CHRISTINE A.D. LORENZO, CIH,
is president of AIHA and safety and occupational
health manager for federal and state operations at OSHA.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (720) 264-6572
In September, I was privileged to be part of the first AIHA-led occupational health delegation to China. Our delegation included representatives from AIHA, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH), and the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). From September 23 through 25, we attended the 7th China International Occupational Safety & Health Exhibition, also known as COS+H, which was held in Beijing and welcomed more than 1,000 delegates. It is the largest health and safety conference in China. At COS+H, I was honored to give a short keynote address, along with Dr. David Michaels, who participated on behalf of OSHA, and other international speakers. I also had the pleasure of opening and chairing the technical session on occupational safety and health management and practices. AIHA Secretary Charles Redinger and I spoke at the International Seminar on Pneumoconiosis Prevention and Treatment, an event held concurrently with COS+H. And I had the opportunity to meet with key officials from several Chinese governmental and industry organizations, including the China Association of Work Safety (CAWS), the China Occupational Safety and Health Association (COSHA), and the State Administration for Work Safety (SAWS).
Following the conclusion of COS+H, AIHA hosted a half-day interactive workshop in Shanghai for 110 occupational health and safety representatives across several industries. The meeting focused on global IH trends and key issues in China. AIHA is grateful to Dow for allowing us to hold the workshop in their facility and to AIHA’s ambassadors to China, William Zhu and Joey Yang, who were instrumental in planning the meeting. LANDMARK MOMENT Our participation in these events represents a landmark moment in our long-developing and increasingly fruitful relationship with occupational health professionals in China. AIHA first reached out to our Chinese counterparts in the mid-1990s as part of an international initiative. In the 2000s, our Board decided to prioritize engagement with China, India, and a few other countries. Staff and Board members have traveled to China for various events and meetings over the years, signaling our desire to engage with Chinese authorities in occupational health and to offer our expertise in helping them address their industrial hygiene challenges.
Our dedication to helping our Chinese colleagues improve their technical skills is one reason why China’s National Center for International Cooperation and Work Safety (NCICS) invited AIHA to be one of three organizations—and the only organization based in the U.S.—to sponsor this year’s COS+H event. The other sponsors were the International Social Security Association (ISSA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Needless to say, AIHA was honored by the invitation and the opportunity to stand with such highly regarded organizations as ISSA and ILO.
NEW WEBSITE The invitation was, among other things, a vitally important public relations opportunity. AIHA made the most of it by launching our new Chinese website, www.AIHAChina.org, a few days before COS+H got underway. The website, a scaled-down version of AIHA.org translated into Mandarin, will help us provide our members in China with further information and opportunities to expand their scientific knowledge.
This new site would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of our professional staff in China, Maria Tong and Paul Zhai. Synergist readers may not be aware that Maria and Paul have been serving as AIHA’s “eyes and ears on the ground” in China. They have been especially valuable in helping AIHA Board members understand China’s environment and culture, and will continue to play a key role in building our relationships with Chinese officials. Maria is also managing a Chinese IH advisory group on behalf of AIHA. A PATIENT APPROACH In the next 12 to 18 months, China is expected to release its next five-year plan, which sets priorities throughout the government. All indications are that occupational health will figure prominently in that plan. Thanks to our patient approach to nurturing relationships and our reputation for delivering world-class education, AIHA is well positioned to help China reach its goals—and ultimately to improve the health of millions of workers.
AIHA’s China Delegation
BY CHRISTINE A.D. LORENZO, AIHA PRESIDENT
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