic, losing loved ones and turning our normal lives upside down.  But it will pass and we will be together again – Jean-Claude and Amine are getting ready to host us in Versailles – J’ai hâte de vous voir! (I can’t wait to see you!).  Please look out for the TIAFT travel awards to this meeting – and note the closing dates on the website.  

Stay safe and healthy and see you in Versailles in September!

Dimitri Gerostamoulos
TIAFT President