Showing posts with label AFIP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AFIP. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

AFIP's Debra McElroy has passed away

Debra McElroy longtime AFIP employee


Debra Ann (Bottazzi) McElroy, 53, of Ellicott City, died Oct. 8 at Gilchrist Hospice Care Center, Towson, Md.  Debra affectionately known as “Debbie” by Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) coworkers died of cancer. 


McElroy began her career with the federal government as a histopathology technician at The AFIP, Washington, D.C., on Oct. 13, 1981.


McElroy, who grew up in Washington, D.C., and a longtime AFIP employee managed 12 laboratories and supervised 59 employees during her nearly 29 years of service here.

Survivors include her husband of 25 years, Dennis McElroy, of Ellicott City; daughter of Joseph and Barbara A. (Heflin) Bottazzi, of York, Pa.; sister of Maria Ellis, of York, Pa., and the late Joseph Daniel Bottazzi. Debra was an avid lover of  dogs.


Friends can call Friday Oct. from 6-8 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 16, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Slack Funeral Home, P.A., 3871 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City, Md., 21043. Services and interment are private. In lieu of flowers, memorial’s may be directed to the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and 800 Wyman Park Drive, Suite 110, Baltimore, Md., 21211. Go to for online condolences and directions.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Museum transfers from AFIP

Today the Museum officially transfers from the AFIP to the Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command although we're detailed back to AFIP for the moment. The Army Institute of Pathology spun out of the Museum on June 7 1946, and the Museum was placed under it. On February 15, 1950, the triservice Armed Forces Institute of Pathology was created. AFIP was closed by BRAC in 2005 and will finally close in 2011.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Photographic coverage of military war dead at Dover

Here's a good article from the Washington Post about changes in media coverage of the arrival of military dead to Dover Air Force Base -

With ban over, who should cover the fallen at Dover?
Few in media choosing to capture events, but military posts pictures

By Christian Davenport
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 24, 2009

- after the fallen soldiers arrive, they're examined by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner which is part of AFIP (until BRAC finishes)

Monday, August 17, 2009


This announcement was sent out to AFIP staff last week; I've posted it here in light of today's Washington Post story - "Pathology Institute Defends Its Turf: We're Still Open, New Firm Is Told," By Steve Vogel, Washington Post Staff Writer, Monday, August 17, 2009.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:31 AM

AFIP's Pathology Consultative Services Remain Fully Functional
The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, AFIP, is open for business and
absolutely will continue to receive and process pathology consultation
cases in our AFIP laboratories. The AFIP proudly continues to serve our
beneficiaries and customers as we have done ever since our founding in
Unfortunately, it has come to the attention of the AFIP that some
contributors are confused and under the false impression that the AFIP
will no longer be accepting cases for consultation after August 2009 or
that the AFIP has already transitioned into another organization.
This is not the case - the AFIP has not closed. We want to assure you
that the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and its AFIP labs are still
operational and located at 6825 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC, on the
campus of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The AFIP will continue to support and enhance the health and well being
of the Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, other
Governmental Agencies, and the civilian medical community. The AFIP
continues to serve by providing medical, veterinary, and dental
expertise in pathology in diagnostic consultation, education, and
Looking toward the future years, the Department of Defense is in the
process of establishing an organization called the Joint Pathology
Center (JPC) which will succeed the AFIP when the AFIP is disestablished
in accordance with the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process in
September 2011. The JPC, in accordance with Section 722 of Public Law
110-181, will function as the reference center in pathology for the
Federal Government and will, at a minimum, provide pathology services to
the military healthcare system, Department of Veterans Affairs, and
other federal agencies.
The AFIP and other leaders in military healthcare are committed to
ensuring that DoD continues to have a one-stop shop for pathology
consultation and that the transition from the AFIP to the JPC in terms
of services will be transparent and seamless to our beneficiaries and
There should be no decrement in pathology consultative services as the
AFIP transitions to the JPC by 2011. We will keep you updated on this
process over the next several years.
So, please rest assured that the AFIP is open and definitely continues
to accept military, Veterans Affairs, and civilian cases in all
pathology departments and that the AFIP is committed to maintaining its
tradition of pathology consultative services, education and research.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Roughly 1600 new records added to our EMU catalogue today

Jasmine converted the list of folders in the AFIP Historical Files to a spreadsheet and we imported them today. If you search on the title, you’ll get the folder title. A sample would be - Institutional Records of Afip or Museum - folder - Davis, Harry A. (1875-1951); Entomologist with AFIP  [AFIP Historical Files]  - Active - AFIP Box 55.


