ABSA Update

ABSA Orlando 2012

The 55th Annual Biological Safety Conference will be in Orlando, FL, October 18-24, 2012. Meetings and Exhibits will be at the Hilton Bonnet Creek Resort and the banquet will be at Sea World.

The Call for Papers is available at www.absaconference.org. The deadline is April 13.

Exhibit and Sponsor opportunities for 2012 are also available. We are looking forward to an outstanding 55th Annual Biological Safety Conference!

ABSA Council

President: LouAnn Burnett

It's hard to believe that we are only 2 1/2 months away from ABSA's Annual Biosafety Conference in Orlando. You should have been seeing many announcements for the conference and also the transition to a new year for ABSA leadership. I urge you to take the time to cast your vote for President-Elect, Secretary, Councilors, and the Nominating Committee. Your vote does make a difference!

Your Council has been quite busy. We spent two extra days at our mid-term meeting in March drafting an updated Strategic Plan to move ABSA forward for the next several years. The next step is to work with ABSA's volunteer leaders to assure that our operational plan is aligned with the strategic goals.

Please stay tuned for more of ABSA's ongoing efforts towards accreditation of non-Select Agent Biosafety Level 3 laboratories. The Council has accepted the Accreditation Task Force business plan for moving forward with this initiative and the Task Force is hard at work making this plan a reality.

We are also sending a ballot to change our bylaws to the membership. The change in wording is minor, but the impact is far-reaching — the proposed changes would protect not only Council but all of our volunteers — team leaders, committee and task force chairs, and committee and task force members from legal action resulting from their service to ABSA (except, of course, in the case of negligence). More information as well as instructions on how to cast your vote will arrive in your e-mail soon.

I have had the privilege to visit with many of ABSA's affiliates in the past few months — both international (paid for by my day job) and domestic. I commend these energetic associations for their passion and dedication to expanding the field and expertise of biosafety, biosecurity, and biorisk management on local and regional levels. One theme is clear though — all these associations look to ABSA to set the pace and tone for the way forward.

Among all these successes, ABSA, of course, has challenges. The stagnant economy is likely to continue to impact our members and thus, the association, significantly. Challenges, however, often breed innovation and I invite your creative thoughts on how ABSA can work to increase the value of both ABSA and being a biosafety professional to your current and prospective employers.

I hope that I will see all of you in Orlando for what is shaping-up to be another stellar opportunity to meet friends and colleagues, gain new information, and renew your dedication to our profession and to our organization. As always, please don't hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or the ABSA Office at [email protected] with any questions, suggestions, or concerns!

Warm Regards,
LouAnn Burnett
President, ABSA

ABSA Distance Learning Committee

Chair: MaryJo Lanzillotta

The Effective Biosafety Training Webinar will be held August 21 and September 11, 2012. To register, please visit http://absa.org/edubstraining.html. This is a blended learning opportunity.

Call for Webinars!

If you would like to propose a webinar or distance learning course, please go to [link deleted]. The DLC is developing new webinars and distance learning opportunities to meet member needs.

ABSA Principles & Practices of Biosafety

Co-Chairs: Paul Jennette & Paul Meechan

The next Principles & Practices of Biosafety (PPB) will be February 24 - March 1, 2013 at the Embassy Suites Lake Buena Vista South in Orlando, Florida. Additional information and registration can be found at http://www.absa.org/eduppb.html.

The PPB is a comprehensive, interactive 5-day course. Principles & Practices of Biosafety will introduce the essential elements of biosafety and provide extensive resource lists for use after the course. Interactive exercises will be used throughout to provide hands-on experience, encourage networking, and problem-solving among participants and instructors.

Philanthropic Committee

Chair: Barbara Johnson

The Philanthropic Committee secured a Scholarship commitment from the Global Science Safety Institute to fund travel costs for one U.S. and one International entry level biosafety student to attend the ABSA Principles & Practices of Biosafety Course. The U.S. CDC committed funding from the CDC Symposium to cover the tuition fees. One scholarship award nominee from Puerto Rico met the application criteria and was awarded a scholarship by the Awards Committee.

