In This Issue:
Principles & Practices of Biosafety
Advanced Biosafety/Review Course
Member Referral Program
Providence Local Arrangements
ABSA International Panel
Technical and Regulatory Review
ABSA Owned Course Working Group
Biosafety Buyer's Guide and Job Board
Credentialing Maintenance Board
Credentialing Evaluation Board
Anthology XIV: Sustainability
President: Marian Downing
Hello ABSA Members,
The year is flying by! The ABSA Council, office, teams, and committees have been very busy during these past 3 months.
- ABSA Council requested the NIH NBBTP (National Biosafety and Biocontainment Program) Fellows to consider taking on 3 projects. I am excited to report that the Fellows are currently working on:
- Updating the ABSA Risk Group website, to include new organisms, updated references, prion diseases, etc. They have finished the parasite and fungi categories, and are forging ahead on the viruses and bacteria.
- Expanding on an undergraduate biosafety course curriculum (starting with the program at Colorado State kindly provided by Bob Ellis). These curriculums (to include 1 and 5 credit and high school summer program) will be provided free of charge to ABSA members in the hope that universities will implement into their curriculum.
- Summarizing the National Biosafety Stewardship Month survey data and presenting at the ABSA Conference in Providence.
- ABSA responded to the USA Today story published on May 28, 2015 entitled "Inside America's secretive biolabs." The response was limited to 350 words and allotted 1.5 days of response time; Council and the Public Relations Committee chose to focus on some points of contention in the article, rather than on the article as a whole. Readers of the rebuttal were directed to ABSA's position on several of the allegations, written by the Unified Oversight Task Force and sent to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, found at: http://www.absa.org/pdf/150325ABSAExecutiveSummary_cdc_lab_incident.pdf
- The ABSA Executive Committee and ABSA Office helped edit the laboratory pictorial found in the USA Today story mentioned above.
- A Public Relations Committee, lead by Chris Thompson, has been formed to assist with the response to numerous requests in the past year from the press. This committee will begin writing "talking points" for common topics and identifying potential interviewees among ABSA members. The committee was already involved in responses to the recent spate of USA Today stories.
- In response to member requests, Council has approved a new group membership category that will provide a 10% group membership discount for a 3-9 members registering as a group, and a 20% discount for > 10 members registering as a group. This new category will go into effect for 2016 Membership.
- A new task force has been started, lead by Councilor Scott Alderman and President-Elect Melissa Morland, to work on the 2015 ABSA Strategic Plan Mega-Issue: How will ABSA collaborate efforts with other disciplines in response to emerging issues to increase the value of biosafety? The Mega-Issue is focused on finding ways to improved communication/interactions with infection control (APIC), Public Health Laboratories (APHA) and others, based on some of the problems and opportunities biosafety officers faced in the Ebola response in the U.S. in 2014.
- Barb Owen and Kalpana Rengarajan are helped write the first draft of the ISO Standard for the proposed conversion of CWA 15793 (Laboratory Biorisk Management), that was due at the end of June. The scope of the document has been broadened to include "any laboratory or other organization that handles, stores, transports and/or disposes of biological agents or toxins" which is more in keeping with ABSA's goals.
- Maureen O'Leary (ABSA's IFBA Representative) and Mary Cipriano attended the IFBA (International Federation of Biosafety Associations) and EBSA (European Biosafety Association) conferences in Vienna in April on behalf of ABSA.
- Ray Hackney presented on Laboratory Accreditation as the ABSA representative to the Lab Safety Task Force organized by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), which met in Washington, DC in May.
- Bill Homovec has agreed to represent ABSA in the new APHL (Association of Public Health Laboratories) Biosafety and Biosecurity Committee.
- ABSA has officially joined the International Biosecurity and Prevention Forum (IBPF), a U.S. Government initiative developed by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in collaboration with INTERPOL and other key international partners, to prevent the misuse of biological agents as weapons of mass destruction. News and information can be found at: https://www.ibpforum.org .
The ABSA Office completed the vote to change the name for ABSA. ABSA will adopt the name "ABSA International." Given that ABSA has members from 41 countries in addition to the United States, this name change should enhance our international visibility and increase opportunities to participate in international biosafety initiatives, such as the development of the ISO Biorisk Management document.
Thank you all for your contributions to ABSA and the biosafety profession. As you can see from this Update, we have a lot of tireless volunteers and a very patient office staff!