Hopefully we’ll get the catalogue open to the general public in 2010.

In the meantime, the existing finding aid is still online.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

AFIP's Armed Forces Medical Examiner featured on Fresh Air

Slain Soldiers Offer Clues To Protect The Living

Fresh Air from WHYY, June 24, 2009 · In previous wars, fallen soldiers rarely received post-mortem examinations, but that changed in 2001, when the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology began conducting autopsies on all slain service men and women. In 2004, the examinations were expanded to include CT scans.

CT Scans help show the pathway of wounds caused by bullets or shrapnel so that a less invasive autopsy can be conducted. While this improves the work of doctors, the data has a grim upside.

Captain Craig T. Mallak, a pathologist and lawyer who is also the chief of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System, describes how the physical and sometimes virtual autopsies of soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan have not only assisted in the design of body armor, helmets and vehicle shields, but medical equipment as well.

One specific example is the recent improvement of chest tubes used buy combat medics. By examining 100 Ct Scans and measuring wounds, doctors found that because soldiers were in better shape than civilians, they needed longer tubes and needles to penetrate the chest wall and reach the collapsed lung.

Combat medics now carry the improved equipment on the battlefield.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

AFIP's Armed Forces Medical Examiner featured in NY Times

Here's a really good article about some of our colleagues (at least for 2 more years until BRAC goes through) - "Autopsies of War Dead Reveal Ways to Save Others," By DENISE GRADY, New York Times May 26, 2009. I hadn't heard about the collapsed lung problem and solution, but isn't that great how Dr. Harcke spotted that?

And this bit is lovely - "“He was one of the most compassionate people throughout this whole process that I dealt with from the Department of Defense,” Mrs. Sweet said of Captain Mallak." I don't really know Craig Mallak all that well as OAFME's off in Rockville, MD but it's nice to read something that positive about someone.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I think I missed the ice cream

Received this email today, and I think I should have read it a little more closely:

We will be acknowledging the National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week (NMLPW) here at the Armed Force Institute of Pathology. NMLPW will be April 19-25, 2009.

What is NMLPW? NMLPW is an annual celebration of the medical laboratory professionals and pathologists who play a vital role in every aspect of health care. NMLPW is a chance for medical laboratory personnel to celebrate their professionalism and be recognized for their efforts. Often, they use this time to inform and educate medical colleagues and the public about the medical laboratory. Since laboratorians often work behind the scenes, few people know much about the critical testing they perform every day.

The theme will be "Laboratory Professionals Get Results." Due to OPTEMPO we will take the special time to formally thank everyone for their contribution with getting results at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Our special thank you will commence on Monday at 1100-1300HRS with an ice-cream and cake social held in the foyers of our Main and Rockville facilities.

See? I think the ice cream was today, and I missed it.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Researchers from Japan lead to news story

Here's a story on a 1954 fisherman whose death the AFIP consulted on: "US sought tissue from dead fisherman after 1954 H-bomb test," Chiba (Japan), Feb 23. Researchers from Japan were in last month, looking at various collections relating to radiation injury and then we got a call from a reporter a few days later.

James Hansen, the person who sent in the case and later donated his records of it, became the director of the AFIP in the 1970s and his daughter is planning on donating his personal papers to us this year. I didn't read the documents (which are in the AFIP Historical Files under "Hansen" for those interested), so I can't vouch for the accuracy of the news story. DeCoursey was on the ground after the atomic bombing of Japan, and took some motion picture footage, so it would make sense that he retained his interest in radiation injuries.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

AFIP Recognized by U.S. and Canadian Academy of Pathology

This showed up at work yesterday. USCAP grew out of the International Association of Medical Museums that the Army Medical Museum helped to found. AFIP is slated to be closed by 2011 due to BRAC, and replaced with a Joint Pathology Center, which is still undefined.

