Membership
Leadership / Staff 2017-04-25T13:15:48+00:00

Message from ABSA International President Maureen O’Leary

Dear ABSA Colleagues,

I am truly honored and flattered to be the ABSA President this year. I realize that it will be difficult to emulate the great ABSA Presidents of the past but will sure give it my best shot.

During the ABSA conference I presented a few overarching focus areas for the coming year:

  1. We will continue to work with federal agencies on influencing biosafety and biosecurity policy. There is important knowledge from practitioners that needs to be conveyed to the different agencies. We are in a great position to educate and influence the direction of regulations that we will need to comply with and implement at our own institutions.
  2. We will also work on developing a process to have resources available in a timely fashion for new and emerging technologies and infectious agents. Availability of these resources will ensure that all of our members will have access to the best and latest information/recommendations related to best practices.
  3. Enhancing our international engagement will ensure that we are living up to our new name as ABSA International and that we are a global source for biosafety and biosecurity resources. By interacting with our affiliates, partners, and members throughout the world, we will work towards contributing to international biosafety and biosecurity norms, which will be beneficial to all of us while creating a broad set of expertise and resources.
  4. We are also reigniting the development of the ABSA Ambassador Program to have greater outreach both domestically and internationally .

Work is in progress to organize and establish working groups and task forces. If you are interested in one of these areas or have ideas you would like to share please let me know.

ABSA International is a successful association because of our outstanding members, especially those that commit to volunteering their time to work on important ABSA initiatives. If you are interested in volunteering please fill out the Get Involved form.

I am looking forward to a very busy and productive year!

Sincerely,

Maureen O’Leary, PhD, MBA, CBSP, ABSA International President

ABSA President, Maureen O'Leary, PhD, CBSP

Maureen O’Leary, PhD, MBA, CBSP
ABSA International President

ABSA President’s Report

February 23, 2017

Maureen O'Leary, PhD, CBSP
 
Dear ABSA International Colleagues,
 
In December, I was fortunate to join colleagues from around the world to attend the WHO Biosafety Advisory Group meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. At the meeting, the WHO Biosafety Advisory Group discussed, among other things, the progress on the update to the Laboratory Biosafety Manual. WHO has decided to depart from using the BSL-laboratory designations and start using core, core-plus, and containment terminology to describe laboratory safety requirements. The first draft of the Manual is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
 
Our own discussions at ABSA International led to the formation of three task forces. These task forces are working on developing a process to have quick access and resources available for new and emerging technologies/diseases, enhancing our international engagement, and establishing the ABSA Ambassadors Program. I will keep you informed of the progress made in these task forces.
 
 
Our existing task forces continue to work on multiple projects. The Select Agent Task Force continues to work with the CDC and USDA on providing a Select Agent community forum and plans are being made to hold webinars this spring. The Marketing Task Force is working with NIH to assist with the National Biosafety Stewardship Month.
 
Lastly, the Principles & Practices of Biosafety will be held March 5-10, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas.
 
Sincerely,
Maureen O'Leary, PhD, CBSP


October 25, 2016

Maureen O'Leary, PhD, MBA, CBSP
Dear ABSA Colleagues,

We had a great conference this year in Grapevine, Texas with 633 attendees with 911 spots filled in the preconference courses. Thank you for your participation and making the annual meeting such a dynamic learning experience and a place where a lot of new ideas and sharing of best practices came to light. Thank you to the Scientific Program Committee, Local Arrangements Committee, Preconference Course Committee, and Exhibitors Advisory Committee for their contributions to the ABSA International Conference.

During the conference we had the ABSA International Council meeting and the opportunity to work on strategic planning with team and committee leadership. I presented a few overarching focus areas for the coming year:

We will continue to work with federal agencies on influencing biosafety and biosecurity policy. There is important knowledge from practitioners that needs to be conveyed to the different agencies. We are in a great position to educate and influence the direction of regulations that we will need to comply with and implement at our own institutions.
We will also work on developing a process to have resources available in a timely fashion for new and emerging technologies and infectious agents. Availability of these resources will ensure that all of our members will have access to the best and latest information/recommendations related to best practices.
Enhancing our international engagement will ensure that we are living up to our new name as ABSA International and that we are a global source for biosafety and biosecurity resources. By interacting with our affiliates, partners, and members throughout the world, we will work towards contributing to international biosafety and biosecurity norms, will be beneficial to all of us while creating a broad set of expertise and resources.
We are also reigniting the development our ABSA Ambassador Program and having an international focused session on the Sunday before the next ABSA conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Work is in progress to establish working groups and task forces. If you are interested in one of these areas or have ideas you would like to share please let me know.

Lastly, the USDA ARS 4th International Biosafety and Biosecurity Symposium will be held February 6-9, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland and the Principles & Practices of Biosafety will be held March 5-10, 2017 in San Antonio, Texas.

I am looking forward to a very busy and productive year!


