Government Relations Update: HFES Hosts Forensic Science Panel at the Annual Meeting

By Lewis-Burke Associates LLC  |  October 7, 2016


From left: Nancy J. Cooke, Fay Lomax Cook, Melissa Taylor,
Jonathan McGrath, and Deborah A. Boehm-Davis

During this year's Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, HFES coordinated a panel discussion, "Human Factors and the Federal Government: Improving Human Performance in Forensic Sciences." The discussion, moderated by Toby Warden, interim director of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Board of Human Systems Integration, addressed the impact of human factors research and applications on forensic sciences and highlighted ongoing federal government projects and policies to shape and improve the discipline.

Panelists included Fay Lomax Cook, assistant director of the Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate at the National Science Foundation; Melissa Taylor, program officer in the Law Enforcement Standards Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology; Johnathan McGrath, senior policy analyst within the National Institute of Justice Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciences at the U.S. Department of Justice; and Deborah A. Boehm-Davis, HFES Past President and dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University. The federal agency representatives discussed the functions of their respective agencies, their current forensic programs, and the role of human factors in moving the science forward.

Boehm-Davis discussed her experience as a human factors researcher actively engaged in applying HF/E to federal policies and programs, specifically the NIST Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science. The panelists also talked about the importance of establishing universal operations standards and engagement with universities and early-career researchers, the next generation of scientists who will expand upon current developments in the field. The well-attended session was a great opportunity to inform members and attendees about how to engage with the federal government to apply human factors science and research to decision making, policies, and programs.

Lewis-Burke Associates LLC, a leading Washington, D.C.-based government relations and consulting firm, represents the public policy interests of scientific societies and institutions of higher education. Lewis-Burke's staff of about 20 government relations professionals work to promote the federal research and policy goals of HFES and the HF/E community.