The United States-Canadian Division of The International Academy of Pathology

Executive Vice President
January 6, 2009

Dr. Florabel Garcia Mullick
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
FROM: Fred Silva, M .D .
Executive Vice-President and Secretary-Treasurer

USCAP Scientific Abstracts from your Institution

According to our records, this year your institution was in the top twenty in number of first authored scientific abstracts accepted for presentation at the USCAP 2009 Annual Meeting in Boston. There was an all time record of almost 2,800 scientific abstracts submitted from over 430 different medical school programs and academic institutions (over 230 in the US and Canada and 200 from around the rest of the world) . This represented the highest ever percentage increase (16%) over the previous record year . All abstracts are subject to blinded peer review, and the cutoff score was quite high . Well over 3,000 pathologists are expected to attend the 2009 meeting where the accepted scientific abstracts will be presented . These scientific offerings are also published in the January issues of both of our Academy's journals, two of the "top five general pathology journals" by impact factor in the world - Modern Pathology and Laboratory Investigation -which reach well
over 10,000 subscribers, both individuals as well as institutions throughout the world . As you know we have partnered with the most outstanding medical publisher in the world-Nature Publishing Group (NPG). These journals are also online with NPG with its 60,000 monthly eTOC subscribers and on our international USCAP Website (the latter of which now receives up to five million hits/month internationally from up to 22,000 individual pathologists/month from 129 countries) . The USCAP,which is one of the oldest pathology societies in North America, is generally viewed as the premier academic society of anatomic, surgical pathology, and diagnostic molecular pathology and the attendance at our annual meeting is the largest gathering of physician-pathologists in the world by far. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the future of pathology and medicine and all those patients, physicians and students we serve. It is obvious that your institution has worked hard to support and generate these important studies which will help advance the specialty of pathology as well as medicine in general. On behalf of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology I want to extend our congratulations to you and express my personal appreciation for all that you and your faculty have done to enhance the scientific program of our Academy and our discipline.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Sadly, some losses

Today the AFIP director reported, "Dr. Ahmed Hidayat, Chief Ophthalmic Pathology, AFIP, passed away last evening from a long-term illness. Dr. Hidayat was a long-time member of the Institute Staff in Ophthalmic Pathology."

And STIL Casing Solutions (whom we bought 16mm film cans from for our eventual film project) sent an email telling me that André Pion, the person who I usually dealt with and just talked to a couple of weeks ago about new DVD cases, passed away too.

We regret to announce the death of our colleague and friend AndrĂ© Pion, who passed away last Tuesday evening from septicaemia (blood poisoning). Death’s irrevocable nature makes it very difficult to accept, but at the same time reminds us of how priceless life is.

We will remember him for his unquestioned integrity, intellectual honesty and his devotion to his work, and also for the gifts of his friendship and humour. He cared deeply for each person he talked with, he loved his work and felt privileged to be able to do something he loved every day.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

AFIP Director's Message: The Joint Pathology Center A New Beginning

This is Dr. Mullick's message from the new AFIP Letter.

AFIP Director's Message: The Joint Pathology Center A New Beginning

As most of you know, the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) directed the Department of Defense to establish a Joint Pathology Center (JPC) that would provide diagnostic pathology services; pathology training; pathology research; and would modernize and update AFIP's current Tissue Repository, as long as creating such a center would be consistent with the final recommendations of the 2005 Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission. The Commission, as I'm sure you recall, had recommended disestablishment of the AFIP.

I can now report to you that the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs has concluded that a Joint Pathology Center can indeed be established in DoD and still meet the requirements spelled out by both the BRAC Commission and the 2008 NDAA. I can further report that implementation plans are now being finalized to establish the Joint Pathology Center as part of the new Walter Reed National Military
Medical Center.

Can I tell you exactly what the JPC will look like in terms of personnel, money and space? No, I can't. Those issues are still being worked out and it will likely be another few months before the road ahead is paved with the level of clarity and direction that I know you all are seeking. But what I can tell with clarity and direction is that we all need to embrace this process as a new beginning - an opportunity to help build a Reference Center for pathology for the federal government that's not only finely tuned to meet the current needs of our service members and their families, but one that's flexible enough to incorporate the technologies and techniques that will characterize the future of pathology. This Pathology Reference Center should provide the "final diagnosis" in difficult cases. The education and training should provide a professional level type of expertise that achieves academic legitimization and a CME function that will provide solidification of pathology expertise; and research should be of the highest caliber. The Tissue Repository should be maintained and modernized by using the best talent to provide unique cases and is supported by the best and most modern techniques.

