DHA selects first female AFMES director
By Staff Sgt. Nicole Leidholm, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System
/ Published February 28, 2020
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Alice Briones, Armed Forces Medical Examiner System deputy director, has been named director of AFMES, effective February 21, 2020, making Briones the first female director.
U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, Defense Health Agency director, selected Briones after she served as deputy director of AFMES since April 2017.
“Dr. Briones brings a tremendous level of experience and capabilities to AFMES,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, Defense Health Agency director. “She has done an outstanding job serving as the deputy director and I look forward to her continued leadership in the role as director. AFMES does so much to positively impact our nation.”
As director of AFMES, Briones leads an organization of approximately 300 military, civilian and contractor personnel who provide comprehensive services in forensic pathology, forensic toxicology, DNA technology and identification and mortality surveillance for the Department of Defense.
“It’s an honor to be selected as the new director of AFMES,” said Briones. “There’s no greater place to work, than beside the men and women of AFMES.”
Briones enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Combat Medic in 1990 and completed basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. She attended the University of Maine, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Clinical Laboratory Medicine in 1994 and earned certification as a Medical Technologist. In 1995, she was commissioned in the United States Air Force as a biomedical sciences corps laboratory officer.
She has served in many roles throughout her career, such as assistant chief of lab operations and squadron section commander at Luke AFB, Arizona, and chief of lab operations at Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts.
“It has been an arduous road with numerous sacrifices and challenges from both my family and myself to get to where I am today,” said Briones. “I hope to be an inspiration to all the women in the military, science and medical fields as well as working mothers.”
Briones received the Health Profession Scholarship Program from the Air Force and attended the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Erie, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in 2005. She then completed her residency in Clinical and Anatomic Pathology at the University of Rochester Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, New York, from 2005 to 2009 and completed a Forensic Pathology Fellowship with the Office of the Medical Examiner, Albuquerque, New Mexico from 2009 to 2010.
Briones joined AFMES as deputy medical examiner in Rockville, Maryland in 2010, and Dover AFB, Delaware, and was appointed director of the DoD DNA Registry in 2014, coordinating services in both the Armed Forces Repository of Specimen Storage for Identification of Remains and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory.
Briones succeeds directorship from U.S. Army Col. Louis Finelli, who had been the AFMES director since June 2016.
“I look forward to leading this great organization into the future and exceeding the standard in forensic sciences for our greatest stakeholders – the families,” said Briones.