DINA M. SIEGEL, CIH, CSP, FAIHA, is semi-retired and is currently a guest scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she worked for 25 years in a variety of management and contributor roles. Her previous experience included OEHS for federal, contractor, and consultant firms.
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Volunteering at AIHA
AIHA has long sustained a robust community of volunteers. OEHS is as much a vocation as a profession, and AIHA’s impressive volunteering opportunities offer many opportunities for members to share their expertise and passion. However, for someone who is interested in volunteering but wondering how to get started, so many options can complicate matters. After all, AIHA has more than 60 committees, working groups, task forces, and advisory groups. New initiatives are always under development as we keep pace with evolving workplace environments and respond to organizational priorities. It’s possible that some members who would like to volunteer are overwhelmed by the available choices or have trouble finding the right opportunity for their needs. I hope the information on this page will help simplify matters and encourage more people to become involved with AIHA.
TYPES OF VOLUNTEER GROUPS AIHA’s volunteer groups have many purposes. They facilitate networking and information exchange among members. They develop new products, services, and activities for educational purposes. They draft guidelines and participate in committees led by standards-development organizations. They craft statements that contribute to public policy debates. They collaborate with other allied groups or institutions. And they share their knowledge in webinars and at AIHA Connect.
Our sixty-plus volunteer groups are divided into the following types (unless indicated otherwise, participation is limited to members of AIHA national):
Technical committees. These volunteer groups produce the bulk of AIHA’s educational products. While technical committees include many distinguished practitioners, you don’t have to be an expert to join. In fact, there may be no better way to become informed about a particular topic than to join the associated AIHA technical committee.
Working and special interest groups. Like technical committees, working groups produce guidelines and educational products. Their scope tends to be narrower than that of technical committees. The difference is easy to see by considering the tighter focus of the Dermal and Surface Sampling Working Group compared to the Sampling and Laboratory Analysis Committee. Working groups are open to anyone. We also offer the Fellows, Minority, and PR(IH)DE Special Interest Groups.
AIHA's impressive volunteering opportunities offer many opportunities for members to share their expertise and passion.
Professional development committees. While participating in any volunteer group is a good way to acquire professional development, these committees specialize in designing professional development opportunities for our membership. Their focus areas include career and employment topics, professional ethics, and mentoring.
Internal operations committees. These groups work closely with staff on matters of recurring importance such as selecting session proposals for AIHA Connect, advising staff on other educational programs, and developing the association’s annual budget.
Advisory groups and other project teams. These groups typically advise the Board on specific issues. Our two newest advisory groups are the TSCA Task Force, which will help position the OEHS profession as a partner to support EPA’s occupational risk evaluations mandated by the Toxic Substances Control Act, and the IAQ Task Force, which will coordinate activities related to indoor air quality. Many of these groups are open to anyone.
HOW TO JOIN To join technical committees, professional development committees, working groups, or SIGs, all you need to do is submit this form. Opportunities to volunteer for advisory groups occur throughout the year and are announced through The Synergist, Synergist Weekly, and Catalyst. A page on the AIHA website shows additional current opportunities and is updated frequently.
I have many years under my belt as an AIHA volunteer on technical committees, working groups, conference planning, internal operations, advisory groups, and the Board of Directors. Volunteering with AIHA is one of the most satisfying activities I have undertaken in my career. Consider what you can volunteer for as a member. Your help is needed and greatly appreciated. And to all our current volunteers, thank you for your dedication and service; we couldn’t do it without you.