ALICE HAMILTON AWARD Established in 1993, AIHA’s Alice Hamilton Award honors an outstanding woman who has made a lasting achievement in the field of occupational and environmental hygiene through public and community service, social reform, technological innovation, and advancements in the scientific approach to recognition, evaluation, and control of workplace hazards. The complete list of Hamilton awardees is available on the AIHA website. The 2015 Alice Hamilton awardee is Renee Anthony, PhD, CIH, of Iowa City, Iowa. She is a professor at the University of Iowa College of Public Health. What significance does receiving this award hold for you?
I am honored to be recognized by the industrial hygiene community for this award. I have always had great respect for Dr. Hamilton, and every fall we introduce her work to incoming students across all occupational health disciplines. In addition, the previous awardees are truly distinguished occupational health professionals, several of whom have provided guidance to me throughout my career, and I am honored to be in the same category as them. Which professional development course (PDC) was your favorite to teach and why? While I have taught in many PDCs over time, the size-selective aerosol sampling class has been a favorite. While many professionals understand that respirable sampling is important to characterize exposures to only the smaller particles, many still do not understand that the inhalable sampler is designed to collect more particles than the traditional 37-mm closed-face cassette (the classic “total” dust sampler). For the week at AIHce following the PDC, I enjoy running into attendees who make the air-quotes sign to indicate they understood that the “total” sample is missing some of the real total aerosol that may be inhaled by workers. What is your involvement with AIHA’s Student and Early Career Professionals Committee (SECP) and how do you see it growing in the next few years? I have been involved with this committee since it began in 2005. Our initial mission was to promote the profession to youth and undergraduates who have probably never heard of the field, while also supporting hygiene students who are in their field of study and those who have recently begun their professional career. The committee has made great strides in mentoring graduate students, improving relations between student and local AIHA sections, and providing professional support to those just starting their careers. It is extremely rewarding to see our recent hygiene graduates participating in SECP activities, taking active roles in mentoring new students, and participating in roundtables to share lessons-learned with the next generation of IH professionals. I hope to see more professionals participate in SECP outreach activities, where a coordinated effort is underway to make classroom materials available to AIHA members to facilitate in-class IH demonstrations that fit into traditional K-12 science curricula. The hope is to stimulate interest in STEM while promoting our profession to the next generation. What advice would you give to a young woman in the field of IH/OH? First, I congratulate them on selecting a rewarding field! My main advice is to work on self-confidence. The best way to build confidence is to do your research, ask questions, and consider all the evidence when making a decision. If you truly don’t know something, realize that you have an entire profession at your disposal to help you make the best decision possible. If you don’t have experts within your own workplace, you need to identify a mentor to help you develop your skills and build confidence in your actions and decisions so that you can make significant improvements in the health of the people you serve.
Mark of Excellence
Editor’s note: The Mark of Excellence is a monthly feature, special to the digital Synergist, that honors the recipients of the 2015 AIHA and ACGIH awards. Two individuals will be featured each month.
Renee Anthony, PhD, CIH