May 30, 2024 / Mark Ames

Introducing AIHA’s Military and Uniformed Services Support Committee

Image Credit: Getty Images / LPETTET

Walking around AIHA Connect, AIHA's annual conference, it's easy to spot the many uniformed military service members attending and, in many cases, leading professional development courses (PDCs), pop-up educational sessions, and volunteer group meetings. This observation, combined with the results from our 2023 membership survey, indicated that the government and military comprises our second-highest membership industry group, which led us to ask, "How can we better serve the military community?"

Conducting a deeper analysis, we discovered interesting data that indicated we were on to something.

The U.S. military community includes more than 4.5 million people, encompassing active-duty service members, enlisted members, officers, military family members, Department of Defense civilians, and more. The military also skews younger: 65 percent of active-duty service members are 30 years old or younger.

Many people join the military for educational benefits, travel, pay, love of country, and other reasons, which are often interrelated. For example, if someone wants to travel the world, it helps to make more money; if they want to make more money, it helps to have more education, including professional certifications or designations.

We also found that upon entering the military, about 80 percent of service members have a high school diploma, GED, or some college education and that many service members serve for about four years. Every year, approximately 200,000 service members transition from military to civilian life. A relatively small but dedicated number make service in the military their lifelong career.

Wherever they are in their career, members of the military community are ready for success, understand the importance of health and safety better than many others, and have a deep desire to serve.

This means there's a lot of natural alignment between the military community and AIHA, which is likely why so many members of the military community are AIHA members and customers.

This sounds exciting; however, it quickly became apparent that we had a lot of questions about how AIHA could better serve the military community. We had already extended a 50 percent discount on full or early-career membership for all active U.S. military personnel and public health officers, but what else could we do? Surely, quite a lot, but where to begin?

These questions helped lead to the recent launch of AIHA's Military and Uniformed Services Support Committee (MUSSC).

As stated in a message to our military members, the MUSSC is a volunteer group that plays a pivotal role in supporting and connecting AIHA members with ties to the military and uniformed services. This includes active-duty service members, veterans, Department of Defense civilians, and those with a personal connection to the military, such as spouses, significant others, and adult children of military parents.

The mission of MUSSC is to:

  • provide a networking and professional development platform for AIHA members with military backgrounds or connections
  • support the transition of military personnel and veterans into civilian occupational and environmental health and safety careers through mentorship, resources, and career guidance
  • advocate for the unique needs and challenges faced by OEHS professionals working within the military and uniformed services
  • collaborate with other AIHA committees and external organizations on issues related to OEHS in the military and uniformed services

The MUSSC welcomes all AIHA members with a connection to the military and a passion for advancing OEHS in these communities. We strive to create a supportive and inclusive environment that fosters collaboration and advocacy.

By joining the MUSSC, you can make a positive impact on the health and well-being of those who serve our nation.

To join MUSSC, please submit this form on the AIHA website and check the box for the Military and Uniformed Services Support Committee.

We hope you'll join MUSSC and encourage others to do the same. Together, we can better serve the military community and help improve the health and safety of workers and their communities.

Mark Ames

Mark Ames is AIHA’s chief advocacy officer.


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