April 6, 2021 / Gouhar Nayeem

The Power of Volunteering at AIHA

The large number of volunteer opportunities at AIHA is a testament to our membership's high level of professional dedication. AIHA’s 57 volunteer groups, 33 technical groups, six working groups, three special interest groups, four development committees, four internal operations committees, and seven advisory task forces are the driving force behind numerous white papers, Back-to-Work Safely guidelines, The Synergist, SynergistNOW, and much more.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteer activity has increased significantly. Volunteers have worked tirelessly to protect the health and safety of workers and the general public by contributing to webinars, conference presentations, and public guidelines; partnering with allied organizations; and participating in government relations efforts. Much of our volunteers’ work is freely available from our COVID-19 resources page, the Back to Work Safely website, and the COVID-19 Pandemic Efforts page. Some of that work has been translated into Spanish and captured on AIHA’s Recursos en español page.

Volunteering not only helps protect the health and safety of workers and the community, but also allows AIHA members to develop new skills and advance within the profession. Maddie Demo, a member of the AIHA Indoor Environmental Quality Committee and the Content Portfolio Advisory Group, said her recent volunteer experience “allowed me to apply professional experience and academic training to the development of cleaning and disinfection guidance for employers.” Maddie noted the personal benefits of volunteering: “Collaborating with CIHs and senior professionals served as both a networking and professional development opportunity,” she said, “and I look forward to continued involvement with committees and project teams." Other benefits of volunteering include opportunities to earn CM credits and develop name recognition.

For Lydia Renton, BSc, CIH, ROH, FAIHA, chair of the International Affairs Committee and recipient of the 2021 Alice Hamilton Award, making new connections is the greatest joy of volunteer work. “When you volunteer, you meet some great people, and it doesn’t feel like work,” Renton says. “Volunteerism is the greatest professional development you can ever get because you meet people you otherwise never would've. And you can do some things that you probably never dreamed of."

Opportunities for volunteers will continue to grow due to AIHA’s recent receipt of a CDC grant to develop public education on workplace prevention and control of emerging infectious diseases. The funding will be used to create new training videos, books, and other knowledge products targeted at small business owners; first responders; workers in daycare facilities, K-12 schools, and colleges; and vulnerable workers in the construction and agricultural industry sectors. AIHA’s volunteers will drive these important projects.

To find out more about how to join AIHA’s thriving volunteer community, visit the Volunteer Now page.

Gouhar Nayeem

Gouhar Nayeem is AIHA’s membership marketing specialist.


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