ABSA Update

Team Leader: Michelle McKinney
This has been an exciting quarter for the ABSA Professional Development Team (PDT). There are numerous training opportunities being planned and offered, and discussions within the PDT committees to expand on ABSA's distance learning program to meet the needs of members who now are facing travel restrictions due to reduced budgets. Please read below for additional details. The PDT is planning to hold a strategic planning session in Fall 2009 to outline areas of improvement for better operation and service to ABSA members. We have also begun work on two CDC grants for ABSA's biosafety education and training program. One is focusing on the evaluation of distance learning technologies and the other is developing improved and copyright-free visual aides for ABSA's training courses. If you are interested in volunteering or sharing your ideas with the PDT, please contact the ABSA Office.

Curriculum Development Committee
Chairs: Esmeralda Prat & Betsy Weirich
The Curriculum Development Committee is offering an introductory level Risk Assessment preconference course at the 2009 annual conference. The next ABSA courses to be developed include topics such as Introduction to Molecular Biology and Microbiology, BSL-3 Maintenance, ABSL-3 Design and Construction, and Fundamentals of Biosafety. If you are interested in volunteering or participating in any of these planned working groups, please contact the ABSA Office.

Educational Operations Committee
Chairs: Kelly Flint & Cheryl Lemanski
The next Principles & Practices of Biosafety course for 2009 will be held on September 13-18, 2009 at the Embassy Suites, Chicago Downtown Lakefront, Chicago, IL. This offering includes updates to the peer-reviewed course materials resulting from a thorough curriculum review by ABSA instructors and subject matter experts. Please check the ABSA website for registration information.

The 2009 Review Course and Spring Seminar was held on April 20-23, 2009 at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, California. Students enjoyed a great selection of courses and wonderful weather at this location. If anyone has suggestions for seminar topics for 2010, please complete the course proposal form for consideration ([link deleted]). ABSA is also pursuing development of a hands-on laboratory safety training course as part of our Seminar Series. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the ABSA Office.

The 2009 preconference course schedule has been finalized and posted on ABSA's website ([link deleted]). There are a total of 32 individual courses offered over four days.

Instructional Technologies Committee
Chairs: Maryjo Lanzillotta & Stacey Kraemer
Various technologies and methods are currently under evaluation to begin recording ABSA courses that can be offered on the web throughout the year. Several courses were recorded at this year's Spring Seminar and the post-production process has now begun. As a follow-up activity, some preconference courses will be captured during the annual conference for evaluation. Efforts are underway to determine the next distance learning venues and topics to be offered. If you are interested in volunteering or participating in any of these distance learning development opportunities, please contact the ABSA Office.

Instructional Resources Committee
Chairs: Madeline Dalrymple & Carol McGhan
The 2009 IRC preconference course is "OPPORTUNITIES AND LIMITATIONS WITH ELECTRONIC TRAINING SOLUTIONS" by Sean G. Kaufman, MPH, CHES, CPH, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. The instructor nomination form is getting ready for pilot use and evaluation prior to implementation, while a working group has been established to better define the instructor nomination process.

Training Tools Committee
Chair: Hallie Heaney
The Training Tools Committee has created all the submission forms on the ABSA website and is currently testing them with the web administrator. The committee plans to have the training tools web page ready for the membership very soon.

Team Leader: John Balog

Affiliate Relations Committee
Chair: John Balog
ARC would like to remind affiliate of the opportunity use the ABSA Affiliate booth to market their organization at the annual conference.

Awards Committee
Chair: Betsy Gilman Duane
The ABSA Awards Committee has received a limited number of nominations for the various honor awards to be given at the annual conference. The committee would like to remind all members that the deadline for nominations is July 15, so there is still time to nominate a worthy individual.  Details may be found at http://www.absa.org/bioawards.html.

Marketing Committee
Chair: Lolly Gardiner
The Marketing Committee has been working with the Defining the Profession Team to develop two new ABSA brochures: "Biosafety and the Profession" and "Professional Credentials in Biosafety." These brochures will be available in print and at www.absa.org.

Membership Committee
Chair: Jim Klenner
The Membership Committee endorsed the Emeritus Status applications for Donald Brayman and Joseph Gyuris to be granted by Council.

