M.Div, Psy.D, D. Min

Biography

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ROBERT O'BLOCK AND THE ACFEI
By David E. Rosengard, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.


HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

It was in the ten foot by ten foot spare bedroom of his modest home in Branson, Missouri, where Robert L. O'Block, Ph.D., laid the foundation for an open, comprehensive, educational association of qualified forensic examiners that would be called The American College of Forensic Examiners (ACFEI). This spare room was con­verted into the first ACFEI office as Dr. O'Block developed plans to utilize and activate some of his own formal education in criminology, investigation, handwriting analysis, and psychology. Without any outside grants or financial backing, and with a mere $500 from his own pocket and a goodly portion of faith, hope, trust, and confidence, Dr. O'Block set out on a continual course of upward mobility through planning and perseverance.

As a physician, psychiatrist, scientist, clinician, and professor in the forensic sciences and related arenas, I hasten to give witness to the phenomenal development and growth of one of the world's truly wonderful associations of forensic professionals. This association was not handed to nor bequeathed to Dr. Robert O'Block, but exists and prospers as a result of his drive and motivation. He under­took this challenge with fervor and inestimable self-deprivation after a considerable period of personal introspection.

Thirteen years after its inception, The American College of Forensic Examiners, which began in 1992, remains one of the most unique, dynamic, and successful organizations ever created. Today, ACFEI consists of 13 specialty boards:

American Board of Forensic Medicine

American Board of Forensic Examiners

American Board of Psychological Specialties

American Board of Forensic Dentistry

American Board of Forensic Engineering and Technology

American Board of Forensic Nursing

American Board of Law Enforcement Experts

American Board of Forensic Accounting

American Board of Forensic Counselors

American Board of Forensic Social Workers

American Board for Certification in Homeland Security

 

In addition to ACFEI, Dr. O'Block created and founded The American Psychotherapy Association, which in its first year already had 5000 members; and the American Association of Integrative Medicine, AAIM, which advocates for broader treatment options and facilitates a bond between integrative and Western medicine. He also founded the peer-reviewed publications, The Forensic Examiner® and the Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association as well as the newsletter Inside Homeland Security, hosts annual meetings and regional meetings, published a number of distance courses, and is currently focused on establishing a major presence on the Internet offering continuing education courses and other online learning opportunities.

Dr. O'Block had the vision to begin a web page for members before the World Wide Web (WWW) existed. He used BBS software to create ForensicNet, linking ACFEI members nationwide a full year before the world wide web was ever created. A year before the Unabomber was caught, Dr. O'Block submitted a profile to the FBI, correctly identifying the UNABOMBER as a professional at the Ph.D. level who would be associat­ed with the Univer­sity of California at Berkeley. This was documented in the book, UNABOMBER, by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, page 122.

How, with this humble beginning of a $500 investment and a less than ten foot by ten foot spare bedroom for an office, could the American College of Forensic Examiners become the largest and most prestigious forensic membership association in the world, with nearly 14,000 members in thirteen years? To help put the almost 14,000+ members and growing organization in perspective in terms of size, the FBI employed 11,633 Special Agents as of June 30, 2003¹. How could anyone do this, without private grants or "help" from the government?

¹ - Source: FBI 2003 Facts and Figures (2004 not yet available).

You cannot know the history of the American College of Forensic Examiners without knowing the history, background, and drive behind the founder of ACFEI, Dr. Robert O'Block. As a Board Certified Psychiatrist and Neurologist, and Chairman of the ACFEI Executive Board of Advisors, I can give witness to the phenomenal growth and development of one of the finest associations of professionals in the world, and can give a first-hand account into the process of genius brought to fruition.

 

A BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE IN FORTITUDE

Robert O'Block's grandparents arrived at Ellis Island during the early 1900's not speaking a word of English. His grandfather, William O'Block, was greeted there by the Boss Men from the mining companies offering jobs to desperate immigrants, along with one-way train tickets, housing, and food. Thousands of non-English-speaking immigrants soon found themselves inside the bottom of mine shafts digging for coal for the next 30 years.

Tennessee Ernie Ford, the great baritone, had a hit song for many years, Sixteen Tons; the lyrics went: "You dig 16 tons, and what do you get, another day older and deeper in debt. Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go, I owe my sold to the company store."

That song was based on actual events. Most mines were in the middle of nowhere, and the mining companies provided shacks where the men and their families could live, and a general store where they could buy food and hooch (alcohol). However, the coal companies were not benevolent. The rent they charged for housing plus the cost of food and alcohol exceeded the miners' pay­checks. But the mining companies provided credit, and so every day the miners worked they entrenched themselves more deeply in debt. Most miners became alcoholics, for the numb­ing effects of alcohol were their only escape.

