Published on: 18-08-2017

Dear TIAFT Members:

Three years have passed quickly, and this will be my last message to you. It has truly been an honor and privilege for me to serve as the 13th president of TIAFT. I will hand over the presidency to Dr. Marc LeBeau during the joint SOFT-TIAFT meeting next month. I am sure he will be a great president for the association.

While writing this message, I am very sad and shocked because we lost our dear friend, Anya Pierce. She was thoughtful and caring and a true a role model for all of us. Her passing is a great loss for TIAFT, and we will miss her. May she rest in peace.

When I became TIAFT president, I proposed to have a mentoring program between experienced scientists and young scientists to transfer and treasure the knowledge and experience of retired forensic toxicologists. Under this program, there are six mentors, Rokus de Zeeuw, Robert Wennig, Willy Lambert, Erkki Vouri, Marilyn Huestis and Olaf Drummer. They did a great job to give lectures at the young scientist symposium during the annual meeting. I was informed that our young scientists very well received this program and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the mentors for their great effort.

Secondly, I expressed my desire to have the board meeting in Africa and Central America, where there are not many forensic toxicologists. Fortunately, in 2016 we had the first African regional meeting in Cape Town, South Africa and the 11th Latin America regional meeting in Costa Rica for the first time in a Central American or Caribbean country. The greatest news is that we are going to have the 58th annual meeting in Cape Town in 2020. It will be a great chance for us to meet new friends in South Africa and we can all be excited about that.

Thirdly I promised to encourage young scientists to become more involved in Forensic Toxicology. Thankfully the young scientist committee has been doing an excellent job to have the symposium and many wonderful activities for themselves. In addition to YSC, I was delighted to have the regional young scientist committee in Latin America thanks to the support provided by Alain. These young toxicologists will lead TIAFT in the future, and I am very proud of them.

Among many initiatives and changes for last three years, I was very happy to have an opportunity to work with UNODC. For the first time, UNODC has formally engaged TIAFT to be part of a solution to the NPS problem, and I would like to thank Justice Tettey (UNODC) who proposed the collaboration between our organizations. Dimitri Gerostamoulos will take responsibility for this project.

Now I would like to express my appreciation to many of you for helping. Firstly I would like to thank all of our annual meeting hosts during my presidency. Elisabetta Bertol hosted the 53rd meeting in the beautiful historic city of Florence with 679 participants from 63 countries in 2015 and Olaf Drummer hosted the 54th meeting in the bright and cultural city of Brisbane with 510 participants from 46 countries in 2016. Both of them were very well received by all participants and proved to be two of the best TIAFT meetings ever. This year we are going to have another delightful meeting in the US. Ruth Winecker and Dan Anderson have worked very hard to ensure the 55th meeting to be pleasant and comfortable in Florida next month.

I also would like to thank the hosts of regional meetings. In 2015, the first regional meeting of TIAFT in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Central Asia was held in Uzbekistan under the leadership of Mareta Ibragimova. In the same year, the 11th regional TIAFT meeting was successfully hosted in Arequipa, Peru by Wilfredo Cahuana. In 2016, Alicia Evans hosted the first regional meeting of TIAFT with great success in Cape Town. In the fall of 2016, two TIAFT regional meetings were held in just three weeks time. The second TIAFT meeting in Turkey was wonderfully held in Antalya by Serap Annette Akgür and Nebile Daglioglu, while Freddy Arias successfully hosted the 12th Regional TIAFT meeting in San Jose, Costa Rica. In 2017, we had a delightful TIAFT regional meeting in Romania with the Romanian Congress of Legal Medicine. Thanks to three Congress presidents, Prof. George Christian Curca, Prof. Diana Bulgaru and Prof. Alexandra Enache and Dr. Bogdan Malinescu, it was very successful and fruitful event.

I also would like to thank the chairs of our three committees, Nikolas Lemos of the Internet Committee, Olaf Drummer of the Ethics Committee, Sarah Wille of the Young Scientist Committee for their hard work and dedication. I also would like to thank the old and new editors for our Bulletin, Jochen Beyer, Sarah Wille, and Jennifer Pilgrim. I would like to thank especially to Gianpaolo Brusini, the TIAFT webmaster for promptly putting all information on the website whenever I asked him to do it.

I also would like to thank regional representatives. Their great support makes everything possible. I thank every one of you.

Above all, I would like to thank the board members who served with me for last three years. Alain Verstraete, the immediate Past-President, Robert Kronstrand, treasurer, Dan Isenschmid, secretary, Marc LeBeau, the President-elect, the three board members, Hans Maurer, Carmen Jurado, Dimitri Gemoustaous for their great help all along the way. Without their support and help, I couldn’t have served as president. I owe them everything.

Lastly, I would like to thank all members and former presidents for your effort and passion for raising TIAFT up to where it is today. For the past 55 years your hard work, strong desire, and selfless service made it possible for TIAFT to become the most precious, influential, and family like association in the world. I am very honored to be with you.

Thank you very much and I am looking forward to seeing you all very soon in Boca Raton.

Dr. Heesun Chung,
President, TIAFT