Missouri Emergency Response Identification Team

Announced Monday, March 16 — The MERIT meeting previously scheduled has been cancelled. A reschedule date may be offered, but it is unknown at this time. 

The Missouri Emergency Response Identification Team (MERIT) is a statewide forensic dental team. It was born out of the "Great Flood of 1993," during which a small-town Missouri cemetery was washed away and required that scores of bodies be identified for re-interment. A cadre of forensic dentists was called in to perform forensic identification, mostly from outside the state. To provide a local resource for such disasters in the future, a state dental forensic team was formed.

Each year MERIT team members meet for a continuing education and an annual meeting. You are not required to be a member of the MERIT team to attend the CE course. The program is open to dentists, auxiliaries, students or anyone interested in learning about the MERIT program.

Speaker & Course Information

MariaTeresa A. Tersigni-Tarrant, PhD MariaTeresa A. Tersigni-Tarrant, PhD received her Bachelor’s in Microbiology and Anthropology from Michigan State University in 2000. She attended graduate school at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she received her Masters of Arts Degree in Physical Anthropology in 2002. She continued to pursue her doctorate at The University of Tennessee, with a dissertation entitled Serial Long Bone Histology: Inter and Intra Bone Age Estimation. Dr. Tersigni-Tarrant received her Doctorate in 2005. She was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship in 2005 working at the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command on Hickam AFB, Hawaii. During this fellowship, she was instrumental in establishing standard operating procedures for the histological analysis of human remains for the purpose of identifying missing armed-service members.  

Dr. Tersigni-Tarrant is board certified Forensic Anthropologist and currently serves in a dual role as the Chief Death investigator and Forensic Anthropologist for the St. Louis City Medical Examiner’s Office in St. Louis, Mo. She is retained as an expert outside consultant for the Department of Defense’s DPAA, as well as, serving as contract consultant for various other medicolegal entities in Missouri and Georgia. She was elected President of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology in 2019, a position which she continues to maintain. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, where she serves as the Co-Director of Forensic Education. She runs the Advanced and Basic Medicolegal Death Investigation Courses at SLUSOM and is the Course Director for the Autopsy Requirement for the Second Year Medical Students. Her research interests include bone biology; human and non-human histology, child and elder abuse: patterned fractures and timing of healing, human decomposition research, bone pathology and developmental anatomy.

  • Forensic Anthropology: An Introduction


If you have questions about this meeting please contact Mandy Lewis or call 573-634-3436.

cerpADA CERP Approved

The Missouri Dental Association is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals in identifying quality providers of continuing dental education. ADA CERP does not approve or endorse individual courses or instructors, nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours by boards of dentistry. Concerns or complaints about a CE provider may be directed to the provider or to ADA CERP at www.ada.org/cerp.