ABSA Past Presidents

1985   Everett Hanel
1986   Jerry Tulis, PhD
1987   Jonathan Richmond, PhD, RBP
1988   John H. Richardson, PhD, RBP
1989   Joseph Songer
1990   Diane Fleming, PhD, RBP, CBSP
1991   Emmett Barkley, PhD
1992   Gerald Spahn, PhD, CBSP
1993   Jerome Schmidt, PhD, CBSP
1994   Mary Cipriano, RBP, CBSP
1995   Manny Barbeito, CBSP

1996   Byron Tepper, PhD, CBSP
1997   Joseph Van Houten, PhD, RBP, CBSP
1998   Richard Knudsen
1999   Marilyn Misenhimer
2000   Jack Keene, DrPH, RBP, CBSP
2001   Debra Hunt, DrPH, RBP, CBSP
2002   Maureen (Best) Ellis, RBP
2003   Barbara Johnson, PhD, RBP
2004   Stefan Wagener, PhD, RBP, CBSP
2005   Betsy Gilman-Duane, RBP, CBSP
2006   Glenn Funk, PhD, CBSP

2007   Bob Hawley, PhD, RBP, CBSP
2008   Chris Thompson, RBP, CBSP
2009   Bob Ellis, PhD, CBSP
2010   Ben Fontes, MPH, CBSP
2011   Karen Byers, MS, RBP, CBSP
2012   LouAnn Burnett, MS, CBSP
2013   Barbara Fox Nellis, SM(NRCM), RBP, CBSP
2014   Paul J. Meechan PhD, MPH, RBP, CBSP, SM(NRCM)
2015   Marian M. Downing, RBP, CBSP, SM(NRCM)
2016   Melissa Morland, MS, MBA, RBP, CBSP

 

The council is the governing body of ABSA International.

2017 ABSA International Council

2017 ABSA International Council

The individuals listed on this page are all volunteers. Please direct all correspondence through the ABSA International office.

We all have unique talents, and ABSA has many opportunities for its members to become involved.  Please consider getting involved! Becoming a member of one of our committees.

★ These committees are looking for additional volunteers

Professional Development Team

Team Leader: Deborah Howard, CBSP
Vice-Leader: Kirt Poulson

Provide continuous evaluation and revision of educational content for ABSA developed courses.

Maryjo Lanzillotta, MS, RBP, CBSP, SM(NRCM)
Kathleen Kennedy, MPH

ABSA’s Distance Learning Committee (DLC) is dedicated to the development and delivery of quality training modules and webinars for biosafety professionals.

Karen Byers, MS, RBP, CBSP
Barbara Johnson, PhD, RBP

The duty of the Journal Board is to ensure the timely production of a professional publication focused on biosafety on a quarterly basis.  The Co-Editors, Associate,  Assistant and Managing Editors achieve this collectively by soliciting high quality articles in the form of original research, review articles, editorials, columns and other applicable submissions which are then subject to double-blind review by subject matter experts with a track record of publications who have been appointed to the Editorial Board.  The Co-Editors and Associate Editor coordinate with the Managing Editor throughout the article solicitation, review and publication phase of the process, as well as conduct a Quality Control review of the final product before it is released to the membership.

Niki Drazenovich, RBP, CBSP
Matthew Fischer, PhD, RBP

Corrie Ntiforo, MSPH, RBP
Carrie Smith, PhD, RBP, CBSP

Provide quality, relevant biosafety education to ABSA members and other practitioners. The committee will develop courses, serve as facilitators, review course content and handouts, on-site coordination of the course, and summarize evaluations from the course.

Bruce Whitney, PhD

Promote and foster the publication of biosafety media
★ Publications Committee is looking for volunteers.
LAI Database Committee

★ also, the LAI Database Committee is looking for volunteers.

David Harbourt, PhD
Eric Cook, MPH, CBSP

Provide a consolidated collection of biosafety training materials readily accessible via the ABSA website for individuals responsible for providing biosafety training. Identify and solicit quality biosafety training materials, evaluate all submitted materials for relevance and accuracy, and organize materials into categories for posting on the website.
★ Training Tools/Resources Committee is looking for volunteers.

Professional Development Team Update

Distance Learning Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Maryjo Lanzillotta, MS, RBP, CBSP and Kathleen Kennedy, MPH
 
The Distance Learning Committee continues to develop, review, and offer new and ongoing webinars for ABSA International members' professional growth. The DLC is planning for 2017 which includes bringing back the webinar on Current Trends in Sterilization and re-offering Q&A Infectious Substances Shipping as well as the addition of another preconference course turned webinar: Large-scale Biosafety and Media and Public Relations for the Biosafety Professional webinar. New webinars to be offered this year include:
  • Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC) Roundtable Discussion with Dr. Kathryn Harris and will include a panelist discussion about designing an effective DURC Program
  • Bioethics for Biosafety Professionals with Dr. Brynn Welch
  • Large-scale Biosafety (based on the preconference course) with Brian Petuch
  • A course on CRISPR/Cas Systems and Risk Assessment is under development
 