In the midst of his mining "career," William O'Block begot one son and one daughter, then tragically lost a third along with his dear wife during childbirth. The son, Louis, and daughter, Fritz, were sent to live with their mother's sister who had a large family of her own. Louis (Louie) O'Block, Robert's father, was raised as a "step kid" during the Depression. He never finished high school. Instead, he went to work for the local railroad, which was considered a step up from working in the mines. For 19½ years he labored for the railroad, only to be fired just months before becoming eligible for his 20­-year pension. He ended up working the rest of his life at manual labor.

Louis O'Block had met Rose Kelly in early 1950. They fell in love, married, and on July 15, 1951, their only son, Robert was born. Rose had been married previously and had three other children to support. Louie's lack of education and economic troubles led to their divorce only two years later. Because of financial strains, Rose had to give up custody of her two other sons, and moved with Robert into a one-bedroom "house" that looked like a railroad car with a small living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. Shortly thereafter, Rose's mother, Katie Kelly, suffering from multiple sclerosis and confined to a wheelchair, moved in with them, as did Robert's half-sister, Lila, discharged from the Navy and pregnant. So, in the early 50's, there were five people living in the one-bedroom shack at 203 West 24th Street in Pittsburg, Kansas. Rose worked two jobs to support the family.

Rose was hospitalized a number of times for exhaustion and various colon complaints. Forced to relinquish her jobs, she had to apply for welfare.

Robert says that these memories have not faded; they are as clear today as when he experienced them. Being poor is not just being without money; it is a whole social caste. Injustice, discrimination and social repudiation constitute daily life for the underclass. But, somehow, instead of kowtowing to his predicament, his predicament built his strength. At the age of 12, Robert understood that the one thing his prosperous neighbors had that his family did not have was education. So, at 12 years-of-age, he knew education was the key.

Robert began working after school at the age of 13, and has worked ever since. He started by picking up golf balls at a driving range, working in the fields planting nursery stock, bussing tables in a neighborhood restaurant, and sweeping the floor of F.W. Woolworth's to put himself through Catholic high school. During his junior year, he discovered he had a talent for the stage, and so he auditioned and was awarded the lead in a comedy-mystery entitled "Whodunit?" The drama teacher, Sister Mary Patrick, instilled in him the self-confidence to be seen as something he could become, rather than remain as other people saw him.

At the age of 17, tragedy struck again. His mother, Rose, in an effort to move off the welfare roll, enlisted in a hospital R.N. training program. She hoped to be able to complete the program, but after less than a year, she was struck with a virus from which she could not recover. Rose died at the age of 52.

Robert's last year of high school swiftly passed and the following summer, with the help of his Aunt Mary, Robert enrolled in a local college. After the first year, he took a pivotal course, The Sociology of Deviant Behavior, and still remembers the text­book author's name, Marshal B. Clinard. After that course his interest in criminology was set. He finished college in 3½ years, was awarded a master's degree a year later, and an Ed.S. and Ph.D. two years after that - four college degrees, three of which were graduate degrees in different fields, all in 6½ years, by the time he was 24 years old and all the while working two full-time jobs.

Starting at age 19, Robert became a dispatcher for campus security. His shift ran from 3:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. in the morning, five days a week. After work he would go to class from 8:30 a.m. until the early afternoon. After one year as a dispatcher, at the age of 20, he became a small town police officer, although legally he wasn't old enough to buy a handgun. While attending graduate school full time at 21, he became a probation officer and then a senior counselor in a detention center for juvenile delinquents. He was motivated.

His doctoral dissertation was entitled, "A comparative analysis of attitudes toward school of delinquents and non-delinquents as measured by the semantic differential." His research was to prove that delinquents did indeed have much more negative attitudes toward school, and to this end he developed a rating scale using the Semantic Differential to measure these attitudes, so that positive intervention could be given to the child before he was drawn into the delinquent lifestyle. Thus he proved that negative attitudes toward school can be a predictor of future delinquency

At 25 he became an assistant professor, and at 27 he was writing the first of his two college textbooks; his career as an academic had begun.

 

STANDING UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT

Dr. O'Block learned early on that injustice is rampant, even in the hallowed halls of academia. After ten years of teaching in an academic department that based pay raises and promotions on "the good old boys" system, he had to speak out. He sent memo after memo to university administrators documenting the departmental inequities. All were seemingly ignored. Then he discovered that his teaching evaluations were being altered. When he brought this to the attention of administrators, he became a target.