I fully understand that many of you are disappointed and frustrated by the disestablishment of the AFIP and the transition to a Joint Pathology Center. And as someone who has spent much of my professional career here, I can certainly understand this. All of us - regardless of when we began our work with the AFIP - instantly became rich with an inheritance bequeathed to us through decades upon decades of splendid service by others who had helped make the Institute a world leader in pathology consultation, education and research. Such an inheritance is difficult to let go of; but let go of it we must so that we can focus on transferring as much of that wealth as possible to the Joint Pathology Center.

Think about a pathology center that continues to maintain and modernize AFIP's Tissue Repository so that the Military Healthcare System can access its assets for clinical care, research and training.

Think about a pathology reference center that will be an independent professional entity that is centrally located so that it's better able to provide world-class subspecialty pathology care to service members, their families, and other federal agencies. And imagine such care employing the best interpretive technology, including immunohistochemical staining, telepathology services, and immunofluorescent technology.

Think about a pathology center that will include a molecular pathology laboratory that will provide state-of-the-art PCR and Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization (FISH) technology to directly support diagnostic services and other military treatment facilities - a laboratory that will focus on providing tumor marker and pharmacogenomic diagnostic studies.

Think about a pathology center that will provide opportunities for resident and fellow rotations for all pathology residencies with the Military Healthcare System, as well as a robust online Continuing Medical Education program for pathologists throughout the military.

Think about a pathology center that is enthusiastic about the future of pathology, such as the future I detailed in my previous message - a future that relies heavily on pathology informatics, large-scale experiments, development of new subspecialties, and personalized medicine tailored to the individual and his or her environment. Imagine all this and more and I'm sure you can envision the many possibilities the Joint Pathology Center could create.

Then think about this. Some of the most spirited minds in pathology exist right here in this Institute. And a spirited mind never stops within itself. It is always aspiring and going beyond itself. If it does not advance and press forward and stand at bay and clash, it is only half alive. Its pursuits are boundless; and its food is wonder, the chase, and the belief in a better tomorrow.

Let's harness this power, embrace a new beginning, and help build the best Joint Pathology Center possible as a reference center for pathology for the Federal Government.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

AFIP in new New Yorker article on 9-11

This article is largely about NY medical examiner Charlie Hirsch but also mentions AFIP rendering a second opinion on lung sections - probably the environmental pathology branch. Read "A Cloud of Smoke: The complicated death of a 9/11 hero," by Jennifer Kahn, September 15, 2008 - it's look at the limits of a medical examiner system.

AFIP mentioned in two newspaper articles

Ed Huffine, formerly of the Medical Examiner's office, is featured in "Stringing Together The Clues of DNA: Fairfax Lab Solves World's Mysteries," By Michael Laris, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, September 12, 2008; Page B01.
A urinalysis test developed at the AFIP for Salvia divinorum, a potent hallucinogenic herb, is discussed in "Popularity of a Hallucinogen May Thwart Its Medical Uses," By KEVIN SACK and BRENT McDONALD, New York Times September 9, 2008.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

AFIP medical examiners mentioned in Post and Times

Human remains from a long lost plane crash have been found and identified by the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology's medical examiners. The story is "9 Years Later, a Fatal Mystery Solved; Experts Trace Body Part From 1948 Plane Crash to Roanoke Seaman," By Michael E. Ruane, Washington Post Staff Writer, Saturday, August 16, 2008. A similar case is reported on in "Missing pilot to be brought home; Recovered remains to receive Arlington burial," by Jennifer Harper, Washington Times Thursday, August 14, 2008.

The AFIP isn't mentioned by name in either article which is typical. The Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) is, but they are a component of the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner, which in turn falls under the AFIP. And the medical examiners would have done the fingerprint work mentioned in the Post article, not the DNA technicians.

Remember, the museum has on display Resolved, an exhibit on forensic identification of military dead that's just opened.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

SOPs for death of employees

Death of employees - Standard Operating Procedures"

Dying while on duty - Page 1"

Dying while on duty - Page 2"

I've been processing a collection from a former director of the AFIP (Armed Forces Institute of Pathology), a doctor who was in the forefront of aircraft accident investigations, causes, and pathology, back in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Much of the collection relates to papers he wrote and conferences he spoke at and attended, interesting to a certain point, but still... However, among his papers I found these gems that, 50 years on, made me smile. I know you'll have to click through to read them. I think they're worth it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A day in the life...