Distance Learning Committee
Co-Chairs: MaryJo Lanzillotta and Kathleen Kennedy
The DLC continues to develop, review, and offer new and on-going webinars for ABSA members professional growth. For those seeking biosafety credentialing (RBP/CBSP), there are two (free) on-demand webinars now available on the ABSA website (http://www.absa.org/biomenu.html).
Two new webinars have been offered and completed: Intro to Risk and Media Communications for Biosafety Professionals (April, 23 attendees) and Train the Trainer: Tools for More Engaging Compliance Training (April, 31 attendees). A new course has been added to the schedule for 2015: Viral Vector Safety and Risk Assessment led by Dawn Wooley, will be offered in 3-one hour sessions on September 21, 23, and 25. Registration for this course is available at (http://www.absa.org/eduviralvector.html).
In addition to the courses listed above, ABSA will be offering a webinar series August through September focusing on personality differences, the biosafety team, and safety culture led Sean Kaufman, Natasha Griffith, and Nathan Watson. Registration can be found at (http://www.absa.org/edupersonalityteamculture.html). An Occupational Health webinar will be offered in the Fall of 2015-date to be determined.
The DLC is also reviewing the Basic Disinfection course to convert to an on-demand offering and Effective Biosafety Training to improve content with the goal to roll-out in 2016.
To view the current list of professional development opportunities, please visit the education webpage (http://www.absa.org/edumenu.html) and revisit the site as new courses are added routinely. Please invite your colleagues, nonmembers, or other professionals to attend.
Principles & Practices of Biosafety
Co-Chairs: Paul Jennette and Jeff Owens
The Principles and Practices of Biosafety course was held in St. Louis, Missouri June 7-12, 2015. In addition to the Co-Chairs, Pat Condreay, Dee Zimmerman, and Betsy Weirich instructed 41 participants and The Baker Company and PRI-Bio each sponsored one day of the class. Further improvements to interactive exercises, including use of cloud-based file storage/retrieval and online editing of exercise reports using PowerPoint Online via MS OneDrive. A revised Management and Communications module was presented by the instructors. A post-class work session was completed to evaluate the course in relation to the CWA 53:2011 Biosafety Professional Competency standards as directed by ABSA Council. A report with the committee's evaluation outcomes and recommendations will be provided to Council. Registration for the next offering of the Principles & Practices of Biosafety course is open. The course will be February 21-26, 2016 at the Embassy Suites Downtown San Diego Bay, San Diego, California. To register for this course please visit (http://www.absa.org/eduppb.html).
Certification Review Course Committee
Co-Chairs: Rita D'Angelo and Willie Wong
The committee completed a review of the skill and drill set questions for all 7 of the Advanced Biosafety Training Modules. New questions have been added to ensure that there is a balanced distribution of questions across all 7 modules. Post-assessment quiz questions were also revised for several modules. The registration for the Advanced Biosafety Training Modules (Certification Review Course Modules) can be found at http://absa.org/educbsp.html.
Preconference Course Committee
Co-Chairs: Corrie Ntiforo and Carrie Smith
The Preconference Course Committee has had several teleconferences which included the course decision call and a call to outline facilitator responsibilities. For the upcoming ABSA conference, 27 courses have been selected for the preconference course schedule. Currently, facilitators are in contact with their respective course instructors and are working with them to finalize course materials. Further information and registration for the pre-conference courses can be found at (http://absaconference.org/).
ABSA "Member-Get-A-Member" Referral Program
We are asking our current members to help recruit new ABSA members. For each new member that current members recruit, they will receive a $50.00 ABSA credit. The credit may be used towards ABSA products such as conference registration, merchandise, membership, publications, or courses. Newly recruited members must have not been members for the last two years. To be eligible, referring members must be good standing ABSA members for 2015.
When referring new members, ask them to join ABSA at www.absa.org. After they have joined, ask them to email [email protected] indicating who referred them to ABSA. You will then be credited and able to use the credit.
Co-Editors: Karen Byers and Barbara Johnson
Applied Biosafety (Volume 20, Number 2) covers at least one relevant topic to every member's biosafety practice. For example, if you are responsible for: Biosafety Level 2 labs see Barker et al. p. 72; Institutional Biosafety Committees, see Bayha et. al., on p. 75; High-Containment Labs, see Margaritis and Tyler, on p.80, and Dennis et al., on p.89; Reviewing Legacy Biological Materials, see Klein et al. on p. 99; Removal of Botulinum Neurotoxin A in Clinical Settings, see Lucas et al. on p. 108. Special Features columnists have distilled advice on the methods and limitations for sterilization and high-level disinfection of reusable medical equipment (see p. 110) and the key elements for the early stages of successful establishment of a containment laboratory (see p.115). Cutting-edge research is summarized on antibiotic discovery (see p. 117) and a clinical trial of an MVA-based H5N1 Vaccine (see p.117).
