Each year, The Synergist asks candidates for the AIHA Board of Directors to participate in a candidates’ forum. This year’s candidates were asked to respond to the following question: The COVID-19 pandemic has been a major disrupter, and AIHA is obviously no exception. How do you think AIHA can better support AIHA members in this more virtual world (in the absence of in-person events)? What is your vision for how you (as a potential Board member) can help AIHA use what we have learned through our experiences in this pandemic to launch AIHA into the future as a leader in the field of occupational health and safety? The candidates’ responses to this question appear on the following pages. This year’s ballot includes two candidates for vice president, one for treasurer-elect, and four for director. (Note: After careful deliberation of other candidates who applied for the treasurer-elect position, the Board Nominating Committee felt they did not have the background experience necessary to fill this role.)
For more information about the election, see News and Notes in this issue.
Maharshi Mehta, CIH, CSP, FAIHA President, International Safety Systems, Inc. South Brunswick, N.J.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused immense anxiety. Some of us have lost loved ones, or fear for the health of ourselves, our families, and friends. Jobs have been lost or are threatened. We are more isolated. To address pandemic stressors, AIHA should leverage virtual technologies and provide opportunities for informal networking among members where we can share our stories and support each other in navigating this difficult time. 
All AIHA webinars and meetings could start with a five-minute session on how participants are dealing with the pandemic to demonstrate solidarity with attendees.  To keep current with the times, AIHA should also broaden low-cost elearning beyond industrial hygiene into occupational safety and environment and do so globally. Many of us have expanded job responsibilities beyond industrial hygiene. AIHA should leverage interactive virtual technologies to enhance participant engagement in all webinars and meetings.  During the pandemic, AIHA has successfully leveraged relationships with organizations like NIOSH and ASSP. Next, we should “globalize” this phenomenal reach to allied organizations on all continents and share AIHA’s library of learnings about COVID-19.   COVID-19 vaccines are a source of hope and concern. As an independent, credible professional health organization, AIHA could educate the public about vaccine safety and encourage vaccination.  Our global outreach efforts will protect workers and create opportunities to market AIHA products and services.
Dina M. Siegel, CIH, CSP, CBSP, FAIHA  Industrial Hygiene and Safety Professional, Triad National Security, LLC (Los Alamos National Laboratory) Los Alamos, N.M.
I am humbled by AIHA’s professionalism with the Back to Work Safely documents, supporting our members and workers. The change to a virtual 2020 AIHce showed how quickly AIHA could pivot in a situation that we never imagined. This virtual support could continue with Catalyst as an effective means of members sharing with members, volunteer opportunities, town halls, timely and informative AIHA webinars, out-of-the-box thinking with videos where hands-on is not possible, creative means of combining in-person and online meetings, and continued growth of our LLCs. AIHA can continue to improve with a solid learning management system, as well as AIHce applications that are easy to use and work well for all users (in-person attendees, virtual attendees, and vendors). These forward steps are critical to AIHA’s continued growth and support of our members.
As a membership organization and a leader in occupational health and safety, AIHA could increase support of our students and early- and mid-career professionals, while asking our full and emeritus members to continue to share their wisdom and expertise, all with the added goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I would continue to support our technical initiatives and ensure that our educational staff has the resources to continue improvements in our elearning process. I am prepared to lead our organization into a very bright future.