November 23, 2021 / Alla Orlova

AIHA’s 2021 Education Program in Review

AIHA’s strategic plan for the years 2022-24, like the current plan that will be succeeded at the end of this year, is based around five “domains,” or areas of focus: community, awareness, advancement and dissemination of knowledge, integrity of professional practice, and advocacy. Within these domains, AIHA has identified strategic goals and strategies that the association will employ to meet them. Larry Sloan, AIHA's CEO, introduced the new strategic plan and the domains of community and awareness in previous blog posts.

Within the advancement and dissemination of knowledge domain, AIHA’s strategic plan states that the association will explore, develop, and disseminate cutting-edge educational, technical, and career enrichment resources to advance the OEHS profession and professionals. AIHA's activities are already well developed within this domain: in 2021, AIHA’s educational programming offered a variety of webinars, publications, and courses in support of advancing the association’s content priorities. This material included discussion about the changing face of work and how the pandemic elevated the role of OEHS professionals in the workforce. This post shares some highlights from AIHA’s 2021 educational program.

Publications

This year, AIHA released second editions of The Burton Field Guide for Industrial Hygiene, Assessment, Remediation, and Post-Remediation Verification of Mold in Buildings, and Welding Health and Safety: A Field Guide for OEHS Professionals, which have been updated with new information and are now available for purchase in AIHA’s online marketplace.

The sixth edition of AIHA’s Noise Manual entered its final review and is scheduled for publication in January of 2022. In this new edition, expert authors have updated the evidence base for hearing loss prevention programs and contributed new chapters on brief high-level sounds such as gunfire, the interactions between noises and chemicals, hearing protector fit testing and attenuation estimation procedures, expanding hearing conservation efforts beyond the workplace, and the global burden of noise-induced hearing loss.

eLearning

In 2021, AIHA upgraded our online classroom with a new learning management system (LMS) that has a robust course search function and tracks progress in any course or certificate program taken by the user. The new LMS has a user-friendly interface, which has been complimented by users.

Collaboration with our allied organizations enabled us to offer more eLearning offerings than ever before. Furthermore, the Basic Principles of Occupational Hygiene self-study course was updated to benefit those new to occupational and environmental health and safety, current health and safety professionals, and occupational health specialists, including physicians and nurses, who are interested in broadening their understanding of how recognition and control of workplace hazards helps keep workers safe. This offering will also allow occupational health and safety colleagues from nations with both emerging and developed economies to access fundamental OEHS education.

Road Courses

AIHA has resumed face-to-face instruction. In 2021, our partners at SAFEX taught both the Fundamentals of Industrial Hygiene and Exposure and Chemical Monitoring – Beyond IH Fundamentals courses to sold-out classrooms.

Virtual PDC Week, which lasted through November 8–12, 2021, offered training in a variety of topics including ethical influence, forecasting exposures using well-mixed room models, IH risk assessment, business cases for EHS, applied case studies in OEHS ethics, and understanding leadership from the masters. If you have not had an opportunity to learn from Keith Mercurio, Georgi and Tsvetan Popov, Paul Hewett, Paul Zoubek, and Carl Sall, recordings of these PDCs will be available on the AIHA University LMS presently.

Frameworks

AIHA University Frameworks outline the knowledge and skills required to excel in a specific OEHS topic or specialty. In 2021, AIHA and its appointees and volunteers worked collaboratively to develop these valuable resources, many of which are free! The technical frameworks for Big Data, the use of direct-reading instruments, Legionella, and the role of OEHS professionals in continuity planning were recently added.

The SDS and Label Authoring Competency Framework published in November 2021 outlines the knowledge and skills a competent person should possess and demonstrate when authoring safety data sheets (SDS) and labels. Before sitting for the SDS and Label Authoring Registry’s Competency Assessment, the applicant should ensure that they are proficient in these knowledge areas.

AIHce EXP 2022 Education Program

The AIHce EXP 2022 education program will be unveiled on December 6, when registration opens for the event. We hope you’ll enjoy the variety of sessions and PDCs offered at next year’s conference and will begin planning your 2022 education journey.

2021 went down in AIHA’s history as the second year of increased digital content development and delivery. 2022 will be another year of transition. We’ll continue to develop digital content as well as reenergize our annual conference and learning offerings. The new education program will achieve high standards of content development through identifying the needs associated with critical issues in OEHS, creating the 2022 research agenda, facilitating collaboration between AIHA and other organizations, and enabling knowledge sharing via peer learning.

Please visit the AIHA University Catalog to learn more about the offerings we have developed so far. Email me at aorlova@aiha.org if you notice any gaps in our content or would like to author a new publication or develop a webinar or eLearning course. While we request that you follow AIHA's well-established process for all new content initiatives, it’s always helpful to have a conversation with staff before you start to develop a proposal.

Alla Orlova

Alla Orlova, MA, is AIHA’s managing director of education and technical initiatives.

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