The Institute maintains the following accreditations:
- Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
- American Board of Forensic Toxicology
- ANSI National Accreditation Board Forensic Science Testing Laboratories Program
- ANSI National Accreditation Board Forensic Inspection Bodies Program
- Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (ISO 9001:2015)
- National Association of Medical Examiners
- Texas Forensic Science Commission
- Texas Medical Association for Continuing Medical Education
Accreditations are essential to the integrity of a forensic science organization, such as the Institute, and validate our commitment to fair and unbiased analyses and court testimony, use of best practices, fundamentally sound research, and proper training of professionals.
Each of these respected accrediting organizations, comprised of distinguished experts and scholars in their fields, has inspected and granted accreditation after completing a rigorous and comprehensive inspection and then closely monitors the Institute’s performance for ongoing compliance during the accreditation period. Accreditations acknowledge the merit of our staff and the work they produce.
Accreditation assures the public that the Institute of Forensic Sciences meets the highest professional standards in the country and ensures credibility within the scientific community and the legal system. Accreditation by such respected organizations reflects our agency’s fulfillment of essential and comprehensive standards addressing resources, discipline-specific tasks, quality assurance procedures, and facility requirements.
Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)
ACGME accreditation certifies an agency as a training institute in a medical subspecialty. The accreditation by GME allows the Institute’s Forensic Pathology Fellowship Program to train two physicians per year in the forensic pathology subspecialty preparing and qualifying the trainees for the American Board of Pathology subspecialty examination in Forensic Pathology. Accreditation specifically addresses the academic abilities and resources that the Institute maintains.
Certifies an agency as a training institute in a medical subspecialty
The Institute of Forensic Sciences holds this accreditation independently, apart from the various neighboring institutions within the Texas Medical Center (TMC). Nevertheless, the academic environment within TMC is indispensable for maintaining this type of educational accreditation. Reciprocally, the Institute serves as a valuable training institution for doctors-in-training in other ACGME-accredited pathology programs within TMC.
American Board of Forensic Toxicology (ABFT)
The Institute has maintained ABFT accreditation in postmortem forensic toxicology and human performance toxicology since 2004. This accreditation focuses on the importance of testing that not only can determine if an individual was impaired, such as in a DUI case, or poisoned but can also assist with the determination of cause (or contributory cause) and manner of death.
ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) Forensic Science Testing Laboratories Program (ISO/IEC 17025 Standards and Supplemental Forensic Requirements)
All crime laboratory disciplines within the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences, including Toxicology, Drug Chemistry, Firearms Identification, Forensic Genetics and Trace Evidence (GSR, Fire Debris, Automotive Paint Analysis), hold this accreditation and have done so continuously since 1999. In December 2008, the Institute achieved an additional layer of accreditation under the stringent and globally recognized ISO 17025 Standards, which are general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.
ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) Forensic Inspection Bodies Program (ISO/IEC 17020 Standards and Supplemental Forensic Requirements)
Accreditation to the ANAB Forensic Inspection program (ISO/IEC 17020 Standards) demonstrates the technical competence of the Forensic Anthropology Division, its anthropologists and the exceptional quality assurance encompassing their examination processes. The Institute is currently the only medical examiner office in the nation with an ISO-accredited forensic anthropology division.
Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA)
As of May 21, 2019, HCIFS’ Quality Management System is certified to ISO 9001:2015. A globally recognized quality management standard, ISO 9001:2015 is comprised of more than 350 requirements for planning, controlling, and improving an agency’s management system. It is based on fundamental quality assurance practices to promote a strong customer focus, effective high-level agency management, successful communication with stakeholders, risk management, and continuous improvement of services.
National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME)
The Institute has maintained continuous NAME accreditation since June 2006. The NAME requirements were established by physicians to reflect standards for a quality medicolegal death investigation system.
Texas Forensic Science Commission (FSC)
The Texas FSC accreditation is essential for our crime laboratory analysts to present evidence in courts of law within the state of Texas.
Texas Medical Association for Continuing Medical Education (TMA-CME)
The only medical examiner office in Texas to hold this accreditation
This accreditation, held since 2012, allows the Institute to sponsor educational conferences and seminars that qualify for continuing medical education credits required by the Texas Medical Board in order for physicians to maintain their licensure. The Institute is currently the only medical examiner office in Texas to hold this accreditation and was recognized with commendation in 2016 by the Texas Medical Association.
TMA-CME accreditation is instrumental to the Institute’s role as an educational institute within the medical community, and it allows our staff physicians to obtain continuing medical education in-house by attending relevant, timely, subspecialty-specific conferences.