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Presidents Message

ABFO Presidents message has been posted here.

Dr. Bob Barsley 1952-2019 in Memoriam

We mourn the untimely loss of friend, colleague, and mentor  »

Dr. Joe Gentile 1930-2019 in Memoriam

This picture demonstrates the man we all knew and loved.  »

president’s message

President’s Message
March 2, 2020


First and foremost, I would like to recognize and thank the past three ABFO administrations for preparing me as an Executive Officer to confidently hold the ABFO Office of President. Although we would all agree there is still work to be done, this organization is healthy and on the right path to accomplish our purpose to establish, enhance, and revise as necessary, standards and guidelines for, and advance the profession of forensic odontology. I would especially like to recognize our Immediate Past-President, Dr. David Senn, who when called upon lead this organization following an Executive Committee vacancy, he agreed to do so. David’s dedication and service to this organization and profession is unsurpassed.


This year we lost two esteemed Diplomates, Drs. Joe Gentile and Bob Barsley.


Joe Gentile was a distinguished officer of the United States Navy who continued to serve his Country as a reservist for twenty-seven years. He served his community as a dentist for sixty years and was renowned for his infectious sense of humor. (I have come to learn that several of the current AAFS staff were patients of Dr. Gentile.) Forensically, Joe was a passionate advocate for victims of abuse and enthusiastically mentored others in the forensic dentistry profession.


Bob Barsley served in many forensic leadership positions including ABFO President (2011-2012) and President of the AAFS (2012-2013). Because of his active role in the AAFS and forensic dentistry, he was the recipient of both Odontology Section Awards: the Lester Luntz Award and the Reidar Sognnaes Award for Excellence in Forensic Odontology. However, his accolades go far beyond being a forensic dentist. He was also a faculty member at LSU School of Dentistry, an attorney and an active community leader. Bob was especially known for his wit and ability to give profound and sage advice.


I know I speak for our entire membership when I say: “You will both be greatly missed”.


Last month the ABFO welcomed three new Diplomates who successfully challenged the ABFO Board Examination. They are: Drs. John Nase of Harleysville, PA; L. Paige Smalley of Dublin, GA; and Dirk van der Meer of Armstrong, British Columbia. On behalf of the entire membership of the ABFO, congratulations to each one of you in achieving this well-earned Board Certification.


Last year an Ad Hoc Diplomate Development Committee was established. Its role is to identify, encourage and assist deserving and potential candidates for Board Certification. I am excited to report that under the leadership of Dr. Paula Brumit and this Committee, we currently expect more than ten individuals to apply to sit for the ABFO Examination over the next year or two.


As an FSAB accredited organization, the ABFO must maintain strict document and record storage, retention and control. In February, our Secure Storage system went live permitting our documents and records to be stored within the cloud utilizing a strict protocol for redundancy and backup in a secure environment. This system will permit not only smooth transitions as the Offices of Secretary and Treasurer are rotated in the future; but, will also permit our Certification and Examination Committee to improve the Certification and Recertification process. With this change comes the need to establish sound, concise and uniform data retention policies and procedures throughout our organization. To that end, I have created a new Ad Hoc Data Retention Committee to be chaired by Dr. Roger Metcalf and populated by members of the Ad Hoc Data Security Committee, Overall Workshop Committee, Certification and Examination Committee and our Webmaster. It is our plan to have policy and procedures for data retention approved by the Board of Directors and in place by the end of 2020.


Next year we will meet in Houston, TX and are fortunate to have Dr. Peter Marsh to handle our local arrangements. Again this year, two Workshops will be offered by the ABFO which permit attendees to register as either “Participants” or “Observers”. Inexperienced dentists wishing to attend the Workshops are encouraged to register as an Observer. The Civil Litigation Workshop is being chaired by Dr. Ann Norrlander and is scheduled prior to the AAFS Annual Meeting, on Saturday February 13th. The Dental Age Assessment Workshop is being chaired by Dr. Kathy Kasper and is scheduled for Sunday, February 14th. Advertisements containing additional information regarding these Workshops will be posted on the ABFO website.


I am committed to improving the ABFO and our forensic dentistry profession. This can and will only be accomplished by working together. It is my desire to facilitate communication and exchange ideas from within; and, from outside the organization as we navigate this year’s challenges. Let us not limit our challenges; but rather, challenge our limits. By doing so, the ABFO can and will continue to provide leadership in strengthening forensic dentistry and the forensic sciences.


I am extremely enthusiastic about working alongside this year’s EC Members, our Board of Directors, Committee Chairs and their memberships and the ABFO at large membership. I need, welcome and encourage your advice and counsel throughout the year.


It is both an honor and humbling to be entrusted with your confidence in my abilities,


James M. Lewis, DMD
American Board of Forensic Odontology

The American Board of Forensic Odontology, Inc.