Biosafety Team Webinar with Natasha Griffith is being converted to an on-demand module and is planned to be released in early 2017. The Basic Disinfection Course is near completion on being converted to an on-demand module-this will be released in 2017. The joint project with the Philanthropic Committee to develop a Basic Biosafety on-demand module is being finalized with narration and the date for release is coming soon. Below are webinars already on the 2017 calendar. The list of professional development opportunities is available on the Online Education webpage http://absa.org/online-education/. New courses are added routinely. Please invite your colleagues, nonmembers, or other professionals to attend.
  • Q&A Infectious Substance Shipping-SME Eric Cook on February 17, 2017 from 12:30-3:00 pm CST
  • NEW! Large-Scale Biosafety-SME Brian Petuch on February 21 and 23, 2017 from 12:30-3:00 pm CDT
  • Current Trends in Sterilization-SME Arthur Trapotsis and Paul Lorcheim on March 1 and 3, 2016
  • Behaving Safely in the Laboratory: Understanding Complexities of Building and Sustaining a Culture of Safety-SME Sean Kaufman on April 3, 5, and 7, 2017 from 12:30-2:30 pm CST
  • NEW! Bioethics-SME Dr. Brynn Welch on April 10, 11, and 12, 2017 from 12:00-1:00 pm CDT
  • Train the Trainer: Tools for More Engaging Compliance Training-SME David Casavant on May 24, 2017 from 12:30-1:30 pm CDT
  • Occupational Medicine: Your Valued Partner in Biosafety-SMEs Drs. Winter and Hudson on November 9, 2017 from 12:00-2:00 pm CDT

Principles & Practices of Biosafety (PPB) - February 23, 2017
Chairs: Paul Jennette and Jeff Owens
 
The next PPB offering is March 5-10, 2017 at the Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk in Downtown San Antonio, Texas. There will also be a course in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 9-15, 2017.  To register for this course, please visit http://www.absa.org/eduppb.html.

Journal - February 23, 2017
Applied Biosafety 
Coeditors-in-Chief: Karen Byers and Barbara Johnson
 
We have been focusing on the production of Volume 22: Number 1, 2017; some excellent articles are in the production pipeline. A few changes have occurred to the SAGE website including new features such as "most read" and "most cited" that are updated regularly. We will also request an update on the SCOPUS indexing at our next conference call. At the 2016 ABSA leadership planning session, it was suggested that a slide be developed for the affiliates to encourage submissions to the Journal when members hear an interesting talk. This is on our to-do list for the next quarter.
If you would like to propose an article to the journal, please visit https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/apb.

Publications Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Bruce Whitney, PhD and Luis Alberto Ochoa Carrera

The Publications Committee continues working to implement the database of published reports of laboratory-acquired infections. We are also looking at the future of the ABSA anthologies. Finally, we are evaluating the possibility of creating an annotated bibliography of publications useful to biosafety professionals.

Preconference Course Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Corrie Ntiforo, MSPH, RBP and Carrie Smith, PhD, RBP, CBSP
 
The PCC Chairs are currently working on sending out the 2017 New Year Welcome emails to the committee members. In addition, the Chairs are reviewing the OASIS submission site task due dates leading up to the conference so the PCC can set the schedule for this year in preparation for the conference. To submit a course proposal for the 60th Annual Biological Safety Preconference Courses please click here. The deadline for submissions is March 6, 2017 at 12:00 pm CDT.


Learning Verification Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Niki Drazenovich, RBP, CBSP and Matthew Fischer, PhD, RBP
 
The Learning Verification Committee is in the process of reviewing and generating quizzes from the last two issues of the Applied Biosafety journals and the University of Bradford resource titled Guide to Biological Security Issues. The Credentialing Maintenance Board is currently discussing the amount of CM points the University of Bradford resource will be worth. ABSA International members have eight quizzes available online for CM points. These quizzes are low cost and can be located on the website at

http://absa.org/online-education/.


Training Tools/Resources Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Dave Harbourt, PhD and Eric Cook, MPH, CBSP
 
The Training Tools/Resources Committee continues to make improvements to the TT/R site for ABSA International members. The committee is in the process of fixing links that aren't functional on the site as well as evaluating tools currently found on the site to ensure that they are assigned the proper tab. Look for additional options in the future including a section for International Members as well as additional chemical/biological resources. The TT/R page is located on the website at http://absa.org/training/.


ABSA Owned Courses - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Willie Wong, RBP, CBSP and Chad Austin, PhD
 
Basic Risk Assessment
The preconference course was well received, especially the new interactive method that was implemented for this year's class. Class survey responses are being used to modify plans for upcoming courses. The Advanced Risk Assessment course will be offered at the 2017 Annual Conference-instructors are currently making changes to that course content in response to previous course feedback.
 
Principles and Practices of Biosafety
The CDC offering was held January 23-27, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. The San Antonio, Texas offering is sold out with many on the waiting list. The July offering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is open and accepting registrations. The link to the Pittsburgh offering is https://www.absa.org/eduppb.html. The instructors are working with CRDF Global on an International Offering in late-2017/early-2018
 
Review Course
Over 40 modules were sold in 2016.


Learning Verification Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Niki Drazenovich and Matthew Fischer

The Learning Verification Committee is in the process of reviewing additional materials to generate quizzes from. ABSA International members have 8 quizzes available online for CM points. These quizzes are available at low cost and can be located on the website at http://absa.org/online-education/.


