Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dr. Karen Ramey Burns

A Guest Reflection by Dr. Patrick Ball, Benetech's Chief Scientist

I am terribly sad to learn today of the untimely death of a friend and mentor, Dr. Karen Ramey Burns. Kar was a forensic anthropologist who specialized in human rights cases, and she was a founder of our Colombian partner organization EQUITAS). Over the last 17 years, Kar and I crossed paths in Haiti, Guatemala, Colombia, and many times at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS. She did amazing work, from dressing pigs in human clothing and leaving them on Colombian hillsides to measure how dogs and other animals disturb human remains, to putting uniquely identified titanium screws in human bones to learn how crabs move remains on Pacific islands. Every time we met, she had a story that taught me a little more about scientific ingenuity, integrity, and persistence. The Benetech Human Rights Program will greatly miss her warmth, wit, and guidance in the application of science to human rights.

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