FAQ: What to Expect at AIHA Connect 2024

Q) What keynote speakers are lined up for AIHA Connect 2024?

A) The opening keynote speaker is Dr. Samuel Ramsey, endowed professor of entomology at the University of Colorado Boulder. His presentation, “The Power of Peculiar Thinking: Problem-Solving Through Creativity and Ingenuity,” will kick off the conference on Monday, May 20 at 8 a.m. Eastern time, exploring how peculiar thinking gets the brain to process ideas in new and unique ways, allowing us to push past stalls in thinking and productivity. “Being peculiar is the key to being brilliant.” –Dr. Sammy

Dr. Helena Boschi will deliver the closing keynote session, “The Neuroscience of Innovation – and How to Develop New Insights,” on Wednesday, May 22 at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time. Boschi, a psychologist specializing in applied neuroscience in the workplace, will discuss the choices our brains make when constantly bombarded by sensory information and how we can increase cognitive agility, creative thinking, and openness to introduce and incorporate true innovation into our lives.

We’re excited to welcome Dr. Ramsey and Dr. Boschi to AIHA Connect 2024 to learn from them ways to make our workplaces and communities healthier.

Q) Are there options to participate if individuals are unable to attend in person?

A) AIHA is proud to offer a robust virtual conference featuring the two keynotes, 60 educational sessions (four in each time block), and 32 education pop-ups (new in 2024). Additionally, we will live stream Expo Highlights (interviews with exhibitors) and the PPE Fashion Show.

The virtual conference is not just for those who work remotely. For example, some companies buy group registrations and gather their teams at their offices to participate in the virtual event together.

Virtual registrations also include six months access to AIHA Connect OnDemand, so participants can earn extra contact hours for sessions that were presented in-person only.

Q) The AIHA Connect website says that registration for the on-site and virtual conferences comes with access to AIHA Connect OnDemand. What is AIHA Connect OnDemand, and how does it benefit AIHA Connect attendees?

A) With everything offered on the full conference on-site schedule (47 professional development courses, 150 education sessions, 32 education pop-ups, 4 poster sessions, 22 AIHA main stage sessions, and more!), it can be difficult to decide what to attend. The AIHA team wanted to take the stress out of decision-making, so we’ve included access to AIHA Connect OnDemand with all full and one-day conference registrations. This applies to registrants who attend the conference virtually or in person.

Through AIHA Connect OnDemand, attendees will receive audio recordings synched to most session presenters’ slides (a small percentage will be unavailable due to speaker permission). The recordings will be available starting approximately three weeks after the conference until December 31, 2024. AIHA Connect OnDemand allows you to earn additional certification maintenance (CM) contact hours on top of the 17 contact hours available during the live conference event. Online attendees will be able to watch sessions not originally included in the virtual program, while on-site attendees will have more time to network, browse the Expo, and enjoy other events.

Q) Conference educational sessions are perfect for many people, but others want or need deeper dives on particular subjects. What does AIHA offer for those who want more interaction and more contact hours?

A) AIHA Connect hosts professional development courses (PDCs) before and after the conference, on Saturday, May 18, Sunday, May 19, and Thursday, May 23. Through in-depth instruction by field experts, these formalized learning experiences enhance technical competence and provide practical tools and skills for the modern workplace. This year, we’re offering 47 PDCs on-site. Twelve of these will be available virtually for those who can’t attend in person.

There are also AIHA University eLearning courses available throughout the year that may be suitable for many people’s educational needs.

Q) What activities or events can AIHA Connect attendees look forward to?

A) AIHA Connect attendees can keep themselves busy from morning until night during the conference if they wish!

For newcomers, DuPont will sponsor a meet-and-greet breakfast on Monday, May 20, to provide first-time attendees an opportunity to network with each other and plan their AIHA Connect experience.

The Nexus is an on-site lounge designed exclusively for students and early career professionals. Nexus attendees will be treated to Lessons in Leadership, a series of tips and tricks from our keynote speakers, AIHA’s named award winners and new Fellows, Board members, and volunteer group and committee members, about things they wish they knew – personally or professionally – when they were students or early career professionals.

The Career Advantage Fair offers the perfect opportunity to advance one’s career (or hire a company’s next OEHS rockstar) through free counseling, resumé critiques, career workshops, mock interviews, job listings, and speed networking activities.

We have several ways to stay active and focused on your health during the conference:

  • American Industrial Hygiene Foundation’s Fun Run will be held on Tuesday, May 21. Fun Run registration fees fund AIHF’s scholarship program for OEHS students. Participants have the option to complete a 5-kilometer run or 2.5-kilometer walk, or they may choose the “sleep in” option to donate without running. This is a great way to support a good cause and stay fit!
  • Health & Wellness Pop-Ups will be held throughout the main three days of conference. These sessions help attendees make a commitment to habits leading to a balanced and healthy lifestyle while nurturing physical and mental well-being.
  • Namaste With AIHA brings a series of complimentary yoga classes to AIHA Connect attendees. All experience levels are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Finally, the Expo Hall will be packed with hundreds of vendors who have products and services to meet your biggest professional challenges. On Monday, May 20, join us for our opening night networking reception, where you can enjoy a drink while networking with them and peers from around the world.

At the Expo, you can:

  • Visit Innovation Station sessions to learn about the equipment, instrumentation, technology, and other materials and activities being developed by exhibitors.
  • Check out the PPE Fashion Show for innovative personal protective equipment and clothing that addresses workforce diversity, ensures proper fit, and provides maximum protection to users.
  • Stop by the AIHA Booth to check out the AIHA University Bookstore’s conference discounts and chat with AIHA staff about the association’s latest initiatives and member benefits. AIHA will also host Main Stage presentations in the booth every hour and half-hour while the hall is open.

Q) What new activities or events should attendees take advantage of?

A) We are introducing several new things for this year’s attendees (in-person AND virtual), including:

  • A 25% discount on ACGIH’s TLVs, BEIs, and all signature publications (in-person only). Visit the ACGIH booth (#1302) during the open Exhibit Hall hours Monday through Wednesday and save 25% on these “must have” tools for OEHS professionals.
  • Dine and Dash lunch tickets (in-person only) – This year attendees may pre-purchase lunch in the Exhibit Hall to maximize time for networking and learning. For $29, you can skip the long lunch lines (or the walk to find an available restaurant), grab a great lunch, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the Exhibit Hall.
  • Live streamed education pop-ups (virtual) – Education pop-ups are 30-minute, interactive sessions designed to deliver bite-size, timely, targeted learning. This year they are being live-streamed to bring more educational opportunities to the virtual audience.
  • Additional Technical Tours (in-person only) – We’ve added more tech tours to provide “behind-the-scenes” views of OEHS best practices in action.
  • Carbon Offsets (in-person only) – AIHA and its Stewardship and Sustainability Committee continue to “green” AIHA Connect. This year we encourage attendees to assess the carbon footprint associated with attending, consider buying carbon offsets, and voluntarily (and anonymously) sharing carbon footprint measurements so we can assess the conference’s overall carbon footprint.

We have so many new and exciting things for AIHA Connect attendees this year! We look forward to seeing everyone in Columbus or online  from May 20-22.

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