of Pathology (AFIP) in 1949. The number of new accessions continued to increase through the 1950s, reaching about 75,000 per year (Asterand, 2008). Institutional growth during the period included the introduction of branches in laboratory animals and in aerospace, forensic, and geographic aerospace pathology and expansions in military and civilian consultations and in educational and research programs (Stone, 2011). Over 200 research studies using biorepository materials were conducted in 1955–1960 alone (Stone, 2011).
Congress chartered the American Registry of Pathology (ARP) in 1976 (PL 94-361; 10 U.S.C. 177) to facilitate the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology’s (AFIP’s) interactions with the civilian medical community. A provision of the charter permitted ARP to receive fees for such services as education courses and consultations, with AFIP staff holding joint appointments with the two institutions (Stone, 2011). That cost-offsetting mechanism, which is not available to government entities, allowed further expansions in AFIP’s clinical care (in the form of consultations), education, and research activities and attracted a number of clinicians and investigators to its staff.
Scientific and technologic advances in such fields as DNA analysis, microscopy, and digital image processing spurred AFIP’s work in the 1980s and 1990s. The AFIP Department of Forensic Sciences became the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System (AFMES) in 1988. The Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory was absorbed into the AFMES 3 years later. That centralized system allowed surveillance of active-duty deaths and led to research into improvements in protective gear and emergency medicine.
The era also saw the establishment of the first of a series of war and cohort registries that were created at the direction of Congress or on the initiative of VA or the Department of Defense DoD (Baker personal communication, 2011a). They include registries addressing military personnel who participated in the Persian Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom; former prisoners of war; those who received a diagnosis of leishmaniasis; and those exposed to Agent Orange, depleted uranium, nerve agents, or embedded metal fragments (JPC, 2011). Unlike almost all the other material in the repository, data and specimens in the registries were collected according to research protocols that were reviewed by an institutional review board (Baker personal communication, 2011a).
As it entered the 21st century, the AFIP repository continued to serve as a major resource for the medical community, with its staff supplying education and diagnostic services and improving knowledge through research. Residency training, fellowships, postgraduate short courses, continuing education, and lectures were provided to both domestic and international medical professionals, while state-of-the-art technologies were utilized in making advances in pathology and other sciences (Stone, 2011). Notably, a team of