STEVEN LACEY, PHD, CIH, CSP,is AIHA president and chair of Environmental Health Science at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He can be reached at (317) 274-3120 or
Supporting the Next Generation
BY STEVEN LACEY, AIHA PRESIDENT
If you missed the article “Becoming Industrial Hygienists” in the September
Synergist, I encourage you to read it the next chance you get. The article presents excerpts from the applications of five young women and men who received scholarships from the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation (AIHF) for the 2016–2017 school year. For experienced professionals, reading these statements is an excellent reminder of what it’s like to be just starting out in our careers, and it will reassure you that our profession is in very capable hands with the next generation of occupational hygienists.
The AIHF scholarship application asked students to explain why they’re seeking an IH degree and to describe their future plans in the profession. Several of the students said that their own work experiences or those of a family member or loved one inspired their interest in worker health. One student wrote how summers spent working in his grandfather’s auto body shop helped him recognize thermal hazards and exposures to aerosols. Another student recalled the difficulty of conversing with her father and grandfather, who both had noise-induced hearing loss from careers in construction and mining. And another wrote that her experience as a linguist in the military introduced her to the importance of workplace culture in keeping people healthy and safe.
It’s clear that once these students supplement their obvious intelligence, thoughtfulness, and understanding of work environments with academic preparation in IH, they’ll be tremendous assets to the profession. In the spirit of the holiday season, I am thankful that they’ve chosen our profession, and I look forward to their contributions to protecting worker health.
AIHF is the only foundation of its kind that gives scholarships to up-and-coming industrial hygiene professionals. Since 1982, AIHF has contributed more than $1.8 million toward the education of 625 students studying industrial hygiene and related disciplines.
ONE-OF-A-KIND FOUNDATIONFor those of us whose college days are long past, reading the statements of current Foundation scholars might also help us remember how contingent education is on money. These students are capable and intelligent—but without the support of Foundation scholarships, they would have a much harder time pursuing their goals in our profession.
AIHF is the only foundation of its kind that gives scholarships to up-and-coming industrial hygiene professionals. Since 1982, AIHF has contributed more than $1.8 million toward the education of 625 students studying industrial hygiene and related disciplines. Every year, AIHF scholarships help talented students complete their education and encourage the most promising scholars to enter or remain in the IH profession.
Support for the Foundation has never been stronger. For the 2015–2016 scholarship cycle, donors contributed more than $226,000. Their generosity has helped establish seven new scholarships and one new grant program over the past year.
Part of that generosity stems from two wonderful traditions related to AIHce. Many of you are probably already aware of the annual AIHF Fun Run/Walk, a fundraising event held at the conference every year since 1983—this is going to be a great time next year in Seattle! Less well known is the tradition of PDC instructors donating their stipends to the Foundation. So far in 2016, instructors have contributed more than $15,000 to AIHF—if you will be presenting at AIHce 2017, please consider doing the same.
WAYS TO SUPPORT AIHFIf you haven’t yet contributed to the Foundation this year, you can
contribute online, or you can make a donation as part of your membership renewal. Even small, consistent contributions can do a tremendous amount of good.
Many of our Local Sections give consistently to AIHF or have set up scholarships of their own through the Foundation. I encourage Local Sections not currently supporting AIHF to explore this as a first order of business in the new year.
If you have a government job, you now have a new way to contribute to the Foundation. AIHF is now a charitable organization listed with the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Through Dec. 15, federal workers, government contractors, and members of the military can support the work of AIHF by using its CFC number, 87198. For more information, visit
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