The Baltimore Convention Center is hosting AIHce 2016, taking place May 21-26. (Visit Baltimore photo)

Baltimore Beckons

This year's AIHce conference will be year five for the wildly popular Ignite sessions, which are five-minute talks on pretty much any IH topic.

The year's most important U.S. industrial hygiene conference of the year, AIHce 2016, begins May 21 in downtown Baltimore, a city steeped in history and celebrating some significant milestones this year. The Baltimore Convention Center is hosting the event, with 10 nearby hotels welcoming attendees and exhibitor personnel. The Hilton Baltimore, connected to the convention center, is hosting the AIHce Welcome Party, brought back this year and taking place from 7-9 p.m. May 22 in the Key Grand Ballroom. AIHce 2016 is co-sponsored by the American Industrial Hygiene Association an0d the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists.

The May 21-26 conference features the 30th annual American Industrial Hygiene Foundation Fun Run/Walk starting at 6:30 a.m. on May 24 and also the second annual Mark of Excellence Awards breakfast on May 25.

Educational Program Highlights
The conference is designed to broaden attendees’ knowledge of key IH topics and build stronger relationships with other OEHS professionals. Courses, technical sessions, posters, lectures, workshops and luncheon discussions address professional development, scientific issues, management trends, and industry innovations. Program highlights include the Jeffrey S. Lee Lecture (12:30-1:30 p.m. Monday, May 23), the Donald E. Cummings Award Lecture (12:30-1:30 p.m. Wednesday), Unsolved IH Mysteries workshops both Monday and Tuesday, and technical sessions on a host of topics Monday-Thursday (including IH implications of nanomaterials, oil & gas emerging issues, laboratory design, risk assessment, occupational exposure banding, real-time portable instruments, combustible dust, welding fume, 2016 LEED changes, noise, airborne contaminants, GHS, formaldehyde, confined spaces, and many more).

The general session speaker at 8 a.m. on Monday is Adam Steltzner, team leader and chief engineer EDL for NASA's Curiosity Rover project, who will explain how the NASA team solved myriad design challenges and setbacks before and after successfully landing the rover on Mars in August 2012. Steltzner no doubt will discuss his upcoming book, "The Right Kind of Crazy: A True Story of Teamwork, Leadership and High Stakes Innovation," which is scheduled for release in 2016.

Tuesday's general session at 8-9 a.m., titled "The AIHce Morning Show: Pathways to Progress in Science and Practice," features OSHA Assistant Secretary Dr. David Michaels and NIOSH Director Dr. John Howard, with AIHA President Dan Anna, Ph.D., CIH, CSP, serving as host. Michaels and Howard are scheduled to participate in an "Ask the Expert" session after the general session ends. And on Tuesday at 10:30-11:30 a.m., the 16th annual Upton Sinclair Memorial Lecture for Outstanding EHS Investigative Reporting features Sarah Maslin Nir of The New York Times. She'll discuss the newspaper's investigation of occupational hazards at the city’s nail salons.

For the fifth year in a row, AIHce will feature the popular Ignite sessions, which are five-minute talks on pretty much any topic. These are standing-room-only talks with "wildly enthusiastic" crowds, as AIHA described them in its invitation for members to submit Ignite topics by March 15.

A virtual AIHce is available again this year: five days of educational sessions, including two general sessions and technical sessions on noise, control banding, ergonomics, confined spaces, nanotechnology, and other topics. Registrants for the virtual conference will pay fees ranging from $275 to $675 (member price) and $345 to $870 (non-member) to hear the sessions. Visit http://aihce2016.org/virtual-conference/ for virtual conference information and registration.

Expo Highlights
The Baltimore Convention Center (www.bccenter.org/) is in the centerpiece of downtown Baltimore, the Inner Harbor. Originally opened in 1979 with 115,000 square feet of exhibit space, it was renovated in the mid-1990s with 300,000 square feet of space for exhibitors. The AIHce 2016 exposition will include at least 200 exhibitors occupying halls E, F, G, and the Swing Hall, with approximately 5,500 people participating in the conference as a whole.

AIHce expo hours are:

  • 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 23
  • 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Tuesday
  • * 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Wednesday

City Attractions
Milestone anniversaries in Baltimore this year include The National Aquarium's 35th being celebrated on Aug. 8; the Maryland Science Center turns 40 on June 24; and Fort McHenry and other National Park Service sites around the country celebrating the service's 100th anniversary this year. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra also is celebrating 100 years during its 2015-2016 season, according to Visit Baltimore.

Ask any local, and the recommendations are likely to include some of the fresh fare at Lexington Market and the many good restaurants in downtown's Little Italy district. The aquarium, always worth a visit, offers an immersive "Living Seashore" exhibit to acquaint visitors with the plants and animals found on Maryland's seacoast.

This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of Occupational Health & Safety.

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