Turned on the computer this morning and saw the screen above and this email...

Effective immediately, when you log onto the AFIP network you will see a New DOD Consent Banner and User Agreement. Please take a moment to read this banner, by clicking ok you are in agreement with the consent banner.

The new warning and consent banner establishes that there is no expectation of PRIVACY when using DOD Information systems and all use of the Information system is subject to searches, audits, seizure, and monitoring.

In the past the helpdesk personnel have waited many hours to implement needed updates for security and software. This new banner makes it clear that when such needs arise the systems can be accessed by the personnel without prior notification. However, we will continue to make courtesy calls unless restricted by deadlines.

If for some reason you are not in agreement with the new banner and user agreement you will NOT have access to Information systems within the organization. This is a directive of MEDCOM, which means we MUST follow it.
I can hardly contain my enthusiasm for seeing that message every day, or working for people whose level of trust mandates it.

Later in the afternoon, Kathleen and I went down to the Borden Institute, which publishes the Textbook of Military Medicine series, to work on a picture book on the history of Walter Reed medical center. With the other editors, we culled some of the photos from the 'teens and twenties chapters as we had too many.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Day in the Life...

I meant to write these more often, but somehow the life keeps staying busy.

Here's one from a few weeks ago. We're part of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (see the sidebar history) and their Radiology Department had a lead on some personal papers they were interested in. The American College of Radiology has stored their records with the History Factory in Chantilly, VA, and in their collection they had personal papers of Dr. William Thompson. Thompson was instrumental in setting up the large radiology program at AFIP. The ACR was willing to hand over this series of records to AFIP since it didn't really relate to their core holdings. I tend to wear a dual hat as AFIP's archivist as well as the Museum's so I was on the job.

Poaching from other archives never thrills me, although at times it makes sense. Years ago, we returned photographs of unidentified corpses that we had received from the NY Medical Examiner to the NY Municipal Archives to reunite them with the paper records of the cases. I was fine with that, but there have been plenty of times when people come in to do research and say "wouldn't this be better if it was in..."

Anyway, two people from the radiology dept., and 3 museum staffers took a van from Walter Reed while I drove myself from home. I beat them by about an hour so I hung around with the archivist there. He showed me the collection - it was pretty straightforward personal papers including diaries, some awards and some photographs, both personal and professional. I've seen dozens like it, and at 3 linear feet, it wasn't large. So we talked shop and then when everyone else arrived, they looked at the records. The radiologists were particularly interested as one doesn't see fifty-year old diaries every day, I suppose. We took a quick look in the stacks at the rest of the ACR collection - most archives look alike especially in the 'bulk' storage areas - and I've got to say that they have a nice set of advertising trade literature if you're doing anything on radiology's history. We also looked at the 3-D artifacts because there was some confusion in our party if we were supposed to be checking on them as well.

After signing the paperwork transferring it to us, we headed back to AFIP. Lauren Clark, who's volunteering as an intern this summer, has processed the collection and written a finding aid to it, which should make it onto our regular website soon. There's nothing deeply interesting or dramatic in Thompson's papers, but they help round out the history of radiology at AFIP.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

AFIP's educational offerings

Dr. Mullick, director of the Pathology Institute, sent out this email today -

Congratulations to the Department of Medical Education and particularly to Mr. Carlos Moran, MS, Department Chair, for a most impressive achievement. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) accredited the Institute's continuing medical education program for six years. In addition, the ACCME awarded five commendations, further underscoring the exemplary nature of the AFIP education program. It is also interesting to note that only 8% of the many hundreds of ACCME accredited providers nationwide receive a six year accreditation, and even fewer do so with more than four commendations. This is truly and outstanding achievement and I would like to personally thank Mr. Moran and the Department staff whose dedicated efforts continue to strengthen the educational activities of the AFIP.

For many years the AFIP's conducted courses - the Museum's offered paleopathology, forensic anthropology and helped out in others. The radiology course is attended by most radiologists in the US I believe.