ABSA Update

ABSA COUNCIL
President: Ben Fontes

Greetings and happy spring!

Spring Council Meeting
The Council has selected San Diego as the host site of the 2014 ABSA Conference. The Council spent time at the Spring Council Meeting reviewing and updating the ABSA strategic plan, reviewing the budget, updating each other on our assigned projects, and marveling at the efforts of our teams, committees, and incredible volunteers. We are blessed as an organization to have such hard working members. The budget was a significant topic of discussion as ABSA showed a financial loss for the first time in over 20 years. Although we have not fared as poorly as similar organizations, we are asking everyone to make efforts to reduce costs where feasible. We also reviewed the importance of ABSA's presence to the international community and considered how we can continue to be involved while maintaining excellent service to our domestic members.

2010 Biosecurity Conference co-located with BIO International Conference
ABSA has accepted an offer to moderate a roundtable on Personal Reliability and Infrastructure Security at the 2010 Biosecurity Conference (http://convention.bio.org/biosecurity/). We believe that this is a great opportunity to promote ABSA in a new arena and a great chance to participate in an emerging topic for our membership. We are pleased that Dr. Joseph Kanabrocki has agreed to serve as moderator and Dr. Ren Salerno has agreed to help to develop a roster of engaging questions for the panelists. Please refer to the Biosecurity Conference website for more information on the roundtable on personal reliability.

Anthology XII
The next book in the Anthology series has been approved by Council. Anthology XII will focus on BSL-3 facility management and operations and we hope that it will serve as a comprehensive guide for containment laboratories. Dr. Jonathan Richmond will serve as Editor and has thus far selected a diverse set of topics to meet the wide range of needs of BSL-3 research.

ABSA at Upcoming Events
The Council has accepted invitations to attend and make presentations at both the 13th Annual Conference of the European Biosafety Association (EBSA) rescheduled for June (http://www.ebsaweb.eu/), and at the 5th Biosafety Conference of the Asia-Pacific Biosafety Association (A-PBA) in May (http://www.a-pba.org/). President-Elect Karen Byers will represent ABSA at A-PBA and give a talk on Lab Associated Infections. I'm honored to represent ABSA at the EBSA Conference and will also attend the 20th Meeting of the International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA) at the close of the EBSA Conference. IFBA has also finalized their plans for the first international biosafety conference in Bangkok, Thailand in February 2011. Look for updates regarding the event on the IFBA website at http://www.internationalbiosafety.org/. ABSA will be an exhibitor and present a platform paper at the 61st American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) national meeting in Atlanta, GA in October of 2010 (http://www.aalas.org/). ABSA's AALAS liaison Jeff Owens will help lead this effort. ABSA will also have a booth at the ASM, AIHA, and APHL conferences; stop by if you are there!

ABSA will be represented at the annual meetings of our U.S. affiliates. Plans for the Chesapeake Area Biological Safety Association (ChABSA) and Mid-Atlantic Biological Safety Association (MABSA) have been finalized. Rich Rebar will provide an update from the ABSA Council at the MABSA meeting and I will attend the ChABSA symposium for a similar update and forum. MABioN and BSAF/BIONET have also inquired about ABSA representatives at their spring and summer events.

Membership Survey
Special thanks to those members who completed the electronic online ABSA membership survey and thanks to the ABSA Office for forwarding survey results along with all of the anonymous responses (raw data) to each Council member for evaluation. We'll also post a summary of the survey on the website for member review.

Thank you for your support and don't hesitate to provide comments. We appreciate your feedback.

Best regards,
Ben Fontes, ABSA President

ALLIANCE TEAM
Team Leader: Jeff Owens

AALAS: The AALAS Animal Biosafety Working Group has established a schedule of teleconferences to help create scenarios that will serve to develop critical thinking skills, teamwork, and SOPs applicable to different aspects of working in animal biocontainment, for the AALAS animal biosafety training program courses. These scenarios will expose learners to the common pitfalls that can occur while preparing for and working with animals in biocontainment and will help to give them needed confidence to become effective workers.

USDA: The ABSA liaison to the USDA, Dr. Rob Heckert, is on the Steering Committee of the first USDA ARS led Agricultural Biosafety Conference scheduled for February 6-9, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.

REGULATORY & TECHNICAL AFFAIRS TEAM
Team Leaders: Andy Braun & Bill Homovec

Technical and Regulatory Review Committee
Chair: Bill Homovec
The Technical and Regulatory Review Committee has been re-examining the previously identified Biosafety Areas of Interest or Areas of Expertise. It's been recognized that some biosafety areas have emerged or changed since these areas had been initially identified. There are growing needs to have this information updated to address membership needs within ABSA on a variety of fronts.

The Technical and Regulatory Review Committee has also been preparing to engage in several comprehensive reviews of pertinence to biosafety. Review of the final draft of Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Biosafety Competencies is expected to be initiated and completed during the second quarter of 2010.

ABSA Elections
The 2010 ABSA elections will be electronic using Zoomerang. Please make sure that the ABSA Office has an email address that will allow you to participate by receiving emails from Zoomerang or [email protected]. We will post more information on the ABSA website as it becomes available.

NEW ABSA Brochures for Members
ABSA recently published two new brochures, Biosafety and the Profession and Professional Credentials in Biosafety. Biosafety and the Profession describes biosafety and biosafety professionals and can be useful for students, employers, the public, and those who are interested in the profession. Professional Credentials in Biosafety discusses ABSA's two credentials, the Registered Biosafety Professional (RBP) and the Certified Biosafety Professional (CBSP). Professional Credentials in Biosafety could be useful to employers, biosafety professionals, or the public. Both brochures are available for download at www.absa.org If you are giving a presentation and would like to distribute brochures to the participants please contact the ABSA Office for hard copies.

NEW CBSP/RBP Emeritus Application
ABSA now has an Emeritus status for CBSP/RBPs. If you have retired from professional biosafety work, you may qualify for Emeritus status. CBSP/RBP members wishing to obtain Emeritus status should contact the ABSA Office. To be eligible for Emeritus Membership the applicant must be a CBSP or RBP in good standing, retired, and no longer gainfully employed in professional biosafety work.

USDA ARS - 1st International Agricultural Biosafety and Biocontainment Symposium
The United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) is planning the 1st International Agricultural Biosafety and Biocontainment Symposium to be held February 6-9, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. ARS is partnering with The American Biological Safety Association (ABSA) who will be managing the Symposium. The focus of this first symposium will be on animal (livestock, aquaculture, and wildlife) health issues associated with agricultural research, diagnostics, and response. Some possible topics will be new and emerging regulatory and compliance issues, livestock and wildlife interface, one world one health, and biosafety and biocontainment issues in the field, industry, and research environments. The symposium will be 2 1/2 and will also feature courses and exhibits of related products and services. Information will be available at www.absa.org.

Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation Conference: Preventing and Treating Biological Exposures
ABSA is a cosponsor of the upcoming Preventing and Treating Biological Exposures conference June 14-15, 2010 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The conference, presented by the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation, CDC, and Eagleson Institute will focus on occupational health. Caryl Griffin, President of the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation, will provide the Keynote entitled, "Putting the Pieces Together: The Life-Saving Role of Medical Professionals in Biological Laboratories." For more information, go to http://www.eagleson.org/images/occupationalmedicine-final.pdf.

PPB and SSS Sponsor
ABSA would like to thank Esco Technologies for sponsoring the 2010 Spring Seminar Series in New Orleans in March and also sponsoring a day of the Principles and Practices of Biosafety Course in Ft. Lauderdale in February.


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