"Sustainability" at the 2011 American Industrial Hygiene conference and expo (AIHce) doesn't just mean environmental stewardship or green initiatives and work practices -- it also refers to the long-term mission, vision and direction of the conference's two host organizations.
At a May 17 press luncheon at AIHce in Portland, Oregon, leaders from the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) discussed future priorities for their respective organizations.
"One of the things I'm most proud of [in the past year] is being able to redefine a new strategic plan for the next 5 years and clarifying the vision and mission of AIHA," said outgoing AIHA President Michael T. Brandt, DrPH, CIH. He stressed that this mission is one that AIHA must continuously strive to achieve: the elimination of occupational disease.
He acknowledged that eliminating occupational disease is "a bold vision," but bold action will be necessary to successfully thwart hazards before workers are exposed.
Brandt added that the Core Competency Task Force, AIHA's joint effort with ACGIH, currently is focusing on the core competencies of the industrial hygiene professional. AIHA also is launching its first Asia-Pacific conference in October in Singapore and is considering new ways to reach out and partner with potential new members.
Striving for Sustainability
Lisa Brosseau, ScD, CIH, chair of ACGIH, explained at the luncheon that ACGIH is working to remain a sustainable organization and is considering a transition to 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. This might lead to ACGIH focusing more on "social good" instead of being strictly a membership organization. Such a move wouldn't entail eliminating members but could instead involve a move to member donors or a similar system, she explained.
This possible change is due, in part, to the lawsuits ACGIH faced over its Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs).
Brosseau said she expects a clearer vision for ACGIH in the next 6 to 9 months. She stressed that ACGIH will continue working with AIHA but will remain an independent organization.