Skip to main content

Two WVU officials appointed to White House forensic subcommittee

West Virginia University has two representatives on the White House subcommittee that deals with forensic science. Dr. Max M. Houck, director of the WVU Forensic Science Initiative and director of Forensic Business Development for the College of Business and Economics, and Robin T. Bowen, assistant director of the WVU Forensic Science Initiative, have been chosen to serve on the committee.

Max Houck

Dr. Houck said he will participate as an advisory member on the subcommittee’s Education, Ethics and Terminology Interagency Working Group. Bowen will participate as an advisory member for the Outreach and Training Interagency Working Group. The formation of the subcommittee is in response to a report by the National Academy of Sciences, which indicates that forensic science is in need of critical resources, coordination of those resources and research.

Houck explained that this comprehensive effort would lead to established accuracy, precision and reliability of forensic sciences; the highest of standards and qualifications of forensic practitioners; and a higher level of effectiveness of forensic laboratories. The subcommittee is charged with coordinating the Federal effort to address the important issues raised in the NAS reported entitled Strengthening Forensic Science in The United States: A Path Forward.

“This is a more strategic effort for the discipline than a tactical one,” Houck said. “In other words, we are looking for ways to improve reliability and interpretation of our methods and results. Once we have accomplished these goals, you will see forensic science much more widely accepted and understood. We are working to ensure that forensic science has the foundations to stand next to its sibling sciences.”

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin III signed a letter of support naming Houck and Bowen to the subcommittee and to support activities on the project.

The Subcommittee on Forensic Science was established by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Science.