DEPARTMENTS
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE
Expanding Our Reach
BY LINDSAY COOK, AIHA PRESIDENT
For the past several years, AIHA has worked extensively to partner with other organizations to extend our reach to new audiences and share our expertise with new professions. These efforts have had four main goals: protect as many workers as possible, open new avenues to professional development for current AIHA members, increase awareness of AIHA among potential new members, and develop new markets for our products and services. These collaborations and partnerships are so key to our success that they are woven through our strategic plan, which you can download from AIHA's website.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of our greatest successes has been our ability to leverage existing relationships with allied organizations and develop new ones. I’d like to draw your attention to some of the recent achievements made possible by our many partnerships.

NIOSH. AIHA has long enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with NIOSH, the premier occupational health and safety research organization in the United States. We’ve deepened our collaborations with NIOSH by becoming a Total Worker Health Affiliate, a designation that aligns AIHA with TWH, a holistic approach to worker well-being. One of our members, Kevin Dunn, participated as a speaker in a recent NIOSH webinar on using TWH strategies to safely return to work during the pandemic.
LINDSAY COOK
, CIH, CSP, FAIHA,
is retired senior vice president and now principal consultant at The EI Group, an environmental health and safety consulting firm in Morrisville, North Carolina. Send feedback to The Synergist.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of our greatest successes has been our ability to leverage existing relationships with allied organizations and develop new ones.
ASSP.
In July, AIHA signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the American Society of Safety Professionals that outlines how our organizations will collaborate to advance workplace health and safety. AIHA and ASSP agreed to continue sharing COVID-19 content and best practices; leading initiatives through our jointly sponsored Center for Safety and Health Sustainability; determining criteria for academic program accreditation related to the environment, health, and safety; coordinating government affairs activities; and other actions that you can read about on AIHA's website.
NSC.
In April, AIHA joined the National Safety Council’s SAFER task force, which is committed to protecting workers as businesses reopen across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. The task force issues recommendations and guidance for employers, including small and mid-size companies, across a variety of industries. More than 90 companies participate in SAFER, including Fortune 500 companies and other organizations AIHA doesn’t typically interact with.
APIC.
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology is an example of a new partner for AIHA. In March, APIC and AIHA hosted a webinar on ventilation, surface disinfection, and PPE considerations for infection control professionals and industrial hygienists. The recorded webinar is free to AIHA members and can be accessed through the AIHA.org marketplace.
NIEHS.
As I discussed in last month’s
Synergist
, AIHA partnered with the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences Worker Training Program to develop guidance for volunteers who participate in cleanup activities following national disasters. Our members have also delivered presentations during pandemic-related webinars sponsored by the NIEHS WTP.
ABSA International.
Early in the pandemic, AIHA issued a joint letter with the Association for Biosafety and Biosecurity. Addressed to the memberships of our organizations, the letter expressed appreciation for the critical work our members have performed to keep workplaces and communities safe. ABSA International is another example of an organization that AIHA had limited contact with prior to the coronavirus. These are just a few of the collaborations that have yielded immediate returns during the pandemic. Other examples include several organizations that have partnered with us through our Back to Work Safely initiative. Our BTWS efforts have included webinars about safe reopening of hair salons (conducted with the Professional Beauty Association) and gyms (conducted with the Medical Fitness Association). We’ve also worked with the American Library Association, the American Dental Association, the Restoration Industry Association, and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, among others, to develop pandemic-related guidance of interest to the professionals served by those organizations. Not only are these relationships with allied groups helping us meet the needs of the current crisis, they are spreading the word about our profession, growing awareness, and positioning us for sustained success once this pandemic ends.