Team Leaders: Andy Braun & Bill Homovec
After its initial review and discussions of the March 4, 2009 proposed revisions to the NIH Guidelines include nucleic acids molecules made solely by synthetic means, the TRR recommended to Council that a comment deadline extension be sought by ABSA. It was felt that an extension was needed in order to give a more thorough review to such a significant expansion of the scope of the NIH Guidelines. ABSA subsequently sought and received a comment extension deadline. More review and discussions occurred. Comments were prepared by the TRR and forwarded to the ABSA Council. ABSA subsequently forwarded comments to OBA in advance of the comment deadline.

Team Leader: Jeff Owens

The AALAS Animal Biosafety Working Group reviewed all the survey responses and has begun developing course material for the Animal Biosafety Certificate Training Program with an anticipated release date of Winter 2010.

Sandia hosted ABSA for two days in early June in their mock BSL-2 enhanced training laboratory to take photos and videos for use by ABSA members in training. Sandia is now working with ABSA in post-production to finalize the materials. Sandia is continuing to work with ABSA, EBSA, and the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health (CSCHAH) to develop a structured biosafety risk assessment methodology and tool. CSCHAH hosted a meeting in April to review and refine the model. Sandia and ABSA will host a half-day meeting the morning of Thursday, October 22 in Miami to give a progress report to interested ABSA members.

The liaison (Dr. Rob Heckert) has been working closely with USDA on organizing and planning a meeting that will be held in Paris this summer. This meeting is a collaboration between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in organizing the meeting "Biosafety and Laboratory Biosecurity Meeting for Animal and Human Health Stakeholders" in Paris, France, on June 30 to July 2, 2009.

The three organizations believe that biosafety and laboratory biosecurity are topics that the public health community shares with the animal health community, and feel it is important to involve collaborative efforts that address identified gaps and needs. The liaison has been working closely with Joe Kozlovac from USDA on planning this meeting.

The main objectives of the meeting are to:

  1. Determine means to foster increased collaborations/partnerships between the human and animal public health biosafety communities (e.g., Ministries of Health & Ministries of Agriculture).
  2. Discuss the challenges and benefits associated with harmonized human and animal laboratory biosafety and laboratory biosecurity programs.
  3. Develop a plan for the delivery of increased support in biosafety and laboratory biosecurity on zoonotic diseases for the animal health sector.
  4. Identify and develop a plan to address country needs. Bob Ellis as President of ABSA has been invited to attend and participate.

Team Leader: Barbara Johnson

Exhibitor Advisory Committee (EAC)
Chair: Steve Sowa
The EAC has arranged for a total of 84 exhibit booths this year at the ABSA Conference in Miami. To date, 66 exhibit spaces have been reserved. This is a great opportunity to network with your fellow biosafety professionals and get your organization recognized. Please visit the ABSA website at http://www.absaconference.org for more information.

Scientific Program Committee (SPC)
Chairs: Je'T Newton and Anne-Sophie Brocard
The Scientific Program Committee has received 77 abstracts for the ABSA Miami Conference and is in the process of reviewing the submissions and assigning them as platform and poster presentations. Visit the website and sign-up for preconference courses, over the past few years many have filled fast!

Local Arrangements Committee (LAC)
Chair: Jairo Betancourt
The Local Arrangements Committee has successfully worked with the airlines to provide discounts for ABSA attendees and there are some attractive cruise packages as well. More information can be found on ABSA Conference website under Travel and Accommodations.

Americans Airlines 5% Discount!
With the help of the University of Miami, we have arranged for a 5% discount for travel to and from the ABSA Conference in Miami. The discount is valid for travel during October 9-27, 2009 to Miami and nearby airports (Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach). To get the discount use the Authorization Code of A96H9AE on aa.com or by calling 800-433-1790.

Continental Airlines Discount
For a discount of 2 to 15%, go to www.continental.com and provide the Z Code ZFS5 and Agreement Code B2E8WB. You can also make reservations by phone by calling Continental Airlines MeetingWorks at 800-468-7022 and providing the Z Code and Agreement Code. There will be a $15.00 service fee for phone reservations. You can also get the discount through a travel agent by providing the Z Code and Agreement Code.

Pre- or Post-Conference Cruise Information
Lorraine Travel, LLC
Chanel Cerquiera
[email protected] 877-844-7977

Calendar Members Only