At AIHA, we pride ourselves on our advocacy for the IH/OEHS profession. In this role, AIHA technical committees and other volunteer groups train practitioners on IH/OEHS science through guidance documents, publications, and educational offerings. Equally important is leveraging our advocacy position to advance the state of IH/OEHS scientific knowledge and practice through partnerships with other stakeholders.
For over 80 years, ACGIH has been respected for its dedication to the IH/OEHS communities. The tradition of reliable working committees has kept ACGIH and its membership well-informed and influential in the field. By sharing knowledge via educational sessions and guidance documents, this group of independent researchers has earned international respect and recognition for ACGIH.
The success of IH/OEHS as a profession depends on cutting-edge research, training, and practical application—elements of a self-improving, evolving system. The members of the organization are IH/OEHS professionals and academics who identify gaps both in research and the ways practitioners implement health and safety in the workplace. With the ever-increasing pace of new materials being introduced into commerce, identification of those workers producing and utilizing these materials provides an opportunity for research on exposures and outcomes that can help provide the technical basis for health protection programs.
Historically, AIHA has lacked a defined process for helping researchers investigate areas of concern identified by members and allied stakeholders and supporting the incorporation of research results into everyday practice. To this end, the association seeks to define and manage a standing IH/OEHS research-to-practice agenda. Through this agenda, we can help inform and guide practitioners, academics, third-party research organizations, and AIHA volunteer groups toward engagement with critical research topics. Subsequently, AIHA will be able to facilitate the partnerships necessary to accomplish the agenda’s goals. We can then play a more integral role in preparing students to conduct research on these essential topics and practitioners to integrate new findings into their workplace procedures.
The task of managing a research agenda falls to a new volunteer group, the Defining the Science Advisory Group (DTS-AG), whose mission will be to develop and maintain a national IH/OEHS research agenda endorsed by the AIHA Board of Directors. The DTS-AG is a collaborative venture between AIHA and ACGIH and includes representatives from both organizations.
The advisory group will address such matters as:
- Identifying areas of practice that do not hold up to current IH/OEHS scientific findings so that AIHA and other stakeholders may improve practice through focused outreach, promotion, and training
- Identifying research initiatives needed to advance the state of IH/OEHS science and address gaps in practical knowledge
- Identifying opportunities to answer IH/OEHS research questions through studies of at-risk workers
- Defining a transparent, open process across volunteer groups, local sections, and allied stakeholders as to how AIHA might create and sustain a living research agenda on behalf of the profession and how project ideas may be prioritized for future funding
- Advising the AIHA Board and staff on where it should focus its internal resources to advance the state of IH/OEHS research
- Defining AIHA’s role as a facilitator for IH/OEHS science research—both for funded research opportunities that come our way and as a “bundler” of partners, needs, and ideas to be brought before funding organizations
- Determining how AIHA might better leverage its volunteer representatives recently appointed to NIOSH National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Councils. NORA is an important source of funding for research and training and helps inform NIOSH’s strategic plan.
DTS-AG Members (as of Feb 2021)
- John R. Mulhausen, PhD, CIH, FAIHA - AIHA Member
- Anthony Oliveri, PhD, MPH - AIHA Member
- Paul F. Wambach, CIH - AIHA Member
- Cullen Charles Whittaker, CIH, CSP - AIHA Member
- Donald M. Weekes, CIH, CSP, FAIHA - AIHA Member
- Gary Spies, CIH, CSP - ACGIH Member
- Alison Elder, PhD - ACGIH Member
- Paul Middendorf - NIOSH Rep
- Emily Novicki - NIOSH Rep
- Kimberly M. Castillon, CIH - AIHA Board Liaison
- Lawrence Sloan, CAE - AIHA Staff Liaison
Overview of the Process
Input from AIHA and ACGIH committees, and other interested parties, is submitted using the web submission form link below. The DTS-AG reviews and scores each research question/problem based on the weighted score, aggregated across the criteria noted below. Projects earning a higher score are preferentially place on the AIHA research-to-practice agenda and this agenda will serve as a basis for input to NORA. Additionally, potential research partners are identified via an RFP process and estimated funding is assessed. Ultimately the AIHA Board reviews and approves all recommended projects.
Understand Scoring Methodology
Submitted ideas are evaluated by the DTS-AG based on a series of criteria (noted in boldface), scored on a scale of 0-9 as follows. Each of the criteria is rated in terms of importance on a scale of 0-10.
Day-to-Day Applicability to Practitioners
- Score=0: Not applicable
- Score=1: Few practitioners (<25%)
- Score=3: Many practitioners (25% to 75%)
- Score=9: Most practitioners (>75%)
Improved Impact on Practice Integrity
- Score=0: No improvement impact
- Score=1: Low improvement impact
- Score=3: Moderate improvement impact
- Score=9: High improvement impact
Scope of Impact: Number or Percentage of Workers Positively Impacted
- Score=0: None affected
- Score=1: Few workers affected (<25%)
- Score=3: Many workers affected (25% to 75%)
- Score=9: Most workers affected (>75%)
Impact on Affected Worker’s Health
- Score=0: No impact
- Score=1: Low impact
- Score=3: Moderate impact
- Score=9: High impact
Likelihood of Success
- Score=0: No chance of success (lacks proof of principle)
- Score=1: Low chance
- Score=3: Moderate chance
- Score=9: High likelihood of success
Research Idea Categories
Before you submit your idea, consider the schematic below to assist you in preparing your case.