The "Instructions for Contributors" have been updated and are available on p. 120. Authors are welcome to contact the Coeditors-in-Chief for encouragement and advice! If you are interested in submitting an article to the journal, information can be found at (www.x-cd.com/absa/article.cfm). Applied Biosafety also offers advertising opportunities-please contact Karen Savage at ([email protected]) for details.
Scientific Program Committee
Co-Chairs: Shelley Jones, Darlene Ward and Betsy Matos
The Scientific Program Committee reviewed and discussed over 50 platform and poster abstracts. As a result of the reviews, the abstracts were organized into the scientific program agenda and moderators were assigned. Plenary speakers have been solicited for the various keynote lectures and most have been confirmed. This year's presentations will include a session on: Expanding Biosafety Officers' Training and Outreach; Lessons learned from Ebola; the Biosafety Stewardship Events including a special presentation from the NBBTP with results from the National Biosafety Stewardship Month Survey; a roundtable discussion of Real Versus Perceived Risks of RNA; talks addressing Dual-Use Research and Responsible Conduct of Science; Occupational Health and Medical Surveillance; Preventing Laboratory Acquired Illnesses, and many more contemporary topics. George Church, PhD, Harvard Medical School, will discuss his paper Biocontainment of Genetically Modified Organisms by Synthetic Protein Design published in Nature. The scientific program will prove to be educational and intriguing. The conference agenda can be found at (http://absaconference.org). We look forward to seeing everyone in Providence.
Local Arrangements Committee
Co-Chairs: Ted Myatt and Colleen Driskill
The ABSA Local Arrangement Committee continues to work in preparation for the ABSA Providence conference. Subcommittees are actively working on preparations for the Tuesday night banquet that will be held at the Rhode Island Convention Center, and the selection of speaker and attendee gifts. A blog based visitor guide has been generated and the committee will continue to add new content. The guide is available at: https://absaprovidence2015.wordpress.com/. The committee is excited about bringing the ABSA conference back to New England!
Exhibitors Advisory Committee
Chair: Gary Lindsey
The ABSA Office is actively working with conference registration and on new vendor relations. The Exhibitor Prospectus for the 58th Annual Biological Safety Conference in Providence, Rhode Island is available at http://absaconference.org/sponsorexhibitor-info/. Approximately 52 exhibitors have reserved booth space and there are still spaces available. Email [email protected] for exhibit and sponsor information.
ABSA International Panel
ABSA 58th Annual Biological Safety Conference
Sunday October 11, 2015
Please join us for the ABSA International Panel and learn about US global biosafety and biosecurity initiatives from panelists representing the Biosecurity Engagement Program (BEP), the Global Health biosecurity Agenda (GHSA), The Twinning Program and more. Panelists will share what they are doing internationally through case studies, success stories, and lessons learned.
Co-Chairs: Bruce Whitney and David Gillum
The Publications Committee continues to work with the Journal Board on a publication regarding LAIs. The committee has provided feedback on a proposal to create a database for published accounts of laboratory-acquired infections as a resource for the profession. A formal proposal was submitted to Council for review and consideration. The Publications Committee has two members participating in the review of Applied Biosafety articles for the Knudsen Award which will be presented at the ABSA Conference. The committee has also welcomed two new members.
Training Tools/Resources Committee
Co-Chairs: Eleanor Low and David Harbourt
The Training Tools and Resources Committee have added new resources to the webpage. To view submissions or to submit a new training tool or resources visit http://www.absa.org/trainingtools.html.
Learning Verification Committee
Co-Chairs: Chris Jenkins and Nikki Drazenovich
The Learning Verification Committee is working on generating questions for ABSA Applied Biosafety Journal issues 14(3), 18(2) and 18(4). Once completed, the Learning Verification Committee will release two more complete quizzes for CM Points. Currently, there are three sets of quizzes currently available for credentialing maintenance credits. Additional information and registration can be found at http://www.absa.org/eduonline.html.
Chair: Robert Hawley
The Standards Committee completed the BSL-2 laboratory checklist and the checklist was reviewed by all members of the Accreditation Team. The checklist was sent to ABSA for final disposition.
An institution seeking accreditation may apply to the ABSA Laboratory Accreditation Program at [email protected]. After you apply, the ABSA Laboratory Accreditation Program will initiate the steps required for the comprehensive on-site assessment. The entire process is confidential.
