Reflections on AIHA’s New Branding and Outreach Initiatives 
More than a Logo
During AIHce EXP 2020, AIHA leadership revealed a change to the organization’s branding, including its tagline, logo, and the way the name of the organization is positioned to the public. This article reflects on AIHA’s history, mission, and role in the field of occupational and environmental health and safety, and discusses the impetus for the changes.  AIHA has a long history of supporting the industrial hygiene profession. The organization was founded in 1939 by non-physician members of the American Association of Industrial Physicians and Surgeons, which is presently known as the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The first AIHA insignia was designed and ultimately approved in 1942. In 1944, AIHA first attempted to influence U.S. legislation through advisement regarding the labeling of solvents as hazardous materials. In 1956, AIHA initiated a committee for industrial hygiene certification, which later led to the establishment of the American Board of Industrial Hygiene in 1959 (ABIH is now known as the Board for Global EHS Credentialing). The first Certified Industrial Hygiene examination was administered in 1963. The Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law in 1970, creating OSHA, NIOSH, and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). The industrial hygiene profession’s influence expanded with the creation of the International Occupational Hygiene Association in 1987 and with creation of an International Affiliate AIHA membership category in 2007. 
Considering the Industrial Revolution and the rise of an industrial U.S. through the early 1900s, the term
industrial hygiene
has been appropriate for professionals charged with ensuring conditions conducive to maintaining health and preventing disease. This responsibility is defined as
in industrial environments such as manufacturing facilities. The classic examples of an industrial hygienist measuring noise levels, performing air sampling for welding fumes, or measuring the velocity of local exhaust ventilation systems remain important, but the role of industrial hygienists has expanded into other professional areas since the rise of industry.  The focus of industrial hygiene on ensuring health and preventing disease in industrial environments implies exclusion of professional responsibilities related to protecting workers outside the workplace. Industrial hygienists have provided guidance on methods to identify, manage, and ultimately control risks associated with emergency response during accidental hazardous material releases, terrorist incidents, and natural disasters for both workers and the general population. A NIOSH health hazard evaluation report shows that during the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, industrial hygienists performed health and injury surveillance and exposure assessments among workers, performed outreach to vulnerable workers, and developed and disseminated occupational health information. Industrial hygienists performed assessments during the Deepwater Horizon response to describe acute health effects and evaluate exposures in qualitative and quantitative assessments. And industrial hygienists have been involved in the COVID-19 response by providing guidance on proper respiratory protection, education on health hazards from disinfectants, and information on general infection control practices.  The expansion of duties has reflected employment expectations. Historically, it may have been common for companies to hire an industrial hygienist, a safety manager, a radiation safety manager, and an environmental  compliance specialist and expect each to fill different positions. However, job announcements seeking professionals capable of performing in multiple roles and individuals with strong leadership and interpersonal skills are becoming increasingly common. As the lines continue to blur between specific health and safety specialties like industrial hygiene, health physics, and safety, individuals with a background in the sciences, experience in more than one area of health and safety, or certification will have the best prospects, according to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics. In addition, results of the Board of Certified Safety Professional’s salary surveys in the years 2013 and 2018 revealed that 25 percent and 26 percent, respectively, had two or more certifications, which suggests a need for practitioners to demonstrate competence in several specialties.  The expansion of job expectations also reflects academia, as most academic program ti
tles are more closely aligned with occupational health and safety than
industrial hygiene
Currently, 25 U.S. universities offer either masters- or bachelors-level ABET-accredited industrial hygiene programs, but only 44 percent (11 programs) include the title
industrial hygiene
in the degree name (however, some programs offer a specialization in industrial hygiene). Academic programs vary widely but include such titles as environmental and occupational health, occupational exposure science, occupational health science, occupational health, and occupational safety and health, among others. 
Despite the term
industrial hygiene
having a strong historical link with improvements in protecting worker health, the title remains obscure among populations outside the profession. This obscurity necessitates a marketing strategy to make the profession more visible and improve promotion of the profession to external stakeholders.  The popularity of the profession has grown since the early 2000s with steady increases in both the total number of Certified Industrial Hygienists and of new CIHs per year. However, according to ABIH, the total number of certificants plateaued at around 6,900 in 2016–2018, and new certificants plateaued at approximately 270 for 2017 and 2018. In comparison, through 2018, the BCSP reported a total of 18,803 Certified Safety Professionals (CSPs) and 1,834 new CSPs in the year 2018. This reflects 2.72 times more CSPs than CIHs overall and nearly 6.7 times more CSPs than CIHs for the year 2018. BLS data show employment in occupations such as health and safety engineers, occupational health and safety specialists and technicians, environmental scientists and specialists, and environmental science and protection technicians is projected to grow 5–9 percent during 2018–2028, which is slightly higher than the 5 percent average growth rate across all occupations. But despite this projected growth, a continued dearth of qualified occupational health and safety professionals is expected. A 2011 report commissioned by NIOSH, the National Assessment of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce, indicated that employers planned to hire more than twice as many occupational health and safety professionals than the number of expected graduates from American universities. Meeting workforce and public needs will require better education about how the profession can solve occupational health and safety dilemmas.  Marketing the profession to ensure employers and the public are aware of the profession’s capabilities also includes a need to recruit new practitioners. The OSH Act was enacted 50 years ago, which means practitioners who entered the profession with the creation of OSHA are now reaching retirement age and are retiring faster than they can be replaced. Of the 2,347 industry professionals participating in the most recent AIHA salary and compensation survey, 33 percent were over the age of 56. A title that better reflects the profession’s current role may make the profession more appealing to students and professionals in the “STEM” subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). 