Training Tools Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Dave Harbourt and Eric Cook

The Training Tools and Resources Committee would like to thank Eleanor Low for her service to the committee as Chair for the past 3-years. The committee welcomes Eric Cook as the new Co-Chair and continues to be committed to providing the best training resources for our membership.


Publications Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Bruce Whitney and David Gillum

The Publication Committee continues working to implement the database of published reports of laboratory-acquired infections. We also continue working to determine the need and feasibility of translating foreign language biosafety-related publications into English and from English into select foreign languages.


Journal Board - October 25, 2016

Applied Biosafety
Coeditors-in-Chief: Karen Byers and Barbara Johnson

SAGE Publishing is on-track with the publication schedule. SAGE is assisting with Indexing starting now through 2017 (we hope to get feedback in 6 months). If you would like to propose an article to the journal, please visit
https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/apb.


Distance Learning Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Maryjo Lanzillotta and Kathleen Kennedy

The Distance Learning Committee (DLC) continues to develop, review, and offer new and ongoing webinars for ABSA International members professional growth.

New webinars offered this year include 4 distinct modules on the topic of biosecurity. Each webinar builds-off the previous yet they are able to stand alone as well allowing members to select modules most relevant to their needs. Three of the four modules have been completed. The DLC is excited to offer two new webinars this fall: Virus-based Gene Transfer Vectors and Molecular Biology 101. Registration for these webinars is now open at http://absa.org/online-education/.

The DLC continues to review the Basic Disinfection course to convert it into an on-demand module with a goal to launch in mid-2017. The committee's plans for 2017 also include bringing back Current Trends in Sterilization and the Q&A Infectious Substances Shipping webinars, as well as the addition of a new webinar on Large-scale Biosafety, based on the preconference course. The DLC is actively reviewing other new course ideas submitted by ABSA International members, including the topics of Dual Use Research of Concern, Bioethics, and Import Permits.

The list of professional development opportunities is available on the Online Education webpage https://absa.org/online-education/; new courses are added routinely. Please invite your colleagues, nonmembers, or other professionals to attend.


Defining the Profession Team

Donald Wang, MPH, RBP, CBSP
Tom Boyle, RBP

Recognize biosafety professionals through credentialing. Review applications for Certified Biological Safety Professionals (CBSPs) and Registered Biosafety Professionals (RBP) to determine if applicant meets established criteria.

Susan Cook, CBSP
Thomas Leonard, PhD, CBSP

Develop the continuing education criteria necessary for Certified Biological Safety Professionals (CBSPs) and Registered Biosafety Professionals (RBP) to maintain their certification and for administering the recertification process. Criteria for serving on the Board include being an active status CBSP and/or RBP.

Defining the Profession Team Update

Credentialing Maintenance Board - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Susan Cook, CBSP and Thomas Leonard, PhD, CBSP
 
During the ABSA International Annual Conference in Grapevine, Texas, the Credentialing Evaluation Board (CEB) and Credentialing Maintenance Board (CMB) held a joint information and Q&A session to discuss the credentialing program. Several of the CEB and CMB members were present to field questions. The session was attended by many individuals interested in obtaining or renewing credentials.
 
The Credentialing Maintenance Board reminds the credentialed community that a convenient series of inexpensive, online opportunities for credentialing maintenance points are available through ABSA's online educational resources. Thanks to the efforts of the Learning Verification Committee, credentialing maintenance points may be earned through satisfactory completion of quizzes designed to verify comprehension of Applied Biosafety journal articles and other educational materials. To date, over seven credentialing maintenance points have been pre-approved by the CMB.
 
The CMB has transitioned to Susan Cook as the Chair and Tom Leonard as the Co-Chair following the conference in October.
 
As part of the CMB's efforts to continually monitor the balance and effectiveness of the credentialing maintenance program, the Board intends to compose and distribute a survey to individuals who currently hold an ABSA International biosafety credential or who held a credential in the past. The purpose of the survey will be to seek input from the credentialed community regarding various considerations of the current credentialing maintenance program. Results will be used to inform the Board in its current and future planning.


Credentialing Evaluation Board - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Donald Wang, MPH, RBP, CBSP and Tom Boyle, RBP
 
From September to the end of 2016, the Credential Evaluation Board convened monthly via phone conference calls with the exception of live (in-person) meeting at the Annual Conference.
 
For the 2016 calendar year, the CEB received and reviewed 80 applications. During this reporting period we reviewed 29 applications-28 for RBP and 1 for CBSP. Of the RBP applications, 10 received approvals, 10 were disapproved, and 8 are pending on either additional information or clarifications prior to a final decision. Common reasons for disapprovals were: not meeting the period required in managing a comprehensive biosafety program; academic degrees not relevant to biological safety; or work experience provided was not relevant to biosafety.
 
The CEB, jointly with CMB, held an informational and Q&A session at the annual conference for those interested in obtaining and maintaining RBP and CBSP credentials.
 
The Credentialing Evaluation Board reviewed 80 applicants in 2016.


