The AIHA Partnership
AIHA is truly a partnership of members, volunteer leaders, and staff, and this past year we’ve had many successes. This month’s column, my final one as AIHA president, shares some of the progress we’ve made together.
BYLAWS REVISIONS One of our major efforts has been revising AIHA’s bylaws. Some of the proposed changes are housekeeping, but others are more substantial. Specifically, we have considered changes to the nominating process to address the problem of finding candidates for officer positions. You’ve told us that you’d like a more open, transparent process for nominations. In response, we will be revising our policies (member login required) for constituting the 2018–2019 Nominating Committee to include an open call to the AIHA membership for at-large members and reexamining our criteria for candidate selection. Self-nomination and nomination-by-petition continue to be paths to nomination.  We are continuing to evaluate approaches to address the challenges outlined in my March column, in which I stated, “Due to time constraints and retirements from active practice, fewer qualified candidates have been willing in recent years to participate in contested elections for the AIHA Board.” We are considering several options and will be seeking your opinions at AIHce in Philadelphia and through other survey methods. Please let us know what you think. The proposed bylaws will be presented to the membership on a special ballot this summer.  INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY AIHA has learned many valuable lessons in the past decade about operating effectively in the international arena. We are moving deliberately toward developing a long-term strategy that, in collaboration with our partners both in the United States and abroad, will allow us to expand our business operations in specific regions, while at the same time making a real difference in countries that can benefit from our expertise and experience. I recently visited India to attend conferences of the Indian Association of Occupational Health and the Central Industrial Hygiene Association. We’re developing a draft strategy for activities in India and a memorandum of understanding that includes IAOH and CIHA, both of which have asked for our assistance in providing advanced industrial hygiene training.  STUDENTS DON’T BELONG IN EMERGENCY ROOMS Imagine entire school districts where students aren’t in schools—they’re in emergency rooms. Effectively, this is the reality for working teens and young adults. Each year, approximately 60,000 students are rushed to the emergency room, and 40 will die from work-related injuries. AIHA’s members refuse to let the status quo lull us into complacency. Building on work begun by NIOSH, we are partnering with the agency to bring the "Youth@Work – Talking Safety" and "Safety Matters" programs to students across the country. In addition, many of our members are working with policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels to encourage adoption of "Youth@Work – Talking Safety" into curricula for grades seven through twelve. Successes include the enactment of legislation in Texas and Oklahoma, and the recent creation of the Teen Workplace Safety Task Force, whose focus is to coordinate local section efforts in pursuit of clearly defined, culturally appropriate goals. Member Thomas Smith recently worked with the president of a local chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers, a state senator, and the state superintendent of education to get "Safety Matters" into the 2018–2019 curriculum for high school students in Utah. Check out his post to the SynergistNow blog, “Safety Matters in Utah: Who Knew Making a Difference Could Be So Easy?” With your involvement, your state could be next to help prepare students for the hazards they may face in the workplace and inform them about a gratifying career path.  LOCAL SECTIONS AIHA’s CEO Larry Sloan and the entire Board of Directors have demonstrated renewed commitment to the continued success of our local sections. There has been significant improvement in communication between our local sections, including student local sections, the Local Section Council, the AIHA Board liaisons, and AIHA staff. This increased communication has resulted in better relationships and teamwork on initiatives such as updating the Local Section Memorandum of Understanding and the Local Section Council Bylaws, and on developing the concept of a virtual section that complements our traditional local sections.  WOMEN IN IH Following an open forum on the topic of women in industrial hygiene at AIHce EXP 2017 in Seattle, AIHA formed a Women in IH Working Group. The group’s mission is to “provide a platform for professional women to support career development, to promote leadership skills, and to share information relevant to women working in industrial hygiene.” The group has held multiple educational sessions, and another forum is scheduled for AIHce in Philadelphia. Virtual meetings have been planned so that individuals who can’t attend the in-person meetings will have a way to contribute. If you are interested in this group, read Stacey Croghan’s post to SynergistNow and visit their community on Catalyst (member login required). KEEPING AIHA’S CONTENT EVERGREEN The Content Portfolio Management Team was assembled in 2013 to identify the most important content priorities for AIHA, based on feedback from our members and environmental scans. This past year, the CPMT “graduated” to the Content Portfolio Advisory Group, with responsibility for advising the Board on identifying new content, reviewing existing content, and prioritizing content. AIHA’s current priority areas include sensor technologies; occupational exposure banding/OELs; changing work force/total worker exposure; global standard of care; IH business case/value of the profession; and big data/data management. CPAG has developed a dashboard on the AIHA website for each focus area, with the goal of challenging our volunteer groups to propose content and projects designed to move the profession and the association forward. The process for proposal submission and review is available on the AIHA website. One key to successful proposal requests is for volunteer groups to coordinate with both AIHA staff and their Board liaison. For more information, visit the CPAG web pageCANNABIS In the March 2017 Synergist, the article “Growing Pains” highlighted the legal cannabis industry and described its remarkable growth. Consumer spending on cannabis products is expected to grow from $6.9 billion in 2016 to more than $21 billion in 2021, with more than 250,000 new jobs created by 2020. AIHA has recognized the assessment of OEHS hazards in the industry as one of its public policy priorities for 2017–2018 and onward. A new AIHA Government Relations Group Task Force on cannabis industry health and safety will present a two-part session at AIHce EXP 2018 in Philadelphia—please be sure to join them for what will be an interesting and informative session. 
The Board is committed to examining not only what we do, but how we do it.
DEBORAH IMEL NELSON, PhD, CIH, is president of AIHA. She can be reached at (720) 587-7500 or via email.

The AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs, LLC is recognizing that the demand for proper laboratory testing of cannabis and cannabis products will continue to grow and that any cannabis testing should always be done by an accredited testing laboratory. AIHA-LAP supports and encourages policymakers to include in any cannabis proposals specific requirements that laboratory testing be conducted in accordance with general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration activities. AIHA-LAP is positioning itself to make an impact in this area now and in the future through its ability to accredit such cannabis testing laboratories under its Unique Scopes Program. BOARD CULTURAL VALUES The Board is committed to examining not only what we do, but how we do it. We’re focusing first on collaboration and diversity as important cultural values for the Board and are exploring ways we can weave those values into our actions. Future Board meetings will explore integrity, trust, engagement, efficiency, responsiveness, civility, and transparency. We plan to invite members representing different stakeholder groups to share their ideas on how we can best put those values into action.  LOOKING AHEAD This column summarizes where AIHA has been in the past year. Where will we go next, and how will we get there? The Strategic Planning Task Force is well on its way to updating AIHA’s 2016–2018 strategic plan for the next phase of AIHA’s success. A diverse team of members is building objectives, strategies, and metrics for each of our domains: community, awareness, advancement and dissemination of knowledge, integrity of IH practice, and advocacy. The Board will discuss the final draft at its July 2018 meeting.  When I joined AIHA in 1977, I never dreamed that someday I’d serve as AIHA president. Thank you for giving me that opportunity to partner with you. You’ve supported me, challenged me, answered my questions, corrected me, and often shown me a better way to do things. Let’s continue the conversation.