December 21, 2021 / Larry Sloan

A Brief History of AIHA’s 2021 CDC/NIOSH Cooperative Agreement

Thanks to a generous cooperative agreement grant AIHA was awarded earlier this year from CDC/NIOSH, we embarked on the development of a vast library of knowledge products, including videos, checklists, and guidelines, with the primary goals of:

  • debunking myths about the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus
  • making the complexities of the science easier to understand through no-cost, engaging multimedia tools available in multiple languages
  • educating businesses, healthcare facilities, and long-term care facilities on how to better prepare their indoor environment against airborne diseases

With a tight completion deadline, we partnered with the Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium (IBEC) because of their past success in communicating the complexities of the science to non-technical audiences. We were confident in their expertise based on their ability to host a series of five virtual C.L.E.A.N. Summits in 2020, which convened leading thought-leaders in the “healthy buildings” space to educate business leaders across a wide variety of industries. We knew that collaborating with IBEC—led by President Jayne B. Morrow, PhD, and Chief Science Officer Kenneth Martinez, CIH—would help us develop knowledge products that would distill the complexities of the science into terms that the layperson would understand.

Fast-forward to today…

We devised the simplified concept of the “4Ds”—density, duration, dilution, and distance—to help a nontechnical audience grasp the concept that the primary transmission route for COVID-19 is airborne and that medical mitigation strategies must be complemented by practical engineering control solutions to reduce the risk of transmission.

Knowing that we were not going to be educating OEHS professionals, IBEC worked with a scientific communications firm (Firebrand Creative) to take these detailed concepts and craft them into a suite of multimedia training tools. The approach is straightforward, understandable, and accessible for people of all educational backgrounds.

As prescribed in the grant, we have incorporated multiple languages—Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Bengali, Korean, Vietnamese, and Hindi—into the micro-video products. With closed captioning, we hope these videos will garner greater reach. Just this past week, we officially announced the full suite of training products to AIHA members, who have responded with great enthusiasm. “Great initiative. Great resources. We’ll be using them in our courses,” said Georgi Popov, QEP, CSP, ARM, SMS, CMC, FAIHA, a professor at the University of Central Missouri. And Laurence Svirchev, CIH, MA, BSc, emailed the Canadian Aerosol Transmission Coalition to encourage them to review our resources.

Stay tuned in the coming months for more SynergistNOW blog posts on this special cooperative agreement, one of the largest public education initiatives pursued by AIHA in its 82-year history. We will keep you updated on the corresponding Commit to C.A.R.E. public awareness campaign and our allied association partnerships, both meant to help disseminate the knowledge products far and wide, as well as information on specific deliverables and marketing metrics.

We encourage you to log into Commit to C.A.R.E., provide us with your feedback, and share these materials with your professional networks. You’ll not only be doing a public service but also further advancing awareness about the value of the OEHS profession.

Larry Sloan

Larry Sloan is AIHA's CEO.


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