Credentialing Evaluation Board - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Donald Wang and Betty Kupskay

From January to August 2016, the Credentialing Evaluation Board convened monthly by conference calls to review and discuss submitted and pending applications. During this period, the Board reviewed a total of 37 applications; 35 for Registered Biosafety Professional (RBP) and 2 for Certified Biological Safety Professional (CBSP). Of the RBP applications, 23 received approvals, 7 were disapproved, and 5 applications pending; (either waiting for additional information or clarification prior to our final decision). Both of the CBSP applications received were reviewed and approved. Some of the common reasons for disapprovals were: not meeting the period required in managing a comprehensive biosafety program management, the academic degrees not relevant to biological safety, or information provided not relevant to biosafety.

The newly credentialed professionals acknowledged at the annual conference were:

Registered Biosafety Professionals (RBP)
Lorena Altamirano
Gulnara Aumolddayeva
James Baugh
Bryan Bellaire
Jennifer Bosselman
Nick Chaplinski
Michael Chute
Jessica Cromheeke
Michelle Edenfield
Alexandria Elliott
Karon Floyd
Crystal Fortune
Tea Glonti
Changhwa Hwang
Jolanta Jacobs
Christine Johnson
Martin Jones
Partha Krishnan
Cristine Campos Lawson
Eileen Lloyd
Kirk Lubick
Nyree Maes
Rebecca McGirr
Michele Miele
Michael Miles
Darren Moss
Heidi Page
Amy Razukiewicz
Jennifer Robertson
Rebecca Sciulli
Christopher Sieradzki
Adrienne Zweifel

Certified Biological Safety Professionals (CBSP)
Rebecca Anderson
Jessica Bourquin
Megan Brose
Chadi Filfili
Shruti Gentilli
Sonia Godoy-Tundidor
David Harbourt
J. Paul Jennette
Lisa Kercher
Sarah Lawson
Betsy Matos
Samar Tadros


Credentialing Maintenance Board - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Susan Cook and Thomas Leonard

The Credentialing Maintenance Board (CMB) reminds the credentialed community that a convenient series of inexpensive, online opportunities for credentialing maintenance points are available through ABSA's online educational resources at http://absa.org/online-education/. Thanks to efforts of the Learning Verification Committee, credentialing maintenance points may be earned through satisfactory completion of quizzes designed to verify comprehension of Applied Biosafety journal articles and other educational materials. Over 7.0 Credentialing Maintenance points have been preapproved by the CMB.


Management Team

Team Leaders:
Judy LaDuc, RBP
Kimberly Heard, MS, CBSP

Janet Peterson, CBSP
Jeffrey Potts, MPH, CBSP

Provide the names of nominees for the Arnold G. Wedum Distinguished Achievement Award, Everett Hanel, Jr. Presidential Award, the John H. Richardson Special Recognition Award, and the Knudsen Award to the ABSA Council for review and approval.

Francine Rogers, RBP, CBSP
Tim Sturgis, RBP
Amy Ryan, MPH, RBP

Review the By-Laws, propose amendments, and review other matters related to the By-Laws

Matt Anderson, PhD
Sarah Ziegler, PhD

Facilitate the continued development and oversight of the ABSA website as a fundamental means of communication for ABSA members and other practitioners.

James Klenner, MS, RBP, CBSP
Sarah Gillette McAbee, RBP

Make recommendations to the Council on matters concerning financial policy, fiscal performance, financial statements, investment of funds, and other financial matters.

Management Team Update

Finance Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: James Klenner, MS, RBP, CBSP and Sarah Gillette McAbee, RBP
 
The Finance Committee meets monthly to discuss the previous monthly and year-to-date trends for revenue and expenses. The meeting is open to comments or questions from all committee members. During the last quarter of 2016, questions were raised regarding changing economic environments and if Certificates of Deposit were still the best investment for ABSA International. It was determined that these were safe and the best conservative investment for the organization. The Finance Committee welcomed the new President-Elect, Patrick Condreay as the new Council member and Maureen O'Leary was thanked for her participation. The Finance Committee Liaisons were chosen for the coming year and some members asked for different assignments to gain a broader perspective of the various teams and needs of the association's committees. In the next few months, upcoming tasks will be the annual review of the Finance Committee P&Ps and review of the Financial Audit of ABSA International.


Awards Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Janet Peterson, CBSP and Jeffrey Potts, MPH, CBSP
 
The Awards Committee is looking forward to a productive year. This year each of the awards will have its own nomination form which will reflect the specific criteria for that award. We'd like to take this opportunity to encourage all ABSA International members to consider submitting a nomination for one of the honor awards. The committee depends on the membership to nominate deserving individuals in order to have the very best pool possible from which to select award recipients! Nominations are now open-please visit http://absa.org/bioawards.html.


E-Communications Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Matt Anderson, PhD and Sarah Ziegler, PhD
 
The committee focused on a few areas of the new website to redesign (change layout and format) that have the most traffic and then work on the other areas once the new site is up and running. The plan is to focus on the front page, Career Growth, Membership, Resources, and About ABSA sections. We will copy the other sections to the new site without revisions or layout changes so we can rollout the redesigned site sooner and then we will update other sections one at a time until the whole site has been redesigned. The entire new site is being built using WordPress and will have a different theme. The pages not part of the initial revision will essentially be text on the page as it is now, but will appear consistent with the new theme. We hope to be able to have a soft rollout by May 1. The committee plans to seek help from other committees to ensure we get the content they want on sections of the website that relate to their committees.
 