Technical and Regulatory Review Committee

Chair: Bill Homovec

The TRR reviewed the April 25, 2012 Federal Register announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Healthcare Quality, announcing the availability for comment on the draft "National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections: Roadmap to Elimination." Comments were prepared and reviewed by the committee. Comments were forwarded to Council for consideration. After review and editing, comments were forwarded to the President for her signature and forwarding to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The State of California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board proposed a rule on April 19, 2012 that would amend sections of the California Health and Safety Codes to include requirements related to the use and maintenance of microtomes used in California. The committee reviewed the proposed standard. It was decided not to prepare comments for consideration by Council.

Credentialing Maintenance Board

Chair: Krista Murray

The Learning Verification Workgroup, chaired by Chris Jenkins, kicked off in mid-May with the goal of creating quiz questions for various low cost or free ABSA resources such as Applied Biosafety and the animal biosafety videos. The questions will serve as a means to verify that RBPs and CBSPs have successfully reviewed the materials in order to claim credit toward certification maintenance.

The group is halfway towards an initial goal of creating quiz questions for the most recent issues of Applied Biosafety, as well as the animal biosafety videos available on the ABSA webpage. Early indications suggest that reading an entire quarterly journal requires approximately 2 hours (0.25 CM), in addition to questions; same for the animal biosafety videos on one grouping. The Working Group is aiming to have a first draft of questions for full LVW review by end of June, with prospects for launching quiz questions for CM credit by late July or August. The exact mechanism and format (e.g., Zoomerang, Articulate, etc.) for completion of the quiz questions and verification of same remains unclear, and various options are under consideration by ABSA Office staff who will implement the quiz questions. This will serve as a valuable CM opportunity for our ABSA members.

Publications Committee

Chair: Joany Jackman

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript to Applied Biosafety: Journal of ABSA International, please visit http://apb.sagepub.com/.

Anthology XIII: Animal Production and Protection-Challenges, Risks, and Best Practices should be available shortly.

Visit the ABSA Anthology page at: http://www.absa.org/pubanth.html

Training Tools/Resources for Biosafety Professionals Committee

Co-Chairs: Patricia Cox & Angela Ragan

The Training Tools Committee has been renamed Training Tools/Resources for Biosafety Professionals. If you would like to submit a resource to the committee to share with other members through the ABSA web site, please follow this link: http://www.absa.org/trainingtools.html.

Affiliate Relations Committee

Chair: Jennifer Gaudioso

The Affiliate Relations Committee reviewed and recommended the approval of the Georgian Biological Safety Association (GeBSA) and the Association of Biosafety for Australia and New Zealand (ABSANZ). Both have been approved by the ABSA Council for Affiliate status. Go to http://absa.org/affiliates.html to find out more about all of ABSA's Affiliates and the benefits of being an ABSA Affiliate. The Committee is planning another Affiliate Workshop at the ABSA Conference; it will be on Thursday, October 25, 2012.

Awards Committee

Chair: Judy LaDuc

The Awards Committee assisted the Philanthropic Committee by recommending a candidate to receive funding for the Principles & Practices of Biosafety course being offered in July.

The committee is beginning its review of nominations for the honor awards (Wedum, Hanel, Richardson). There were very few nominations this year.

The committee had 75% of the Applied Biosafety articles reviewed and scored by June 14. This places the committee in readiness for a quick turnaround of the articles that came out in the July edition of Applied Biosafety. The Knudsen winner will be notified in a timely manner so that they are able to prepare for their presentation at ABSA.

ABSA Membership Site

Did you know that through the ABSA Store, not only can you access the ABSA Members Directory, you can update your contact information under the "My Information" link; view events you have registered for under "My Events"; access your educational credits under the "My Professional Development" link (still being updated); print a copy of past invoices under "My Transactions." You could also purchase ABSA publications, NEW ABSA shirts, and other ABSA products. The ABSA Office is working hard to make managing your membership more intuitive and user-friendly.

Upcoming ABSA Events

Calendar Members Only