The #IAMIH Leadership Challenge

In February, 115 volunteers from AIHA local sections and committees attended the annual Leadership Workshop near the AIHA office in Falls Church, Va. This event helps incoming officers of our local sections develop their leadership skills, and every year it draws outstanding reviews from attendees. At the close of this year’s event, AIHA unveiled a new initiative that challenges volunteers—and, by extension, all members—to actively promote awareness of our association, occupational health and safety in general, and the safety of teenage workers in particular. It’s called the #IAMIH Leadership Challenge, and it encourages us to get creative in our outreach on behalf of the profession.
All of us have long recognized the need to promote IH/OH to workers and the general public, and AIHA has created several new tools that members can use to explain what we do. These tools are under the umbrella of our member-driven #IAMIH campaign. #IAMIH encompasses several exciting initiatives. One is the planned production of a short documentary film about industrial hygiene that will communicate to the lay public the important work we do. Another is IH Professional Pathway, a program that aligns AIHA resources with the different phases of a career in IH/OH. With
IH Professional Pathway
, AIHA’s marketing team has created a set of outreach tools to promote the profession to young people. These tools include what have come to be called “IH Heroes”—comic book characters whose interactions demonstrate the significance of IH. We’ve also partnered with NIOSH on “
Safety Matters
,” a program that teaches young people how to stay safe and healthy at work and introduces them to
what IH/OH professionals do
. These tools are professionally crafted and ready-made for presentation to various audiences, especially to high school students. All that’s needed is for volunteers to communicate the message. It is “micro-volunteering” in its truest form.
AIHA has created several new tools that members can use to explain what we do.
At Leadership Workshop, attendees were given an overview of these tools and a flash drive containing all of the materials for IH Heroes and Safety Matters. Their assignment is to engage their Local Sections and technical committees to use these tools to teach others about our profession and to document their efforts online through use of the
Twitter hashtag.
The challenge includes an element of friendly competition between regional areas. Each of AIHA’s 69 local sections is assigned to a
geographic region
. Every volunteer is encouraged to give at least one presentation to a local school or youth group. At the end of the year, AIHA will add up the number of presentations documented on Twitter. The three regions with the most documented presentations will be publicly recognized at the Mark of Excellence breakfast during AIHce EXP 2018 in Philadelphia and showcased in a 2018 issue of
The Synergist
When the #IAMIH Leadership Challenge was presented at Leadership Workshop, the excitement in the room was palpable. But the Challenge isn’t just for AIHA leaders—it’s for all of us. If you’ve ever been frustrated by our profession always being behind the scenes, the #IAMIH Leadership Challenge is your opportunity to do something about it. Contact your local section’s leaders and offer to help your region win the Challenge. Ask for it to be on your next meeting agenda. Sign up to bring the message of health and safety to your local school or youth group. At the very least, you’ll be eligible to receive continuing education credits for your presentation. And you’ll gain the satisfaction of knowing that you’re doing some good on behalf of the profession.

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