KAY BECHTOLD is assistant editor of The Synergist
She can be reached at or (703) 846-0737.
Editor’s note: The individuals featured in this series were selected from responses to a survey that AIHA conducted in 2014. For background, see "The IH Hero Gap" in the January 2015 issue. Meet Donna Doganiero, the industrial hygienist who leads the team responsible for ensuring the health and safety of U.S. Army personnel worldwide, including soldiers who are deployed and in training. As portfolio director of occupational health sciences in the Army Public Health Center, Doganiero oversees industrial hygiene, ergonomics, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, and health hazard assessment during the development of Army materiel—military equipment and supplies. Her job keeps her busy, but she has found time over the years to devote to AIHA and the advancement of the IH and occupational health and safety professions. Doganiero served on the AIHA Board of Directors through the late ’90s and early 2000s and was AIHA president in 2004–2005. While working to protect Army staff across the globe, Doganiero used her time on the Board to expand AIHA’s focus to the world beyond the U.S. During her year as president, AIHA made its initial outreach to China and began to build relationships with occupational health organizations in the Far East. In 2004, Doganiero traveled to Beijing for AIHA’s first meeting with representatives of the Chinese Occupational Safety and Health Association (COSHA), and returned with a signed memorandum of understanding to exchange information that opened a steady line of communication between the two organizations. AIHA’s international outreach to China has continued to grow and will reach a new milestone this September, when the first-ever China-U.S. Occupational Health Symposia will be held in Shanghai. “[Working internationally] makes us stronger as a profession,” Doganiero says. “It enables us to bring our capabilities and knowledge to other countries that are developing their safety and occupational health programs. As we work with these individuals in other countries, we also learn from them.” REACHING OUT TO CHINA Prior to Doganiero’s term as AIHA president, the association hadn’t done much in the way of international outreach, but the Board had decided in the mid-’90s to prioritize China and India for forthcoming international outreach efforts. Doganiero recalls that while she was on the Board, the International Affairs Committee was in its infancy and there had been some effort to work with the health and safety organizations in Romania. At that time, AIHA communicated with counterparts in Australia, the U.K., and other English-speaking countries, but hadn’t yet extended its outreach to Asia or elsewhere. One of Doganiero’s focus areas during her year as president was to turn AIHA’s mostly U.S.-centric focus more global. “I came after two really great past presidents: Tom Grumbles and Gayla McCluskey,” she says. “I wanted to continue some of their initiatives, including encouraging AIHA to look beyond our borders.” With the help of AIHA member Nick Yin, Doganiero and AIHA Executive Director Peter O’Neil connected with COSHA officials and representatives of the Chinese equivalent of NIOSH. During their first visit to China, Doganiero and O’Neil participated in a conference where Doganiero gave a presentation on the integration of industrial hygiene and occupational health. Doganiero describes the first meetings with Chinese officials as similar to a dance, with much polite conversation. She was successful in reaching an agreement with the president of COSHA, the first step in AIHA’s relationship with the individuals working to advance occupational health and safety in China. “We could not have done it without Nick Yin,” Doganiero says, explaining how Yin was instrumental in setting up many of the meetings in his role as their guide and translator. That same year, she awarded Yin the President’s Award for his efforts in facilitating AIHA’s initial interaction with the occupational safety and health elements in China. Doganiero recalls with amusement their first meetings with their Chinese counterparts. “We would walk into a meeting and the immediate assumption was that Peter was the president of AIHA,” she says. “[The Chinese representatives] would reach out to shake his hand, and Peter had to say, ‘Oh, no, it’s not me—it’s her.’ I guess it was typical of the time.” It wasn’t the first time Doganiero had to overcome others’ assumptions of her as a female leader and professional.
An Effective Versatilist AIHA Past President’s Leadership Spans Army, Association