Dr. O'Block next learned another important lesson, the fate of whistleblowers – those who shed light on injustice often become targets themselves. First, he was accused of fictitious plagiarism violations. "I was working with some individuals I had only met briefly once when I chaired a session at a professional meeting on Scandinavian criminology. I was working with several of them to rewrite their papers, correct their grammar, etc., to help them make their paper suitable for publication in English." The researchers had promised Dr. O'Block that he would appear on their article as the "second" author. However, the administration intimidated the researchers and scared them into withdrawing from the project. Even though his name never appeared on any published version of the paper, and he had been assisting the researchers, for whom English was a second language, the administration used the opportunity to accuse him of plagiarism and attempt to discredit him in retaliation for his exposing the unfair administration practices.

Although Dr. O'Block had already accepted another position, he felt morally compelled to continue to fight the system by going ahead with his grievance. But the young Professor was smashed by the weight of the state institution intent on a cover-up, and was subsequently terminated. Since then the false plagiarism charges have followed him, but rather than give in and give up, Dr. O'Block has channeled his energy into the pursuit of truth and justice (as evidenced by his formation of the American College of Forensic Examiners, an organization dedicated to the accurate and unbiased reporting of facts and truth — but more on that later…). Dr. O'Block now welcomes opportunities to tell his story, so that his tale of being a whistleblower and standing up for what is right may inspire others.

It was also during this time that his father, Louis O'Block, developed adult-onset diabetes. His condition led first to major artery replacements, then toe amputations, and partial and then finally full-leg amputation. On top of this, Louis developed lung cancer, which finally ended his life.

After the death of his father, Dr. O'Block assumed his next post as department head of a criminal justice department, and soon became restless. During his entire academic career he expressed idea after idea for system improvements, only to have them shot down or stonewalled by the bureaucracy for the usual reasons: fear of change and envy. Few of his proposals or solutions were accepted, and he realized that to go it alone and become an entrepreneur was the only remaining option. Fed up with the injustice of the sys­tem, he decided to do something about it. He had heard the Reverend Jesse Jackson once say, "You have heard it said, somebody ought to do something about that. Remember, you are somebody!" Those words took hold.

And so, after ten years of teaching theoretical criminology, he decided to learn a forensic field. Forensic handwriting analysis had always fascinated him, but when he went to study it he found nothing but closed doors. As an educator, he could not believe that these document examiners had no interest in creating a scientific profession, but rather maintained a secret socie­ty with closely-guarded, ancient rituals. In his research he soon discovered that the leading handwriting expert lived only two hours away. Dr. O'Block contacted him for an appointment but was turned down. He explained that he was a college professor, former police officer, published author of two criminal justice textbooks, but the expert was not impressed. Robert did not give up. Finally, after the fourth phone call, a meeting was arranged.

During their meeting, Dr. O'Block asked for the address of the major professional association for document examiners, and although the expert was a past president, he said he did not know it. When Dr. O'Block asked how he could become a member, he was told that a two-year apprenticeship was necessary. And then when Dr. O'Block asked if he could do an apprenticeship with the expert, his reply was, "No. I took on one apprentice thirty-five years ago, and it was a complete disaster. I haven't had an apprentice since." Dr. O'Block remained persistent, but when he tracked down other members of this association, they also turned him down. He discovered that the association had 200 members in their questioned document section, mostly government lab personnel, and about 197 of these members had been grandfathered in; only 3 others had been allowed to take their exam. This clearly was not an attempt to advance science – a true science is not advanced by excluding talented people. So, with the door slammed shut, Dr. O'Block decided to create a new doorway.

 

ENTER ACFEI

Injustice never set well with Robert O'Block. In 1992, he took action. Taking $500 out of his personal savings account, he opened a business checking account. He moved his personal computer, a desk, a table, and two chairs into the ten-by-ten foot spare bedroom of his home. He began his entrepreneurial pursuit by calling other professionals he knew who had similar interests and formed a loose-knit association. Originally called The American Board of Forensic Handwriting Analysis, there were no dues and little structure, only a gathering of people who wanted to grow professionally but who were denied the opportunity to learn.

Within a few months 30, then 40, then 50 persons joined. The expense of calling and mailing these members quickly diminished the initial, meager investment. At that point, Dr. O'Block asked the members if they would be willing to pay $40 in annual dues to sustain the organization. Ninety-eight percent of them agreed, and the organization was on its way. Soon 100 members had joined, and by the end of the first year 200 had joined. Again, money was running short with mounting mailing, printing, phone, and other overhead costs. Dues were raised to $60, then $75, and finally $100.

Dr. O'Block took no salary for the first two years of the organization. Still teaching full-time, he lived on his $40,000 teaching salary while working nights and weekends for the organization. He installed a separate business phone. It didn't matter if the phone rang at 6:00 a.m. or 11:00 p.m., Saturday or Sunday, he answered, spoke with members, and solidified the organization.