If anyone has biosafety-related photos or graphics that we can use on the website you can have them start to send them to us.  We have mechanisms in place to credit the images with a name and link (i.e. UC Irvine BSL-3 Training Center http://som.uci.edu/bsl3-training/)
 
Terms/Subjects needed: News, Get Involved/Volunteer, Resources, Training Tools, Policy, Legislative Issues, Reviews & Comments, Accreditation, Build Your Skills/Career Growth, Biosafety Credentials, Job Board

Bylaws Committee - February 23, 2017
Chairs: Francine Rogers, RBP, CBSP, Amy Ryan, MPH, RBP, and Tim Sturgis, RBP
 
Two committee Co-Chairs were submitted and approved by Council for the Bylaws Committee. Bylaws did not review any P&Ps for the last quarter of 2016, but reviewed three in January. Bylaws looks forward to other committees submitting their updated P&Ps for review.

E-Communications Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Matt Anderson and Sarah Ziegler

The E-Communications Committee has made progress toward the ABSA International website redesign, finalized a navigation menu and picked the Word Press theme. The committee is accumulating photos to use on the site and developing page layouts and brainstorming "call to action" elements. The ABSA International blog has had only one submission in the past few months. We have submitted a request to the Credentialing Maintenance Board to offer CM points for blog posts.  If you are interested in submitting to the ABSA International blog, please visit http://blog.absa.org/


Awards Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Janet Peterson and David Gillum

The Awards Committee had a very busy summer. We worked with the Publications Committee to review all of the Applied Biosafety Journal articles published in the past year to choose the Knudsen Award recipient. Thanks to all of you who submitted nominations and journal articles!

The Committee also worked diligently to review Honor Award nominations. Below are the 2016 Honor Award recipients.

2016 Honor Award recipients:

Arnold Wedum Distinguished Achievement Award
Paul Meechan, PhD, RBP, CBSP
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA

Everett J Hanel Jr. Presidential Award
Brian Petuch, RBP, CBSP
Merck & Co., Inc.
West Point, PA

John H. Richardson Special Recognition Award
Robert J. Emery, DrPH, RBP, CBSP
University of Texas Health Science Center
Houston, TX

2016 HASH Award Recipients:
Shelly Jones, RBP, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ
Rhonda O'Keefe, CBSP, The Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA
Susan Cook, PhD, CBSP, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Jeff Owens, MPH, CBSP, HDR, Inc., Atlanta, GA
Yolanda Stringer, MS, RBP, CBSP, Children's Mercy Hospital, Kansas City, MO
J. Paul Jennette, MS, PE, RBP, CBSP, Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY
Rebecca Caruso, MPH, RBP, CBSP, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
David Gillum, RBP, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ


Membership Leadership Team

Team Leader: Margaret Juergensmeyer, PhD, RBP
Vice-Leader: Sophie Brocard, PhD, RBP

Jennifer Gaudioso, PhD
Despina Felis, RBP

Assists, advises and coordinates the Affiliate and International affiliate petition process with the respective petitioning organizations according to criteria approved by the ABSA Council. Serves as liaison between ABSA and it’s affiliated organizations. Convenes a meeting of delegates of affiliated organizations at the Annual Conference. Makes recommendations to the ABSA Council on matters affecting Affiliate and International Affiliate policy.

Je T’Aime Newton, MS, RBP
Malissa Mayer-Diaz, RBP

Promote membership in ABSA.
★ Membership Committee is looking for volunteers.

Althea C. Treacy, PhD
Sarah Ziegler, PhD

Facilitate the creation of mentoring relationships within ABSA, between a mentee who wishes to enhance their biosafety knowledge in specific areas, and a mentor. The Committee’s goal is to solicit knowledgeable ABSA members willing to volunteer as mentors, and match up interested parties. The Committee will also solicit feedback on the process in order to track the effectiveness and make improvements.

Melissa Morland, MS, MBA, RBP, CBSP

Prepare a slate of candidates for officers, Councilors, and at-large members of the Nominating Committee. Nominating Committee members are elected.

Membership Leadership Team Update

Membership Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Je T'aime Newton, MS, RBP and Malissa Mayer-Diaz, RBP
 
The Membership Committee has added new members and is working more closely with the ABSA International Office to ensure that effort is not duplicated or dropped. The committee has sent out a survey to new members. The committee is working to develop a survey intended for members who joined 3-6 years ago with the goal of getting more volunteers in various committees. The committee is also updating their P&Ps.


Nominating Committee - February 23, 2017

Chair: Melissa Morland, MS, MBA, RBP, CBSP
 
The Nominating Committee held a call in January to begin working on the slate of candidates for the 2017 ABSA International Election.


Mentoring Committee - February 23, 2017

Co-Chairs: Althea Capul and Sarah Ziegler
 
The Mentoring Committee has submitted an ABSA-wide request for potential Mentees and Mentors to establish Mentoring Program profiles in my.absa.org. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor or are looking to join the program as a Mentee, information can be found on the Welcome page of my.absa.org. Follow the link to participate in the Mentoring Program. All ABSA International members are welcome!

