In late 1957, the AIHA® Board of Directors created the Ad Hoc Committee on Certification, which was charged with initiating a certification program for the industrial hygiene profession. Under the leadership of Henry F. Smyth, the committee recommended in early 1958 that the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) be invited to join the effort. Later that year, the Joint Committee of Certification Standards held its first meeting.
A year later, the committee recommended that AIHA and ACGIH create an independent board made up of six delegates from each association. In September 1960, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene (ABIH) was created and organized, according to its bylaws, “to improve the practice and educational standards of the profession of industrial hygiene.” Beginning in 1962, professionals meeting the requirements for the certification program became diplomates of ABIH and members of the American Academy of Industrial Hygiene (AAIH).
In 1966, the diplomates of ABIH activated AAIH (now known as the Academy) as a voluntary standalone professional society. An annual dues structure was established and any diplomate of ABIH in good standing was eligible for membership. At that time, ABIH provided administrative services to the Academy.
Over the last several decades, the Academy has focused on improving the quality of industrial hygiene practice and providing a sense of community among professionals practicing around the world who are certified by ABIH as certified industrial hygienists (CIHs). During this time, the Academy sponsored many projects and events to foster the continued growth of the profession, including the Professional Conference for Industrial Hygiene (PCIH), an event held each fall for certified professionals to gather and exchange scientific advances, innovative techniques, and practical solutions.
The Academy’s core mission, promoting the advancement of professional industrial hygiene, reached new heights at the start of the millennium. The Academy—then still known as the American Academy of Industrial Hygiene—held discussions with AIHA to merge the two organizations, noting similar desires to recognize and promote the industrial hygiene profession and achieve world-class standards of professional education and ethical practice. Most importantly, the Academy recognized that the membership wanted a single entity that could best serve its constituents with better programs, lower costs, greater efficiencies, and consolidated efforts. At that time, 89 percent of AAIH members were also members of AIHA.
In 2000, the Academy became a nonprofit division of AIHA, with over 90 percent of AAIH and AIHA members in favor of the consolidation. The Academy’s mission, objectives and governance are currently defined in the bylaws of both AIHA and AIH. All diplomates of ABIH in good standing who are also members or associate members of AIHA in good standing are members of the Academy.
Governance for the Academy is provided through the Academy Council, which is composed of seven persons: four officers (president, president-elect, vice president, and past president), the president of AIHA, the chair of ACGIH, and the chair of ABIH. The Academy elects a new vice president each year who serves a one-year term and then advances to the offices of president-elect, president, and past-president in the subsequent years. Terms of office begin and end at the time of the AIHA Fall Conference (formerly known as PCIH).