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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Inside the AIHA Board
I have been a member of AIHA since 1983. In those early days, I saw the AIHA Board of Directors as a mysterious entity populated by pillars of the OEHS profession. I have been on the Board for nine years now, and I am happy to say that I have a much better picture of how the Board functions.
The Board has a broad spectrum of fundamental and legal responsibilities. The Board represents the membership of AIHA, sets policy, creates volunteer groups, adopts strategic plans and budgets, ensures resources (staff, budget, and volunteer groups) are appropriately managed, supports the CEO’s implementation and continuous improvement of AIHA’s education and services, enhances AIHA’s public standing, and communicates with volunteer group leaders about important decisions affecting AIHA, local sections, and student local sections. All Board members must meet certain standards of conduct and attention in carrying out their responsibilities. These standards are usually described as the duty of care, loyalty, and obedience. The Board has also been discussing a new duty, that of foresight.
COMMON PURPOSE Each Board member assumes a fiduciary responsibility to represent and pursue the best interests of the association, its members, and the profession. In each meeting, the Board endeavors to make evidence-based decisions, strives to include all voices, respects the time and efforts of volunteer groups, and primarily focuses on strategy. In addition to following the AIHA code of conduct, the Board agrees to act with integrity, work collaboratively and with a common purpose to achieve objectives, support and encourage diversity within the membership and leadership, and make effective member-focused decisions with respect for all.
We respect the individual needs and concerns of Board members and are mindful of creating a fair and equitable Board environment. New Board members receive an extensive orientation. Following each Board meeting, we communicate the outcomes of our discussions to volunteer groups and other interested parties, and solicit anonymous feedback from Board and staff members. We hold ourselves accountable for conducting our business openly and honestly, ensuring our members are heard, and act transparently to keep members abreast of decisions and emerging issues. Recently, we created an online process for members to provide input on topics they would like the Board to discuss. (To suggest a topic, complete this form.)
Each Board member assumes a fiduciary responsibility to represent and pursue the best interests of the association, its members, and the profession.
A critical aspect of Board service is speaking with one voice. This means that the Board will conduct discussions respectfully and work to reach consensus, after which each Board member agrees to support the Board’s decisions reached through this deliberative process.
GET INVOLVED The Board is always looking for volunteers who have a passion for AIHA and an innate desire to see it grow and prosper. If you’re an aspiring leader, we recommend that you get involved in your local section and become an elected leader, join and actively participate in one or more of AIHA’s volunteer groups and assume a leadership role, speak or be a moderator at AIHA Connect and other key events, network with Board members and other AIHA leaders, discuss your interests with a current or recent director or officer, demonstrate leadership in your career, conduct cutting-edge research, and teach or mentor.
One of the most rewarding Board duties is that of Board liaison to a volunteer group. Being a liaison means you are a direct conduit to and from the Board for our over 60 volunteer groups, including technical committees, task forces, advisory groups, and working groups. I am grateful for each and every volunteer, including the Board of Directors. Thank you all for your contributions to our profession.
Whether you’re interested in serving on the Board or just want to learn more about how the association operates, I encourage you to attend AIHA’s Annual Business Meeting at AIHA Connect. Join us on May 22 at 5 p.m. ET at the Hilton Columbus Downtown hotel as we introduce our incoming Board members and conduct other business.