Affiliate Relations - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Despina Felis and Jennifer Gaudioso
 
The ABSA International Council approved the Affiliate Ribbons for the conference in October. Several affiliates participated.  Feedback from the Affiliates regarding the ribbons was positive. For more information on Affiliates go to http://absa.org/affiliates/.


Mentoring Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Althea Capul and Sarah Ziegler

The Mentoring Committee has submitted an ABSA-wide request for potential Mentees and Mentors to establish Mentoring Program profiles in my.absa.org. If you are interested in becoming a Mentor or are looking to join the program as a Mentee, information can be found on the Welcome page of my.absa.org. Follow the link to participate in the Mentoring Program. All ABSA International members are welcome!


Nominating Committee - October 25, 2016

Chair: Marian Downing
 
Many thanks to the 2016 Nominating Committee: Janet Peterson, Scott Patlovich, Hallie Hoskins, and Deb Howard. Also, thanks to all the final candidates and others who were contacted and made some difficult decisions.


Membership Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: JeT'Aime Newton and Malissa Mayer-Diaz
 
This quarter the Membership Committee contacted all new members that were interested in getting more information/joining ABSA International committees. They are still receiving the responses and putting them into contact with the Chairs of the committees. We have 274 new members so far this year, which includes 43 new international members. The Membership Committee continues to review Emeritus applications as submitted.


Accreditation Team

Christina Thompson, RBP, CBSP

The purpose of the Accreditation Board is to be responsible for oversight of the Accreditation Program.

Bob Ellis, PhD, CBSP
Rebecca Caruso, MPH, RBP, CBSP

The purpose of the Accreditation Committee is to determine whether an entity can be accredited based on the complete and final inspectors’ report.

Marian Downing, RBP, CBSP
Julie Johnson, PhD, CBSP

The purpose of the Inspectors Committee is to select and train inspectors for the Laboratory Accreditation program, conduct entity inspections, and to provide a completed inspection report to the Accreditation Committee.

★ The Inspectors Committee is looking for volunteers. They need experienced biosafety professionals.

Bill Homovec, CBSP
Rob Heckert, DVM, PhD, CBSP

The purpose of the Standards Committee is to develop and implement effective methods for identifying, reviewing and adopting regulations and other pertinent guidelines or best practices that impact the standards referenced or used by the ABSA Laboratory Accreditation Board in its laboratory accreditation process. The committee is also responsible for developing and implementing effective methods for identifying, reviewing, and updating checklists used in the laboratory accreditation process and communicating that information to affected Committees.
★ The Standards Committee is looking for volunteers.

Accreditation Team Update

Accreditation Board - October 25, 2016

Chair: Chris Thompson

The Accreditation Board recently met and re-elected Co-Chairs for all their committees. We continue to be hopeful that with the recent fee structure reduction, we will be garnering further attention for the accreditation of facilities nationwide. We are also exploring opening the accreditation process to those international partners that are seeking accreditation. For further information regarding the accreditation program, please visit http://www.absa.org/lab-accred/.


Regulatory & Technical Affairs Team

Team Leaders:
Alexis Brubaker, CBSP
Bill Homovec, CBSP

Meghan Seltzer, PhD
Brian O’Shea, PhD, CBSP

ABSA’s Legislative Committee has twin aims: 1) to establish ABSA’s credibility with Congress as a preeminent voice on American Biosafety, and 2) to inject ABSA’s stance on important biosafety issues into the Congressional forum. The Legislative Committee endeavors to accomplish these goals by monitoring Congress for biosafety-related hearings and proposed rulemaking, and initiating contact with Congress on appropriate matters.

Rebecca Moritz, CBSP
Joshua Turse, PhD

Yolanda Arriaga Stringer, MS, RBP, CBSP
Ingrid Abbott-Permell, RBP, CBSP

Develop and implement an effective method for reviewing and commenting on issues or regulatory concerns that impact the ABSA membership or the health or safety of the environment. Respond to requests for comments by regulatory agencies proposing new or amended regulations. Develop “white papers” and other guidance documents.
★ Technical & Regulatory Review Committee is looking for volunteers.

Regulatory & Technical Affairs Team Update

Legislative Affairs Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Meghan Seltzer, PhD and Brian O'Shea, PhD, CBSP
 
In October, the leadership of the committee changed with Meghan Seltzer taking over as Chair and Brian O'Shea becoming Co-Chair. The Legislative Committee finished its pilot of the Legislative Monitoring Service with AIHA. Approximately 150 pieces of legislation were reviewed, and three were forwarded on to affiliates for review. This service will not be renewed for 2017. Over the past year, Deb Sharpe developed and gave a course on the legislative and regulatory processes at the ABSA Annual Conference. The TRR team also presented a poster at the ABSA Annual Conference in October discussing the work of the TRR team as well as the legislative and regulatory processes. In 2017, the Legislative Affairs Committee will be developing more resources for members to engage with local, state, and federal legislators. We will also be exploring the feasibility of different options to raise the profile of ABSA with federal legislators.


