September 4, 2020 / Joy Erdman

We Need You: Calling All Abstracts for AIHce EXP 2021

The pandemic has changed our lives by making the industrial hygienist’s role more critical than ever. The increase in demand for an IH’s services has put strain on the time available to stay updated on the latest practices and new ideas. AIHA and AIHce EXP are reliable conduits for IH professional development, helping IHs further their career goals and find future job opportunities. While the 2021 conference may not currently be on your schedule, now is the time to develop and submit one or more abstracts to share your ideas and connect with your peers in May 2021.

If you want to submit an abstract but don’t have much time, you should look over the abstract submission process. The best proposals have one shared characteristic: clarity. One of the most common reasons that abstracts are rejected is that their purpose and content is not clear to multiple reviewers. The directions provided on the AIHce EXP proposals submission website will guide you through the process of writing a crystal-clear abstract, and save you time spent in abstract development. If writing is not your strength, have someone else review your draft, using the abstract submission guidance to ensure your abstract meets all criteria.

What to Submit?

If you’re not sure what to submit, check the website for proposal types that AIHA is actively seeking for AIHce EXP. AIHA seeks a wide variety of proposal types. Some abstracts may be narrowly focused on one particular issue such as a research project, a solution to a common problem, or a new technology. Other abstracts cover broad trends, comparisons, or best practices. Some are cutting-edge, forward-looking abstracts. In 2020, we had three sessions on the pandemic, and in 2021 there will likely be more on successful industrial hygiene practices to reduce the hazard of COVID-19 transmission. Other abstracts look to the past, providing perspective on our profession’s past accomplishments. As 2021 will be the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, perhaps some submissions will address industrial hygiene lessons from that transformative event.

When creating your submission, ask yourself what you are working on that would be interesting to other industrial hygienists. Where are educational gaps in our profession that need to be filled? What key lessons can junior professionals learn from senior industrial hygienists? What underrepresented topics are crying out for attention? Do you have stories of workplace successes that you could share for other professionals’ education? And even if you don’t submit an abstract yourself, you can still reach out to a colleague who you know would give an excellent presentation.

Who Can Submit?

As chair of the Conference Program Committee, I love to see diversity in both submission topics and submitters. It’s exciting to see both younger professionals coming forward and senior professionals passing on their wisdom. The committee also loves to see participation from other countries and first-time speakers. Diversity is our profession’s strength. Industrial hygiene hazards constantly evolve, and our success lies in our collective ability to anticipate, recognize, evaluate, and control these hazards.

Diversity of topics is strengthened by the technical review procedure undertaken by the Conference Program Committee and AIHA technical committees. To eliminate bias, the names of the submitters are removed so that reviewers concentrate on the content and not the name of the submitter.

I look forward to seeing AIHA members as speakers and attendees at AIHce EXP 2021. If the pandemic has been controlled by May-June 2021, the conference will be held in person and include a robust virtual program for those still not comfortable with public spaces. If not, the virtual conference was a resounding success in 2020 and will be again in 2021.

    The deadline is Sept. 23, 2020, for professional development courses, education sessions, case studies, scientific research, and professional poster submissions. If you’re interested in submitting a proposal for a student poster, student presentation, or 25-minute pop-up session, you have until March 15, 2021, to submit. Good luck!

    Joy Erdman

    Joy Erdman, MS, CIH, CSP, FAIHA, is the AIHA Conference Program Committee chair.


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