AIHA Highlights the Work of a Healthcare OHS Professional


Release No. SPR-13-0619-01

Nicole Racadag, AIHA Communications
(703) 846-0700;

Fourth ‘Thought Leader’ video profiles Kaiser Permanenete occupational hygienist

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (June 19, 2013) — This month, the American Industrial Hygiene Association® (AIHA) is telling the story of Erica Stewart, CIH, HEM, an environmental health and safety manager with Kaiser Permanente and current chair of AIHA’s Green Building Working Group. The video is the fourth in a series of ‘Thought Leader’ interviews that AIHA is releasing advance of the 75th anniversary of the industrial hygiene profession in 2014.

Stewart reveals how she “fell” into the industrial hygiene profession in the mid-1980’s, making the jump from asbestos fiber counting at a consulting firm to enforcing worker safety in the healthcare setting.

“I thought when I was growing up that I would be a physician,” states Stewart. “I realized after working in occupational hygiene for many years, that I could do more to influence worker health and safety from the position that I was in than a lot of physicians get to do with their patients.”

In the video, not only does Stewart discuss changes she has witnessed in the profession since she began as an industrial hygienist but she also previews the future she envisions for the profession.

“When I entered the field, industrial hygiene was very compliance driven,” says Stewart. “I think the future of the profession now lies in risk management and understanding that aspect of occupational hygiene. I believe that’s where the profession is going and we need to think about that.”

Stewart, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from San Francisco State University, has spent the last 21 years at Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. In her current position, she is responsible for developing, organizing, and managing nationwide initiatives to ensure that Kaiser Permanente’s building designs, medical devices and products incorporate measures that eliminate or control chemical exposures and increase indoor environmental quality.

AIHA® launched its Thought Leaders Project in January 2013 to highlight the contributions of industrial hygienists who protect worker health around the world. The project will run through May 2014, when AIHA will celebrate the history of industrial hygiene at AIHce 2014, the premier event for occupational and environmental health and safety professionals.

​About AIHA®

Founded in 1939, the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) is the premier association of occupational and environmental health and safety professionals. AIHA’s 10,000 members play a crucial role on the front line of worker health and safety every day. Members represent a cross-section of industry, private business, labor, government and academia.