Members began suggesting that the organization institute a training and certification program. It wasn't until the end of the first year, after continual member requests, that Dr. O'Block agreed to develop these programs. He then organized an Executive Advisory Board of the members who had the strongest resumes, and relied on the Advisory Board for input into these programs. At first, two certifications were developed: one in forensic handwriting analysis (profiling) and the other in questioned documents (forgery detection). As with most young associations, there would be a brief grandfather period, while tests and training programs were developed.

Dr. O'Block then developed, with the Advisory Board, an objective point system for applicants. Using Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 702, as a guide, members had to score 100 or more points based on the five criteria established by Rule 702: Knowledge, Skill, Education, Training, and Experience. In this way, all applicants would be objectively rated. The plan was to keep the point system in place until a fair and equitable training program could be developed that would not exclude anyone who qualified.

It was at this time that Dr. O'Block realized that the most ethical thing to do was quit all personal consulting so that he would not be in competition with any member. For a period of a few months he would personally review applications while the organization regrouped again. But there were too many demands on his time, and so he hired a staff member to review the incoming applications for compliance with the criteria set up by the Executive Advisory Board.

Several physicians and psychologists had joined the group, and it was decided to change the name to reflect the expanded membership; thus, the association became known as The American Board of Forensic Examiners. New members, especially those with doctorates, were immediately attracted to the vision and openness of the association. Soon, the medical doctors requested their own board and diplomate status. Most of the physicians coming into the organization were already Diplomates of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the largest certifying body of the medical field. But the doctors wanted their own diplomate in forensic medicine, something the ABMS did not offer. Because of this, the organization's mission would need to be changed again to satisfy its ever­-diversifying membership sections. The use of the word "college" is a common term for medical associations, such as the American College of Physicians or the American College of Surgeons, and historically represents Fellows or those at their highest specialty levels, joining together to form a group. And so the name was changed to The American College of Forensic Examiners. ACFEI was now a unique, umbrella association represented by two boards, the American Board of Forensic Medicine (ABFM) for the physician members, and the American Board of Forensic Examiners (ABFE) for all others. These two boards flourished dur­ing the next year, attracting scores of new members.

This led to a new and improved structure whereby the specialty advisory board, such as the American Board of Forensic Medicine, would review and establish standards for their field, and then the overall Executive Advisory Board for ACFEI would vote to ratify or decline proposals from the specialty boards. Occasionally the entire membership would be canvassed for their vote on major issues. By means of this system, the association was constantly being refined.

Because of new demands made by non-physicians who worked in the medical field, a one-year grandfather period within ABFM was established for them if they could meet the point requirements developed by the board. Examples of those grandfathered into the medical board were a few Ph.D.'s who are medical school faculty members and related others.

Soon after the establishment of ABFM, large numbers of psychologists begin joining the association. They didn't quite fit in the Forensic Examiner Board and soon wanted their own section with a higher standard of requirements that reflected their licensing, education, and training. Thus began the American Board of Psychological Specialties. Because of the great diversity of the psychological field, members were requesting training and sub-specialization. Out of our membership, a group of 1,400 doctorate-level psychologists agreed to serve on 20 specialty subcommittees to establish standards for those fields. In what can only be considered management genius, Dr. O'Block, along with his motivated and energetic staff were able to coordinate those 20 subcommittees and 1,400 members, by phone, fax, mail and e-mail, and developed an initial group of standards in less than a year.

The word was spread that a bold, new organization with high ideals and ethical standards had been created that sought to provide forensic training, and would not exclude qualified and talented professionals. As each year passed, new boards were developed to meet the needs of the members. After The American Board of Forensic Examiners, The American Board of Forensic Medicine and The American Board of Psychological Specialties were developed, other boards natu­rally followed: The American Board of Forensic Dentistry, The American Board of Forensic Accounting, The American Board of Forensic Engineering and Technology, The American Board of Forensic Nursing, The American Board of Law Enforcement Experts, The American Board of Recorded Evidence, The American Board of Forensic Counselors, and The American Board of Forensic Social Workers

Dr. O'Block states that he does not see other associations as competitors or rivals. On the contrary, ACFEI members are encouraged to belong to as many other associations as possible, to receive all the journals and publications from as many sources as possible, to attend multiple educational seminars and receive a wide range of training for their own personal advancement. ACFEI has truly broken the traditional association mold with its inclusive, non-competitive philosophy.

It has been said that you can gauge your success by the level of your critics. ACFEI and Dr. O'Block personally have had their share. But Dr. O'Block has always encouraged members to expand their horizons, while some exclusive groups do everything they can to discourage members from joining other associations. Dr. O'Block has said that when he was an educator he never told a student to go to the library and bring back one book. He told them to go to the library and carry an empty card­board box with them and fill it up with books.

