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.
Send feedback to The Synergist.
A Stellar Year
The highlight of AIHA’s year is just a few weeks away. AIHA Connect 2024 will be held May 20–22 in Columbus, Ohio, with thousands of OEHS professionals attending in person and hundreds more expected to participate virtually. Among other things, our annual conference offers an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the previous year. In that spirit, let’s review what we’ve accomplished together over the last 12 months.
AIHce EXP 2023. Held in Phoenix last May, the final conference to bear the AIHce name signaled a return to normalcy, with attendance rebounding to pre-COVID levels and the educational content receiving high marks.
CDC grant and Commit to C.A.R.E. Additional funding from CDC allowed development of our e-book Healthier Workplaces and Schools, which is available for free in both English and Spanish from commit2care.org. The number of C2C partners has grown to 40 organizations and companies.
Academic Portal refinements. Recent additions to the portal include free course materials related to an iron foundry that demonstrate basic workplace characterization and how to sample for key environmental agents.
Heat stress app. This new app will calculate the current WBGT index, convert the WBGT index to a heat stress risk level, recommend heat stress prevention measures, indicate signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, and provide first-aid recommendations. The app will be available in English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish on both iOS and Android platforms. A beta release is expected by June 1.
IH calculator app. This update of an app released in 2012 will allow OEHS professionals to use common formulas and conversions on their mobile devices. It should help practitioners perform exposure assessment calculations for various chemical, physical, biological, and other hazards. The app is anticipated to be completed by year’s end and to be compatible with both iOS and Android devices.
Our annual conference offers an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the previous year.
New volunteer groups. Our TSCA Task Force was formed to help inform agency scientists responsible for EPA’s occupational risk evaluations, which are mandated by the Toxic Substances Control Act. Our IAQ Task Force helped advance a new memorandum of understanding between AIHA and ASHRAE. And the Military and Uniformed Services Support Committee was approved by the Board to help service members use AIHA resources for networking, training, and career development.
Advancing OEHS science and practice initiatives. Results of our survey on airborne chemical exposure assessment were released last year. Additional surveys are planned to identify gaps between current and best-in-class OEHS practice. The number of registrants for our Exposure Decisions Analysis Registry has more than doubled. For our Principles of Good Practice initiative, we continue to develop guidance for hearing loss prevention and respiratory protection.
OEHS pipeline development plan. The Board approved a plan to increase AIHA’s membership to 20,000 by the end of 2030 through outreach to students, the military community, and EHS generalists under a new EHS Network subscription plan.
Virtual conference on DEI. Held in October 2023, this event garnered 554 registrants. Instructors covered microaggressions, unconscious bias, code switching, relevant legislative updates, and other topics.
Advocacy. In the last year, AIHA members participated in more than 1,200 instances of government-relations volunteerism. We held our first-ever virtual Congressional Advocacy Week last September and created the State Government Relations Teams program, which includes approximately 300 volunteers.
LAP developments. AIHA Laboratory Accreditation Programs issued a new policy module allowing mobile units and field operations analyzing beryllium to become accredited. LAP also accredited its first mobile laboratory in the environmental microbiology program.
New PAT program. AIHA Proficiency Analytical Testing Programs added mercury to the IHPAT program starting in April. Mercury joins airborne particulates as the second new PAT program in recent years.
These are just some of AIHA’s recent achievements. It has been an honor to serve as president of such an outstanding organization and to work with so many accomplished professionals. Thank you for your trust in me, and I hope to see you in Columbus.