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.

Our Global Reach
A silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the way it’s strengthened our connections to others. The present crisis has revealed that we’re all in this together, and that our own health and safety are intertwined with those of other nations around the globe.
At AIHA, we’ve long recognized the importance of international collaboration to address hazards. Given the importance of international collaboration during the pandemic and to our profession in general, this month’s column shares some recent news related to AIHA’s outreach to other countries.
Translations. In May 2020, a task force of AIHA volunteers created practical guidelines for protecting workers from exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in various industries, which we have collected on Over the last few months, all 26 industry-specific Back to Work Safely documents, as well as other COVID-related guidelines available on the site, have been translated into Spanish for wider dissemination. (Over 1.2 million downloads of these documents to date demonstrate AIHA's growing reach as we respond to this pandemic.)
Recently, the Peruvian occupational hygiene association, APEHO, translated AIHA’s guidance document “The Role of the Industrial Hygienist in a Pandemic” into Spanish. In addition, APEHO recently translated the article “Changing the World, One Course at a Time,” about the Occupational Hygiene Training Association, which appeared in the November 2020 Synergist. AIHA has also arranged for that article to be translated into French, Norwegian, and Portuguese. You can read it in English in the digital Synergist.
OHTA. Speaking of OHTA, our fruitful relationship with that vital organization is certain to lead to continued success with Tom Fuller, a longtime AIHA member, as president. OHTA is a global force in occupational hygiene, providing practical instruction to trainees in the developing world on identifying, assessing, monitoring, and controlling workplace hazards. Tom has ambitious goals for OHTA, including the coordination of educational initiatives between IOHA members and other organizations and increased recognition for the profession. I look forward to helping our two organizations meet their shared challenges.
At AIHA, we’ve long recognized the importance of international collaboration to address hazards.
Ambassador Program. AIHA recently revamped our Ambassador Program, whose purpose is to support the development of a cooperative infrastructure of IH professionals in other countries. The program now has six targeted regions—Brazil, China, Columbia, India, Mexico, and Puerto Rico—and twelve total ambassadors. The newest ambassadors include Luis Guillermo Araque Munoz (Colombia), Hailemichael Mulugeta (Ethiopia), and Custodio Muianga (Mozambique). At the time this article went to press, two additional ambassador appointments were pending (Argentina and Turkey). Read more about the Ambassador Program on AIHA's website.
Engagement with CIHA. Our longtime support for our colleagues in India will continue next month with AIHA’s participation in the Central Industrial Hygiene Association’s 2021 virtual conference. The conference program was still being finalized as this issue went to press, but AIHA CEO Larry Sloan and I are honored to serve as keynote speakers, and AIHA member Susan Arnold will also participate as a presenter.
International micro-grants. The AIHA International Affairs Committee’s Emerging Economy Projects Fund was established to increase understanding of and build capacity for occupational hygiene in developing economies around the world. Each year, the IAC’s Micro-Grants Subcommittee accepts applications for funding for international projects and training in developing countries. The latest application period closed Dec. 31, 2020. In previous years, grants have been awarded to OHTA, CIHA, the American Red Cross, and other organizations. Virtual conferences. Last year, our first all-virtual AIHce resulted in a significant increase in participation from international attendees. The lessons of AIHce EXP 2020 will be applied to future conferences and should help drive continued growth in international participation. PROTECTING WORKERS EVERYWHERE As we await distribution of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, hopes are high that the end of the pandemic is in sight. AIHA’s international efforts help increase the knowledge and influence of IH and OEHS professionals around the world, so that when the next crisis comes, workers everywhere are better protected.