 

OVERCOMING MISLEADING, DEFAMATORY MEDIA ATTACKS

Over the years, while building his career and his organizations, Dr. O'Block has encountered and overcome many obstacles to his success. One of these obstacles has been in the form of negative press attacks and misinformed, inaccurate, or misrepresented information distributed over the Internet. As he has encountered these issues, Dr. O'Block has consistently sought to share his side of the story in a complete, open, and fair and balanced dialogue. He is proud of his accomplishments and his professional history, and is eager to share his story with the world. However, he wants that story to be told in an honest, complete, and unbiased manner. Unfortunately, even though he has fought hard to share his real story with those reporters who have placed him in the media limelight, Dr. O'Block has on more than one occasion been the subject of false, misleading, and defamatory news and Internet articles.

Dr. O'Block suspects that the few reporters who have written these stories have been led to write about him and his associations due to the underhanded work of his competitors. As ACFEI grows and expands, it also places increasing pressure on competing associations across the nation. In an effort to harm the reputation of Dr. O'Block and the associations he created, these competitors have sought, unsuccessfully, to discredit the rigorous standards, integrity, and mission of ACFEI. Planting misguided stories in the media and online has been one method these competitors have used in an attempt to tear down Dr. O'Block and ACFEI. Today, Dr. O'Block and ACFEI members all across the nation continue to support the exciting progressive growth and improvement of the association despite negative, misleading attacks by competitors and members of the press.

 

CONTINUING EDUCATION AND THE MISSION OF ACFEI

As ACFEI members well know, the issue of continuing education has been the subject of ongoing dialogues and discussions within our organization. Many organizations do not require continuing education as a criteria for membership, yet education is at the heart of this great organization. ACFEI, the largest forensic professional membership organization, has among its membership some of the most distinguished forensic scientists and investigators in the world. It is we, the ACFEI membership, who define who we are as forensic examiners. It is we, the ACFEI membership, who define what a Diplomate from one of our specialty boards represents. In other words, we set the standards. In this regard we must be ever vigilant that we maintain the highest standards for our Diplomates to ensure the longterm viability and credibility of this great organization.

An expert witness is someone who, by virtue of his or her education and experience, possesses knowledge beyond that of most lay persons. Education and experience in a particular field are what enable forensic examiners to investigate and interpret evidence and to answer legal or forensic questions. In comparison to most other professional organizations, ACFEI membership represents the many specialized fields in forensic examination. Early on, ACFEI recognized that although our diverse membership was brought together by a shared interest in forensics, there were educational needs unique to each of the disciplines represented. The term "Forensic Examiner" aptly describes our members, although no such title or degree existed at the time ACFEI began. We have, in a very real sense, defined the Forensic Examiner. It is the basic unit of our organization, comprised of professionals with specific education and training that, in the course of their work, is applied to a legal question. The application of knowledge obtained in graduate or medical school, or other institutions of professional training, to a forensic issue is what forensic examination is all about. Setting a standard for that knowledge and systematically increasing it is, in part, the reason ACFEI came into existence.

 

RAISING THE BAR – BASIC EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Continuing Education is at the center of ACFEI's mission, and is absolutely essential to the forensic examiner practitioner. ACFEI has always espoused the value of education, particularly continuing education as a mechanism to allow for the personal and professional growth both of current and future members. The first step in this long and evolving process was to establish membership requirements for the Diplomate. The Diplomate is awarded to recognize individual excellence, elevate professional standards, encourage individual professional growth, and distinguish those professionals who have demonstrated knowledge, skill, education, training, and experience in their fields. This successful endeavor has been praised by many of the world's most distinguished forensic experts and clearly embraced by the thousands of professionals worldwide who have applied for membership to ACFEI. The requirements for each of our Diplomates were originally determined by objective criteria established by members who comprised the various specialty boards of ACFEI, and was endorsed by the Executive Board of Advisors.

QUALIFICATION FOR DIPLOMATE STATUS TODAY

In the years since the board examinations were first developed, the standards for Diplomates have been raised again and again. Today, professionals who wish to receive added recognition in their fields may apply for Diplomate status under any of ACFEI's 12 boards:

American Board of Forensic Medicine

American Board of Forensic Examiners

American Board of Psychological Specialties

American Board of Forensic Dentistry

American Board of Forensic Engineering and Technology

American Board of Forensic Nursing

American Board of Law Enforcement Experts

American Board of Forensic Accounting

American Board of Forensic Counselors

American Board of Forensic Social Workers

American Board for Certification in Homeland Security

 

A candidate for Diplomate status under any of these boards must have appropriate educational degrees from universities accredited by recognized accrediting agencies and have five years of relative experience in a forensic-related field. The applicant must not have been convicted of a felony or have been disciplined for an ethical violation in the last 10 years, nor be under investigation by any legal, accounting or licensing board. Candidates must also submit their vitaes/professional resumes, plus copies of forensic reports and court transcripts and/or depositions indicating forensic experience in the field(s) represented by the advisory board to which they are applying. Each board maintains its own educational and licensure requirements, thus ensuring that ACFEI's standards are up-to-date with the requirements of any given field.

