July 25, 2019 / Gouhar Nayeem

What You Do Matters

I hadn’t heard of industrial hygiene until I was preparing to interview for a job in the marketing department at AIHA. The first thought that came to mind was cleanliness and dental hygiene on an industrial scale. I was relieved to learn that industrial hygiene is in fact the science and art devoted to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, prevention, and control of environmental factors or stresses arising in or from the workplace that may cause sickness, impaired health and well-being, or significant discomfort among workers or among citizens of the community. And I was thrilled about the prospect of working for an association for people devoted to protecting the health and safety of workers around the world.

AIHA’s mission is crucial to why you, our members, choose to be a part of the association throughout your career and beyond retirement. Of course, members also join AIHA for the benefits you receive, including educational resources and opportunities to network.

I ended up getting a position at AIHA as a membership marketing specialist and immersed myself in the stories and experiences of our members. I quickly saw that many of you became IH/OEHS students and professionals because of your love for science and your desire to help people. And, like me, many of you were initially unaware of the field of IH/OEHS. You learned about the field from mentors, professors, personal experiences, and research, and you were drawn by IH’s practical application of science to solve problems and its direct impact on improving the lives of others.

Each of you has your own story about why you became an IH. When Felix Boachie, a member since 2010, began working with the CDC as an undergraduate pre-medical student, he met two IHs who asked him why he wanted to go into the medical field. Felix said, “I want to help people and make people better.” They asked him, “Well, what’s better: helping people who are already sick, or keeping people from getting sick in the first place?” That was the start of Felix’s IH career.

Hamid Arabzadeh, a member since 1988, found industrial hygiene through his desire to work in a profession that married technical sciences and engineering with social sciences and the humanities. “It’s an exciting field,” Hamid says. “It’s very technical and challenging, but also it’s very connected to human beings.”

Felix and Hamid’s stories are just two examples of what seems to have resonated with many of you: a humanitarian vision that guided you to industrial hygiene and ultimately led you to become an AIHA member.

I chose to work for AIHA because, like you, I also believe in your humanitarian vision and the nobility of your mission. Your stories have touched me, and for that, I would like to thank you. You're an IH hero for what you do every day, for being a member, for volunteering, for conducting research, for teaching professional development courses, for donating to the American Industrial Hygiene Foundation, for attending AIHce EXP, for writing articles, for mentoring, and for everything else you do. Please visit AIHA's Get Involved page to learn more about current volunteer opportunities.

For more information about becoming an AIHA member, visit the AIHA website. ​​

Gouhar Nayeem


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