Professional Certification for Medicolegal Death Investigators - ABMDI
Julie A. Howe D-ABMDI
ABSTRACT: The American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI) was created and developed in 1998 by veteran, practicing medicolegal death investigators who were involved in the development of the National Institutes of Justice December 1997 publication National Guidelines for Death Investigation that was later renamed Death Investigation: A Guide for the Scene Investigator. The creation of the ABMDI allowed for the establishment of uniform criteria, ethical conduct and standardized practices for individuals investigating deaths that fall under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner/coroner. There are two levels of ABMDI certification: Registry Certification and Board Certification. A survey was deployed to ABMDI certificants in 2005 and 2011 to determine how the profession has changed with respect to job title, systems employing certificants, educational level and the overall benefits and requirements of ABMDI certification. Results of the survey will be discussed. The NAS report released in 2009 recommends professional certification for all forensic personnel, including medicolegal death investigators. Achievement of this recommendation requires legislative action, implementation strategy, and adequate time and budget. The Subcommittee on Forensic Science (SoFS) has established an Interagency Working Group (IWG) that is examining these recommendations. A Scientific Working Group on Medicolegal Death Investigation (SWGMDI) was developed in March 2011 to recommend best practices and standards, including a committee on Accreditation, Certification, Education and Training. The ABMDI is participating in the efforts to promote standardized medicolegal death investigation.