Next, candidates must earn the Certified Forensic Consultant, CFC , designation . The CFC is a continuing education program developed by ACFEI to train forensic professionals from all disciplines in the fine points of courtroom procedure and forensic consultation. Members can earn this prestigious designation by completing a comprehensive course and examination at one of ACFEI's continuing education meetings.

In addition to completing the CFC course and exam, applicants for Diplomate status must successfully complete three core courses: Ethics, Law and Evidence. These courses are also offered ACFEI's continuing education meetings.

Finally, those individuals who complete the rigorous continuing education components of Diplomate status must dedicate themselves to continually advancing their professional knowledge by completing at least 15 hours of forensic-related continuing education (CE) per year. To facilitate this, members may earn CE credits by reading approved peer-reviewed articles from ACFEI's journal The Forensic Examiner. ACFEI also offers CE opportunities through participation in its continuing education conferences and online learning opportunities.

ADDITIONAL CONTINUING EDUCATION AND CERTIFICATION OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH ACFEI

In the years since the Diplomate status was developed, ACFEI has grown to meet the ever-changing needs of its diverse membership. Specifically, ACFEI has called upon the expertise of its members to develop cutting-edge certification programs in a number of professional areas.

The Certified Forensic Accountant, Cr.FA, Program

Developed in 2001, the Certified Forensic Accountant, Cr.FA, course was ACFEI's first continuing education certification program. The Cr.FA was designed to be a unique course and credential for professional working as forensic accountants, including accountants, consultants, internal auditors, IRS Auditors, GAO Auditors, Defense Department Auditors, SEC accountants, bankruptcy specialists, lawyers, professors, bank examiners, chief financial officers, valuators of closely held businesses, and others. The course and exam, offered at ACFEI continuing education conferences, covers a variety of areas. The course begins with a description of five general concepts of judicial procedure and evidence applicable to forensic accounting, and covers professional responsibility and ethics. Next, the course addresses expert report writing procedures and the challenges to expert testimony and how to deal with Daubert issues. Participants learn about practical approaches to help find and stop fraud, and review the forensic accountant's role in the analysis of damages. The course also covers various valuation approaches for valuation. Finally, attendees learn about the additional services provided by forensic accountants.

The Certified Medical Investigator, CMI, Program

In 2002, ACFEI launched the Certified Medical Investigator, CMI, program. This certification course was developed to allow individuals from a variety of disciplines (not just the medical sciences) to gain a base of knowledge that prepares them for the intricacies of the legal process that follow identifying and securing a piece of evidence.

The Certified Medical Investigator program teaches members to conduct superior independent medical investigations; to identify and gather evidence while protecting the forensic scene; to interpret relevant case law, reports, analyses, and evidence to write comprehensive, accurate, unbiased reports; to provide credible, defensible testimony in a court of law; to develop critical thinking skills crucial to forensic investigation; and to understand foundational anatomy and physiology, a skill-base crucial to medical investigation.

The CMI program is unique and outstanding as compared to other training and certification programs available in this field because ACFEI is founded on the understanding that forensics is not a single specialty, but a diverse spectrum of experts who share a common need in their understanding of the forensic process. ACFEI provides an opportunity for all types of professionals to establish and maintain the expert skills required to navigate the complicated and challenging American judicial system.

Certified in Homeland Security, CHS, Program

After the events of September 11, 2001, ACFEI immediately saw the link between forensics and homeland security. Dr. O'Block and ACFEI's staff and members quickly began planning and organizing, and in early 2003 ACFEI launched the Certified in Homeland Security, CHS, program. This innovative program allowed qualified professionals to earn certification in homeland security at CHS Levels I, II, and III based on a combination of points earned through Homeland Security-related experience, training, knowledge, skill and education. Two pinnacle levels of certification, CHS-IV and CHS-V are attainable only through the successful completion of in-depth Homeland Security courses and exams provided by prominent CHS instructors at ACFEI's educational meetings.

The truly unique aspect of the CHS program is its dedication developing multi-disciplinary Certified Homeland Security Preparation and Response Teams (CHS P&R Teams) all across the country. Their purpose is to develop proactive support units to assist, supplement, and collaborate with all First Responder agencies, groups and organizations to achieve the maximum degree of preparedness to anticipate, prevent and respond to acts of terrorism in order to protect our nation, families and communities. Each CHS P&R Team is led by an overall Team Coordinator, plus a Team Leader for each Division.

