SPECIAL SECTION
2017 AIHA ELECTIONS
DIRECTOR (Two to be elected)
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Bret M. Clausen, CIH, CSP, CHMM, ARM Director – Corporate aHSSE&Q Talent and Technical Services CH2M Hill Constructors, Inc. Loveland, Colo.
 
I believe we must improve our outreach to penetrate multiple audiences in order to increase awareness of industrial hygiene. This awareness needs to clearly and concisely explain the benefits provided to society by the services of the profession, and target junior high and high school students to build interest in STEM education, with a graded shift to more focus on industrial hygiene as a specific STEM field professional opportunity in high school and on into higher education. Millennials tend to want instant gratification, so demonstrating tangible benefits of practicing industrial hygiene to society, while providing opportunity for good compensation and great flexibility in where they work and the kinds of challenges available, can be key to attracting their attention and guiding them into the pathway to practicing industrial hygiene. A parallel but inescapable issue that must be recognized and addressed is the changing reality of the scope of practitioners’ activities. More and more industrial hygienists are actively involved in safety, environmental protection, product stewardship, etc. We must embrace this changing reality openly and incorporate it into the outreach described above. If we do so effectively, I believe it will enhance our ability to attract more of the best and brightest to become industrial hygiene practitioners.
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CDR Bradley S. King, PhD, MPH, CIH Senior Industrial Hygienist U.S. Public Health Service NIOSH, Western States Division Denver, Colo.
It’s been my experience that personal connections often yield the greatest success in increasing awareness of the field and recruiting new professionals. An “I.H. Ambassadors” program could be developed to identify and select industrial hygienists willing to make those personal connections at local schools and universities for students with little knowledge of the field. These local ambassadors could showcase not just the field, but the meaningful impact their work as an industrial hygienist has had on others’ lives. Outreach materials have been developed and could be utilized to supplement their personal stories with great examples of engaging work performed by industrial hygiene leaders, including Board members. We must remain cognizant of growing widespread concerns among young people about the increasing amounts of student debt incurred while pursuing their education. Further work to enhance and enlarge available scholarships and to advertise the availability of funds to students who may not know these resources exist is vital. In this way, interested students can know they have financially viable opportunities to pursue their education. In exchange for this support, young professionals who received scholarship support (particularly from sources such as the AIHA Foundation) could be utilized as one source of I.H. Ambassadors, returning on occasion to their alma maters or local schools, highlighting their educational journey and inspiring young students to follow suit.
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Pamela A. Kostle, MS, CIH, FAIHA Industrial Hygiene Program Manager University of Wisconsin Madison Environmental & Occupational Health Madison, Wis.
As I reflected on the question of what will it take to get the next generation of professionals engaged, there were several key themes that kept coming to mind—AIHA must provide a welcoming, fun, collaborative, learning environment for those who will lead our organization in the future. Fun? Sometimes we become so engaged in the science we forget about the fun aspect. AIHA has programming in several areas for the student and early career professionals that provide a solid foundation to build upon. AIHA’s 2016–2018 strategic plan mentions a PAL-like program for young professionals. The PAL program has been personally rewarding, and, similar to early career professionals, first-time attendees are anxious to learn and optimize their AIHce experience. Like the PAL program, pairing early career professionals with a liaison is important; however, many cannot attend AIHce. Consider a kickoff event of the program by engaging collaborating organizations, AIHA committees, and local section members to gather for an AIHA webinar where liaisons and early career professionals attend. An intriguing suggestion from a student/early career professional for engagement was to offer a reduction in AIHce registration for the chair of the local section. To strengthen this suggestion, consider AIHce registration fee reduction for the outgoing chair of committees and local sections that meet their goals for the year.
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Michele M. Twilley, DrPH, CIH President Aria Environmental, Inc. Sykesville, Md.
Our profession offers a high degree of altruistic and ethical value to its practitioners. We need to share this value proposition with people considering industrial hygiene as a career. Instead, we rely on explaining our profession using the industrial hygiene paradigm and describe ourselves in terms of the work process. But what do we really do? We help people live safe and productive lives free of unacceptable risk from hazards in workplaces and communities. We make a positive difference, and we do so with high ethical standards. These two qualities speak to the need many millennials and early career professionals have to make a positive difference in the world. Couple the altruism in our profession with the last decade’s focus on STEM and we should have a population of interested and poised professionals entering the field of industrial hygiene.
We need to work on our identity to get the next generation of professionals engaged. No matter what we call ourselves, we need to make our brand and value proposition known. We must be accessible to technology-savvy prospects considering IH careers and college choices. Additionally, exposure to industrial hygiene coursework in the undergraduate environment and quality mentoring are key to helping cultivate and sustain interest in the profession.

thesynergist | TOC | NEWSWATCH | DEPARTMENTS | COMMUNITY
What Kind of Near-miss Was Ebola? As I write this in mid-October 2014, Americans are still getting used to the new and scary risk of Ebola. Ebola fears led to a number of airline passengers being yanked off planes because they exhibited flu-like symptoms and had some connection, however remote, to Africa. So far they’ve all tested negative for Ebola. If that remains true, the number of such disruptions will soon decline precipitously. 
Are these events warnings that we should continue to take seriously, “casting a wide net” to reduce the odds of missing an actual Ebola case onboard? Or are they false alarms that we should learn to stop worrying about? Most experts, officials, and journalists say they’re false alarms. But that answer will change in hindsight if a traveler from West Africa ever infects some fellow passengers with Ebola.
Ebola also offers an object lesson in learned overconfidence. The discovery that two nurses were infected with the virus while treating an Ebola sufferer at a Dallas hospital raised many questions. Did the nurses breach PPE protocols? Were the protocols insufficiently protective in the first place? Is it realistic to expect healthcare workers to be 100 percent meticulous in following such protocols? 
One relevant fact: every nurse has considerable experience with breaches of infection control protocols that didn’t end in infection. And all too often the lesson learned isn’t that “We need to be more meticulous.” It is that “Infection control is pretty forgiving. Even when we mess up, it doesn’t usually do any harm.” Then along comes a much less forgiving pathogen, Ebola, and learned overconfidence becomes life-threatening.
Peter Sandman