Published on: 19-09-2019

We just finished another exceptional TIAFT Conference…this time in Birmingham, UK. Many thanks go to Simon Elliott and the rest of the UK Team for putting together a brilliant meeting. The science was exceptional, and the networking opportunities were very rewarding. For those that could not join us in Birmingham, the conference attracted over 700 attendees plus nearly 100 accompanying persons and vendor representatives.

The conference opened with a fabulous plenary lecture by long-time TIAFT member Tony Moffat. Tony entertained the audience while providing suggestions as to how TIAFT could improve as an organization. After the plenary lecture, attendees had their first chance to mingle with this year’s vendors. The exhibition hall was quite large and for good reason – this year’s meeting attracted over 25 companies that helped support the annual meeting! We then made our way to the nearby Birmingham Town Hall where Professor Carl Chinn – a historian, writer, and broadcaster – entertained his audience with Birmingham’s remarkable history.

Each day of the conference was dedicated to specific topics. For example, one day focused on postmortem toxicology and clinical toxicology, while another day was dedicated to human behavioral toxicology and drug-facilitated crimes. The scientific program included over 100 oral presentations and hundreds of posters. And if that wasn’t enough, attendees were also able to attend 10 vendor seminars during the week.

A special networking excursion occurred mid-meeting when the group traveled to Stratford-upon-Avon for immersion into all things Shakespeare. This was followed by a visit to nearby Warwick Castle to tour the remarkable facility, see a live production about the War of the Roses, and to experience a feast under the protection of tents. Everyone seemed to fully enjoy the experience.

Now, let me tell you some other important things that took place in Birmingham. First of all, the revised TIAFT Constitution was approved by the membership. This new version creates a new membership category within the organization – a Retired Member. This is an important new benefit for members, as the TIAFT Board has heard from many of our colleagues that have retired from their professional careers but wish to remain in the organization. The Retired Membership categories allows for these individuals to be excused from dues payments. While they will continue to have access to the TIAFT Bulletin, Retired Members will only receive the electronic version. Further, they will not receive online access to the Journal of Analytical Toxicology. To qualify as a Retired Member, individuals must have retired from full-time practice, have been a TIAFT members in good standing for at least 25 years and be at least 65 years of age. Individuals who feel they qualify for Retired Member status must notify the Secretary the year prior to their request for membership change.

We also inducted new Honorary Members into the organization. Our past Alan Curry Awardees, who were not already in the Honorary category, were approved to move into this exclusive membership group.

Finally, a decision was made on the meeting hosts and locations of both the 2023 and 2024 Annual TIAFT Conferences. Congratulations to Auckland, New Zealand (2023) and St. Gallen, Switzerland (2024) for putting together impressive proposals that were selected during the Annual Business Meeting. And thank you to all the candidates that volunteered to host for these two years. I hope that those not selected for 2023 and 2024 will apply again in the future.

It was a whirlwind of a week, but I am already looking forward to next year’s meeting in Cape Town!

Marc LeBeau, PhD
President, TIAFT