Coordination and communication between CHS members is facilitated by the official CHS newsletter Inside Homeland Security, which features interviews with the nations leading experts in Homeland Security, updates on the most recent developments on the Homeland Security front, and information on recent happenings and events within the Certified in Homeland Security program.

The CHS organization has grown dramatically quickly, and the first Certified in Homeland Security National Conference took place in Washington, D.C. in 2004. The second CHS National Conference will be held in San Diego, California, in late 2005.

The Certified Forensic Consultant, CFC, Course

The Certified Forensic Consultant, CFC, program, which is a requirement for Diplomate status, trains ACFEI members in the fine points of being forensic consultants. In launching this program n 2004, ACFEI continued its mission to provide continued advancement of forensic examination and consultation across the many professional fields of its membership. This course and examination teaches forensic professionals both ethics and jurisprudence and tests their knowledge of the field of law. The intensive study and examination are designed to prepare forensic professionals to be successful in court as they take part in the adversarial system of American jurisprudence.

The Certified Forensic Nurse, CFN, program

Always striving to be on the cutting edge of the forensic fields, in 2004 ACFEI introduced the Certified Forensic Nurse, CFN, course and exam. The CFN program was created when nurses who were members of ACFEI expressed a particular need and desire for an international certification program in the area of general forensic nursing practice. The comprehensive CFN course and examination were created to meet this need with the guidance and wisdom of the prominent forensic nursing professionals serving on the CFN Development Committee, a subgroup of the American Board of Forensic Nursing (ABFN) and ACFEI . The CFN course and examination address the common core of knowledge, skill, and abilities that all professional forensic nurses must possess, including the history of forensic nursing; violence and victimology; injury identification, interpretation, and documentation; criminalistics and forensic science; and nursing and the law/legal interface.

The CFN program is unique from other forensic nurse training programs because, instead of teaching just one specific area of nursing or forensics, it provides a comprehensive overview that teaches and tests the complete body of knowledge and training that a successful, competent, and capable forensic nurse must have. The CFN course supplements the education and experience of candidates, expanding their capability and credibility as forensic nurses and witnesses in the medical and legal arenas.

EXPANDING PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

Over the years, Dr. O'Block has used his creativity and drive to continually expand the programs and services he offers through his different associations and businesses. Today he holds over 28 Federal Trademarks, including the following:

AMERICAN BOARD OF FORENSIC EXAMINERS

CERTIFIED FORENSIC PHYSICIAN

CERTIFIED MEDICAL INVESTIGATOR

CONSULTANT'S REVENUE & PRACTICE MANAGEMENT

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE "THE MEDICAL SOCIETY FOR THE 21ST CENTURY"

THE AMERICAN BOARD FOR CERTIFICATION IN HOMELAND SECURITY, CHS

INSIDE HOMELAND SECURITY

CERTIFIED CRISIS INTERVENER, CCI

American Psychotherapy Association

Preserving the Tradition of Over 100 Years APA American Psychotherapy Association

AMERICAN BOARD OF EXAMINERS IN CRISIS INTERVENTION

CERTIFIED FORENSIC ACCOUNTANT CR.F.A.

AMERICAN BOARD OF FORENSIC COUNSELOR CERTIFIED

FORENSIC CONSULTANT, CFC

CERTIFIED FORENSIC NURSE, CFN

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF FORENSIC EXAMINERS A.C.F.E. A LOYAL AND TRUSTWORTHY MEMBER SCIENCE INTEGRITY JUSTICE

AMERICAN BOARD OF FORENSIC ACCOUNTING A.B.F.A. A LOYAL AND TRUSTWORTHY MEMBER SCIENCE INTEGRITY JUSTICE

AMERICAN BOARD OF FORENSIC ENGINEERING & TECHNOLOGY A.B.F.E.T. A LOYAL AND TRUSTWORTHY MEMBE SCIENCE-INTEGRITY-JUSTICE

AMERICAN BOARD OF FORENSIC NURSING A.B.F.N. A LOYAL AND TRUSTWORTHY MEMBER SCIENCE INTEGRITY JUSTICE

AMERICAN BOARD OF LAW ENFORCEMENT EXPERTS A.B.L.E.E. A LOYAL AND TRUSTWORTHY MEMBER SCIENCE INTEGRITY JUSTICE

AMERICAN BOARD OF FORENSIC SOCIAL WORKERS A.B.F.S.W. A LOYAL AND TRUSTWORTHY MEMBER SCIENCE INTEGRITY JUSTICE

DIPLOMATE AMERICAN BOARD OF FORENSIC SOCIAL WORKERS

THE AMERICAN BOARD PSYCHOLOGICAL SPECIALTIES

THE FORENSIC EXAMINER

AMERICAN BOARD OF FORENSIC EXAMINERS

AMERICAN BOARD OF FORENSIC MEDICINE

AMERICAN BOARD OF RECORDED EVIDENCE

AMERICAN BOARD OF FORESNIC DENTISTRY

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

ACFEI is a dynamic, ever-changing, and ever-growing orgainzation. For the most up-to-date information on the orgainzation, visit www.ACFEI.com.

