Founded in 1939, the Heart of America Chapter is one of ASSE’s oldest chapters and is based in the Kansas City, Mo. area, in ASSE’s Region V. They hold the distinction of being the society’s 10th chapter.
Although the chapter is one of ASSE’s oldest, that has not stopped them from their efforts to further advance the EHS profession within their geographical area, and in 2010-11, they made a substantial effort to reach out to other EHS groups and stakeholders to help increase interaction and networking opportunities.
The success of the chapter’s 2011 chapter professional development conference (PDC), which was co-sponsored with the local American Industrial Hygienist Association (AIHA) chapter, drew its largest attendance in 2011 and included presentations from renowned regional and national speakers.
As a result of this success, the Heart of America Chapter was able to take their portion of the proceeds and present $15,000 to the ASSE Foundation (ASSEF), which generates funding and provides resources for scholarships, applied research, academic accreditation and related academic initiatives in order to advance the EHS profession. This resulted in the chapter’s first fully endowed scholarship which was awarded through the ASSEF.
In addition, Heart of America Chapter President Cory Rohs, CSP, and Vice President Brittany Ohlemeyer recently initiated meetings with both region and area directors of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to seek greater partnership and interaction between staffs and chapter members. As a result, OSHA and its field staff were invited and encouraged to attend the chapter’s monthly meetings and PDC. Chapter leadership also has been in ongoing discussions with the local chapter of the Certified National Health Nurses (COHN) about the possibility of holding joint meetings in the months to come.
The Heart of America Chapter not only has been actively engaged in advancing the EHS profession, but they have also been extremely active in helping their local community. In the summer of 2011, many members stepped forward and volunteered to help victims and rescuers of the devastating tornado in Joplin, Mo. The chapter also donated large quantities of supplies, including personal protective equipment (PPE) to the rescue effort.