October 19, 2022

CDC Awards $110,000 to AIHA for Public Education Resources Combatting Airborne-Transmitted Diseases

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Oct. 19, 2022)—AIHA, the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety in the workplace and community, has received a notice of award for $110,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Distributed under CDC’s program “Improving Clinical and Public Health Outcomes Through National Partnerships to Prevent and Control Emerging Infectious Disease Threats,” these funds will enable AIHA to develop public education resources preparing society to prevent airborne disease transmission in future pandemics. This grant is the second awarded by CDC to AIHA, following $510,000 in funding issued under the same program in early 2021.

Over the next two years, AIHA will use the funds from the CDC grant to create resources on high-efficiency filters, germicidal ultra-violet disinfection, vaccines, and employee testing protocols. AIHA will also convert the Back to Work Safely guidance documents into a Healthier Workplaces ebook, which will include updated guidance generally applicable to airborne-transmitted diseases. These resources will be available to the public for free on the Commit to C.A.R.E. website.

“We’re grateful for CDC’s generous support,” said AIHA CEO Lawrence Sloan. “Not only does this grant allows us to continue our mission to empower those who keep workers and communities healthy and safe, it also recognizes that OEHS professionals are vital to the protection of health against infectious diseases.”

With the initial CDC grant, AIHA partnered with the Integrated Bioscience and Built Environment Consortium (IBEC) to create a new public health awareness initiative called Commit to C.A.R.E. The grant spanned four different projects:

  • Updating AIHA’s publication The Role of the Industrial Hygienist in a Pandemic, which incorporates lessons from the H5N1 bird flu, H1N1 swine flu, and COVID-19 pandemics. The guide is also available in Spanish.
  • Developing pandemic resources, including posters and videos in several languages, to promote respiratory protection for workers at both high and low risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • Developing additional knowledge products based on AIHA’s “Back to Work Safely” guidance documents.
  • Hosting a virtual summit on the pandemic-related challenges and needs of different worker populations, including first responders, educators, gig workers, and construction workers.

Since 2020, AIHA has produced a comprehensive repository of resources to help organizations prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. This includes the free Back to Work Safely guidelines referenced above, which are available in both English and Spanish and encompass 27 industry sectors.

The Back to Work Safely guidelines have been downloaded more than 3.5 million times, indicating the general public’s need for clear, practical guidance on reopening and sustaining safe operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors of each document are scientists and professionals who are well-regarded experts in areas such as workplace respiratory protection programs, personal protective equipment fit testing, cleaning and disinfection protocols, and engineering control strategies.

About AIHA

AIHA is the association for scientists and professionals committed to preserving and ensuring occupational and environmental health and safety in the workplace and community. Founded in 1939, we support our members with our expertise, networks, comprehensive education programs, and other products and services that help them maintain the highest professional and competency standards. More than half of AIHA's nearly 8,500 members are Certified Industrial Hygienists, and many hold other professional designations. AIHA serves as a resource for those employed across the public and private sectors as well as to the communities in which they work. For more information, please visit www.aiha.org.