SOME PARTING WORDS FROM ACFEI MEMBERS

"From the time I first joined the ACFEI I have been proud to be a member, a Life Fellow and a Diplomate of our American Board of Forensic Examiners certified in my major specialties. I have watched with great pleasure as our College has grown from a small society to its present commanding position in the forensic sciences. I particularly have appreciated Dr. O'Block's emphasis on ethics in our College and his vision and leadership in pioneering the development of standards for, and subsequent Board certification in important forensic specialties within the general field. As these have become available I have taken full advantage of these opportunities to gain expertise recognition which has been extremely important and useful in my consult­ing practice in medicine and law. I also have watched with great appreciation the evolution of our journal, The Forensic Examiner, into a scientific publication unique in its field. I only wish I had more opportunity to have helped in our growth."

– John H. Seipel, Ph.D., M.D., J.D., Esq. FCP, FRCM, FLM, , DABETS, DABFE, DABFM, DABPS, DABLEE

"It is amazing how fast, how large and how diverse The American College of Forensic Examiners has grown in such a short period of time. When I first joined, it was a small group of professionals most y focused on forensic handwriting and behavioral profiling through handwriting. When I became a Fellow of the Board, I had no concept of what was in store for this group. I just knew that I wanted to be part of and support the organization I saw at that time. Now, we are a diverse group of professionals representing 11 different affiliated boards. I am very proud to be a member of such a distinguished group of professionals."

– Larry J. Arszman, MS, CPP, FACFEI Senior Manager- Security Operations Corporate Security Division, The Procter and Gamble Company

"Yes, as recently reaffirmed, I am one of the original ACFEI charter members. You recall, however, in those days it was first known as the American Board of Forensic Handwriting Analysts. I remember meeting you for the first time as we both attended the US. Secret Service Questioned Document Course at the Federal Law Enforcement Academy in Glynco, Georgia. That was in 1992. My first impression of you was that you were somewhat of a highly educated geek Needless to say, my typical police officer cynicism was immediately dismissed when I got to know you. You and I were on the committee to design that stupid class T-shirt. Remember that? It was through that relationship I learned you were soliciting, yes, soliciting members for a new fangled forensic organization you were attempting to establish. Reverting back to my police cynicism, I thought. "Man, this Dr. O'Block guy has got to be one of the most aggressive people I have ever met. And, a Ph.D. at his young age? Give me a break! I think I'll just go ahead and join this handwriting association he's trying to start It can't hurt."

Never in a lifetime would I had expected what would come in the years to follow From those early beginnings, ACFEI has grown to nearly 10,000 strong worldwide. Once again, "Give me a break! Bob O'Block has got to be amazing." And I thought ACFEI was just going to be an association of handwriting analyst. Could I have been any more wrong?!

My membership with the American College of Forensic Examiners, and now, additionally, with the American Board of Law Enforcement Experts, has proven very important to my career as a fraud investigator and handwriting analyst. And to think, for me, it all started while working with Dr. O'Block on a class T-shirt project back in 1992. Yet, here I m, gratefully a charter member of the largest forensic membership organization in the world. Wow. Thanks, Bob!"

– Inv. Larry C. Liebscher, Handwriting Analyst Financial Crimes Unit, Redding Police Department Redding, California

"To be a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Medicine demonstrates to all that a professional has met a high level of ethical and expert standards m the medical/legal field. This is crucial in meeting the challenges that exist in today's litigious and complex society."

– Jay A. Rosenblum, M.D., DABFE, DABFM

"The links between psychiatry and the judicial system are becoming increasingly complex, reflecting the society and age in which we live. Having spent many years as a Staff psychiatrist m a state hospital including coverage for acute admissions, as well as working as a staff psychiatrist for major urban parole outpatient clinic, the need for improved understanding and rapport between these significant fields is apparent. I believe that the American College of Forensic Examiners forms one such important link, affording members a unique opportunity to increase their knowledge, and to interact with multi-disciplinary colleagues who face similar challenges. As we move into the 21st century and face new challenges in forensics, membership in the American Board of Forensic Examiners will become increasingly important."

– Fred Afrasiabi, M.D., M.P.H., DABFE, DABFMY

Dr. Rosengard Photo

David E. Rosengard, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Author: A Brief History of Robert O'Block and the ACFEI