Make the Most of the Expertise Available at AIHce EXP
The excitement is palpable as the first live AIHce EXP since 2019 draws closer. Nothing can quite replace aspects of the in-person experience such as collectively experiencing a passionate keynote speaker’s message, seeing and reconnecting with friends and peers, collaborating with working groups and committees, and partaking in all the expo vendors have to offer. At times, AIHce EXP can seem overwhelming, given how many choices in events the conference offers during each fully-packed day. Since now is a good time to start planning ahead, here are a few suggestions on making the most of your conference experience.
There are many ways to go about planning your conference activities, from going with the flow and participating in what appeals to you to carefully scheduling each hour of every day. Even though there is no single “correct” way to approach the conference, looking ahead at the online conference agenda to see who is presenting and what topics are being covered can guide your decision-making.
Try seeking out not only sessions with topics that interest you but also sessions covering subjects that you have little knowledge about. Just as important as a session’s content, or perhaps more so, is who presents the material. Look for speakers with extensive expertise in their field, as these speakers not only contribute to the overall OEHS body of knowledge but also shape the future of our profession. Moreover, no experience can compare to listening to veteran speakers. Often, their greater depth and breadth of knowledge, relatable mannerisms, and ability to break down even the most complex information into understandable, useable morsels is what makes sessions remarkable. Experienced speakers seek to understand the needs and interests of their audiences and to be understood in turn, thereby creating a rewarding atmosphere for attendees. The question is, how can we determine if a presenter is experienced?
Since AIHce EXP is the premier conference for OEHS professionals, it would be easy to say that all presenters are experts in their fields. In fact, the expertise of speakers at AIHce EXP 2022 is demonstrated by the impressive number of credentials attached to their names. The roster of almost 340 speakers includes, in total:
- 170 Certified Industrial Hygienists (CIHs)
- 82 Certified Safety Professionals (CSPs)
- 61 Doctors of Philosophy (PhDs)
- 33 AIHA Fellows (FAIHAs)
- 27 Masters of Public Health (MPHs)
- 15 Certified Hazardous Materials Managers (CHMMs)
Additionally, this year’s speakers represent a wide range of organizations, most prominently agencies such as CDC and NIOSH, OSHA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Safety Council, as well as prominent companies in the OEHS field such as 3M, Carno ChemRisk, Velocity EHS, Chubb Global Risk Advisors, Colden Corporation, and GHD. Presenters representing employers as diverse as Amazon, ExxonMobil Biomedical Sciences, Procter & Gamble, and Raytheon will also take part, as will speakers affiliated with academic institutions such as Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota, and the University of California, Los Angeles.
In order to be included in the final conference program, each presentation abstract undergoes several rounds of peer review by AIHA members who are subject matter experts and then final selection by the AIHA Conference Program Committee. Through this rigorous process, presentations are carefully selected based on the material’s relevancy, currency, and contribution to the OEHS profession’s body of knowledge and the presenters’ clarity of communication. Only high-level, expert presentations are chosen.
However, not every session may meet your needs. By reading through the abstract and speaker bios, you can assess if the session will provide what you’re seeking. Ask yourself:
- Does the abstract resonate with you?
- Is it written in a way that you understand and can relate to?
- Do you think you can gain something by attending the session?
- Does the session address a topic about which you’ve been curious but may not have much knowledge?
- Is there something in the speaker’s bio that piques your interest?
AIHce has always been an exceptional conference that provides OEHS professionals with current, authoritative knowledge they can use in their practice. Still, the option of attending AIHce in person again is a bonus many of us have been waiting for, so making the most of the conference through good planning can lead to an even more meaningful and memorable experience.
For more information, be sure to check out the conference agenda.
Laura Weems, CIH, CSP, CHMM, is a Senior Industrial Hygienist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is current Chair of the AIHce Conference Program Committee.