Howe Wins National Forensics Award
Julie Howe, instructor in the Health Information Management Program at Saint Louis University’s Doisy College of Health Sciences, was recently awarded
the John R. Hunt Award by the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS).
The Hunt Award recognizes sustained superior contributions to the AAFS and the forensic
science community. Howe was chosen from over 850 members of her membership section
(General Section) of the AAFS to receive the honor.
The AAFS is an organization dedicated to advancing forensic science and its application
to the legal system. Howe received the award at the organization’s annual meeting
In addition to teaching health information management at SLU, Howe has also been a
medicolegal death investigator for 18 years, during which time she has amassed an
impressive background in forensic science.
After the release of the National Academy of Science’s (NAS) 2009 report regarding
the state of forensic science, Howe and other forensic professionals recognized the
need to develop nationwide forensic standards for practicing forensic professionals.
Howe was elected to the AAFS Academy Standards Board (ASB) to work towards that goal.
It is partially for her diligent work with other members of the ASB developing these
standards that Howe was chosen to receive the Hunt Award.
“Our goal is to have forensic standards on a federal registry so medical and legal
authorities can work together to drive forensic science forward,” Howe said.
Howe’s recent work includes helping to develop a national case management system to
collect uniform information on a death certificate that would allow the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to access timely information to help drive public
health initiatives. She has also chaired or served on 12 different AAFS committees;
presented over 20 peer-reviewed studies at the national and international levels;
published four peer-reviewed manuscripts and two book chapters; served as a team leader
for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Missing and Unidentified Persons System
Training Academies; and helped create and conduct conferences to teach high school
math and science teachers how to incorporate forensic science into the classroom,
among other contributions to the profession.
After taking these accomplishments into account, the AAFS General Section Awards Committee
selected Howe as the recipient of the 2018 John R. Hunt Award – an award that can
be given annually, but that is not necessarily awarded every year.
“I am very surprised and humbled to receive the John R. Hunt Award,” Howe said. “There
are many forensic professionals who are deserving of the award, so it means a lot
to be the recipient.”
As an instructor of health information management at SLU, Howe is a faculty member
in the Department of Clinical Health Sciences (CHS).
“Julie is most deserving of such recognition, as her scholarly work and passion for
forensic science and how it meshes with health information management is clear in
her dedication to her courses, her students, and the program,” Amy Harkins, Ph.D.,
chair of Howe’s department, said.