Additional information on the ABSA Accreditation Program can be found at http://www.absaaccreditation.org.
Co-Chairs: Alexis Brubaker and Debra Sharpe
The Legislative Committee drafted a position paper for Council consideration and approval, regarding the Office of Science and Technology Policy request for comments on the Select Agent regulations: http://www.absa.org/pdf/150410ABSA_OSTP_SAR_Comments.pdf.
Technical and Regulatory Review Committee
Chair: Leslie Hofherr
In February, the TRR provided ABSA Council comments on the USDA Table of Contents for a new publication - A Biosafety/Biocontainment Manual that would complement the NIH/CDC publication, "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories" (BMBL).
Beginning July 1, 2015, The TRR will have a new Chair, Eric Steelman and Co-Chair, Yolanda Arriaga Stringer. Leslie Hofherr will remain on the TRR until the end of the year.
ABSA Owned Course Working Group
Chair: Pat Condreay
The Basic Risk Assessment course is under revision and will be presented during the pre-conference course program in Providence, Rhode Island.
Biosafety Buyer's Guide
ABSA launched the Biosafety Buyer's Guide in 2014. In its first year the guide had much success with many ads and visits. The Guide lists companies and consultants that provide biosafety related products and services. Go to http://www.biosafetybuyersguide.org to view the Guide. For more information about being included in the guide contact Karen Savage at [email protected].
ABSA Job Board
Are you looking for a biosafety job or want to post a biosafety job? Go to the ABSA Job Board for the latest biosafety job openings at http://absa.org/biojobs.html.
Credentialing Maintenance Board
Co-Chairs: Krista Murray and Thomas Leonard
The Credentialing Maintenance Board continues to explore mechanisms to identify and announce emergent biosafety-related webinars that are both inexpensive and suitable for certification maintenance (CM) credit for the benefit of the credentialed biosafety community. There were 34 credentialed biosafety professionals due to re-credential for the 2009-2014 cycle. Due to retirement, lack of credit, or departure from the profession, 15 professionals did not reapply. The credentialed professionals that applied for re-credentialing, 18 were approved and re-credentialed. There are currently 367 biosafety professionals credentialed by ABSA.
Credentialing Evaluation Board
Co-Chairs: Betty Kupskay and Donald Wang
The Credentialing Evaluation Board is current with the reviews of all submitted RBP or CBSP applications to the ABSA office. During the months February through May, 30 applications were received and reviewed. Of the applications received, 27 were RBP and three were CBSP. Of the 20 RBP and CBSP approvals, 6 were resubmissions for reconsiderations; they were approved after fulfilling the reason(s) for their previous denial. Of the RBP and CBSP denials, the main reason was for the length of time in managing a comprehensive biosafety program and a few were denied due to their received Masters or PhD program was not focused in biosafety.
Anthology XIV: Sustainability
Anthology XIV helps us to better understand how we can create facilities that are more efficient with strategies such as reducing the energy requirements for effective autoclaves, biological safety cabinets, and animal facilities. With sustainability comes commitment for investing in the future, and this Anthology XIV will continue to provide current and forward-thinking information to aid the biosafety community achieve its goals.
Anthology XIV will be available in print at:
Chair: Judy LaDuc
The Awards Committee has been reviewing the Applied Biosafety Journal articles for the Knudsen Award to be presented at the ABSA Conference in Providence, Rhode Island. The committee is also reviewing nominations for the various Honor Awards.
Chair: Carol McGhan
The Finance Committee provided ABSA teams and committees with their 2015 budget requests for 2016.
Chair: JeT'Aime Newton
The Membership Committee has been regularly approving Emeritus requests and working on contacting new members for service on ABSA's various committees.
Chair: David Phillips
The Philanthropic Committee continues to work towards the completion of the basic biosafety on-demand module for low resource countries. The committee hopes to announce the launch of the module at the ABSA Conference in Providence, Rhode Island.
Chair: Paul Meechan
The committee has met, ranked, and contacted prospective candidates. At this point, the slate is nearly filled with the exception of the President-Elect position. The committee is on its timeline and will be fielding a strong slate of candidates for 2015.
Co-chairs: Althea Capul and Sarah Ziegler
The Mentoring Committee received 3 new mentorship requests. The committee is also requesting information on available mentors, and data on past mentor/mentee relationships. There is discussion on modifying the current evaluation form.
ABSA Membership Site
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 (being updated); and print a copy of past invoices under "My Transactions." You can also purchase ABSA publications, NEW ABSA shirts, and other ABSA products. ABSA is working hard to make managing your membership more intuitive and user-friendly.