A desire to evolve the profession and rebrand is not new. In 1991 an initiative to change AIHA’s name to the American Industrial and Environmental Health Association failed to achieve the necessary two-thirds approval of eligible voting members. A proposed amendment in 1999 to change AIHA’s name also failed to achieve approval from two-thirds of eligible voters. The latest effort to rebrand the industrial hygiene profession included qualitative and quantitative research to gather insights and better understand perceptions of both internal and external stakeholders about AIHA’s brand. Results of this research revealed that the term industrial hygiene and the role of the industrial hygienist were not well understood by the general public and employers. The results of this evaluation led to a decision to update several aspects of AIHA as a professional organization. As AIHA CEO Larry Sloan explained earlier this year in a virtual town hall discussion, in its outward-facing rebranding campaign AIHA focuses on three pillars: awareness, education, and recruitment.  To improve awareness of AIHA and industrial hygiene functions, the rebranding calls for AIHA to use its acronym instead of its full name when addressing the general public. An updated tagline of “Healthier Workplaces | A Healthier World” was chosen to reflect AIHA’s diverse global membership, and a new circular logo is intended to represent a continuous cycle similar to the plan, do, check, act approach and the risk assessment process of anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and control. AIHA now identifies itself as the organization for occupational and environmental health and safety professionals to broaden its scope, better reflect members’ expansion of duties beyond industrial hygiene, and help the public better associate the profession with health. See Table 1 for a before-and-after comparison of AIHA’s rebranding. (The name of the CIH credential, which is maintained by BGC, remains unchanged.)
Table 1:
Before and After Comparison of AIHA’s Rebranding 
Tap on the table to open a larger version in your browser.
The education portion of rebranding focuses on highlighting the value of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals to employers and will begin with the construction, chemical manufacturing, and first responder industries. This educational outreach incudes development of the
website, which is sponsored by AIHA and targets employers by providing information regarding worker health and safety for specific industries and describing the business value for the OEHS profession.  The recruitment element of AIHA’s initiative addresses the challenge of replenishing the profession and encouraging STEM students to become the next generation of practitioners. Outreach involves educating high school, undergraduates, and graduate students about the benefits of OEHS, steering students toward the profession, and reaching students, professors, and guidance counselors via ABET institutions and career days. The rebranding effort is primarily targeted toward external stakeholders. However, the term industrial hygiene will continue to be used in such campaigns as #IAMIH, which encompasses initiatives such as short documentary films that communicate to the lay public the importance of industrial hygiene, and outreach tools such as IH Heroes that promote the profession to young people through comic book characters whose interactions demonstrate the significance of industrial hygiene. 
In an effort to address the anticipated shortfall of available occupational and environmental health and safety professionals, one of the primary objectives of AIHA’s rebranding initiative is to reach new external audiences such as high school and college students interested in STEM and to reach nontechnical stakeholders to raise awareness of what industrial hygienists do for society. To address the challenge of gaining public recognition, the profession first needs to understand how industrial hygiene is perceived by non-industrial hygienists by engaging with audiences that know nothing about the profession. This requires using different terms and different methods of communication for external stakeholders about the value and role of the profession than those used internally.  However, many IH professionals may disagree with or be conflicted about the transition away from term industrial hygiene in communications to the public. They may be concerned about having different internal and external messaging strategies, or that the term occupational and environmental health and safety over-emphasizes issues of compliance because it is similar to “Occupational Safety and Health Administration.” AIHA’s rebranding initiative does not signify a change in mission or vision; it is an external-facing communication strategy, an attempt to foster excitement for the profession by better explaining the role of OEHS practitioners. Campaigns such as #IAMIH are still valid, and the CIH is still a globally recognized credential. Despite these concerns, rebranding may be the most ideal way of raising awareness, providing education, and ultimately improving recruitment for the profession with an overall goal of filling the pipeline of future OEHS professionals.  
is a member of the Naval Medical Research Unit-Dayton at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He is also an assistant professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine & Biostatistics, F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Maryland.
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