Technical & Regulatory Review Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Yolanda Arriaga Stringer, MS, RBP, CBSP and Ingrid Abbott-Permell, RBP, CBSP
 
This quarter, the Technical & Regulatory Review Committee (TRR) evaluated the Addition of Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis to the HHS List of Select Agents and Toxins and two White House documents-An Update to the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology and the National Strategy for Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products for potential review. The HHS document contained sufficient biosafety application and was sent to the TRR committee for review; however, comments were not submitted to Council since no objections to the final rule were raised.
 
The committee initiated activities for the year with a team luncheon at the ABSA Annual Conference. The TRR followed with a conference call in November evaluating the ABSA International Policies & Procedures pertinent to the committee, assessing the Federal Register review process and other review sources, and plans to optimize use of the my.absa.org profile tool to identify potential reviewers. The TRR strategic goal was outlined and progress has begun toward defining opportunities for ABSA review contributions on a global stage. Contributions from ABSA-at-Large are welcome.


Public Relations Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Rebecca Moritz, CBSP and Joshua Turse, PhD
 
During the fall of 2016, the PR Committee worked with outside public relations experts to create a preconference public relations course that was well received. In addition, the PR Committee continues to develop materials for ABSA public relations outreach. In the coming year, the committee will continue to help promote biorisk management and ABSA by creating an informational video about biorisk management and ABSA. The video under development may be used at professional meetings where ABSA International has a booth, and it will be posted on the ABSA website.


Public Relations Committee - October 25, 2016

Chair: Rebecca Moritz and Joshua Turse

The Public Relations Committee worked with SME's Kelly Tyrell, University of Wisconsin Madison, and Jim Newman, KGB Texas Communications, to develop the course titled Media and Public Relations for Biosafety Professionals. This course was offered during the ABSA Conference.


Technical & Regulatory Review Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Eric Steelman and Yolanda Arriaga

The Technical and Regulatory Review Committee (TRR) frequently reviews technical and regulatory documents and determines which documents need a deeper review and comment by the committee. In some cases, a technical review is determined to not be warranted based on further analysis or if other ABSA groups are involved.

The TRR did not submit specific comments during the last round of requests for input, but encouraged ABSA members to submit comments for issues they felt important.

Recently, the EPA requested comments in their efforts to ensure proper recordkeeping and training of personnel in institutions working with agents of dual-use concern. The TRR contacted the EPA and were given permission to view the checklist and other criteria that will be used to for the audit. The information that was provided can be found on the Federal Register website, as well as what is provided on the Federal Docket website. We did not submit comments as the forms and questions were found on common assessment forms.

The TRR has reviewed a proposal from the NIH regarding human stem cell research. The modification will impact sections IV and V of the NIH Guidelines. https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2016/08/05/2016-18601/request-for-public-comment-on-the-proposed-changes-to-the-nih-guidelines-for-human-stem-cell.


Legislative Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Debra Sharpe and Meghan Seltzer

The Legislative Committee's (LC) primary focus has been to streamline and oversee ABSA International's new legislative monitoring program, provided through the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Government Affairs Office. Since the last update, the committee has reviewed 130 state legislative bills. To date, 4 state bills have been identified as having a potential impact on biosafety programs and were referred to local affiliates for further review and action.

The LC has also been working to identify ways to engage our local legislative representatives and invite them into our organizations to introduce them to what we do. The LC is also working to identify new mechanisms to engage and educate federal policymakers. The goal of both initiatives is to forge relationships, awareness, and improve the chances that they will reach out to ABSA International members when relevant policy issues or incidents arise.

The committee welcomes 2 new members (Torsten Hopp from University of Louisville and Brian J. O'Shea from Battelle).


Conference Services Team

Team Leader: Sylvie Blondelle

Brandon Rosendahl

Make recommendations to the Council concerning issues relating to exhibitors and event sponsors. Solicit new exhibitors and sponsors.

2017 Albuquerque, NM:
Jen Gaudioso, PhD

Select and coordinate arrangements for upcoming conferences. Work begins at least three years prior to the conference date. Often members of this committee work or live in the city where the conference will be held.

Betsy Matos, PhD, RBP
Jessica McCormick-Ell, PhD, RBP, CBSP
Claudia Gentry-Weeks, PhD, CBSP

Solicit submissions for platform presentations and poster sessions for the annual conference, submit nominees for the Wedum and Eagleson Lectures. The SPC shall also request applications for the Gross Memorial Award, select moderators for each of the platform presentation sessions and actively encourages all presenters to prepare and submit papers for publication in the Applied Biosafety: Journal of ABSA International.
★ The Scientific Program Committee is looking for volunteers.

Conference Services Team Update

Scientific Program Committee - February 23, 2017

Chairs: Betsy Matos, PhD, RBP, SM(NRCM), CBSP
Claudia Gentry-Weeks, PhD, CBSP 
Jessica McCormick-Ell, PhD, RBP, CBSP
 
The Scientific Program Committee has reviewed all the conference surveys from Grapevine and will incorporate suggestions for the 2017 Scientific Program. We have several choices for Keynote Speakers. This year, the SPC selected topic areas (e.g., biosafety culture, public health, gene editing, human gene transfer, etc.) to focus on for the Scientific Program Agenda and will solicit abstracts for those topic areas. These topic areas will be reflected in the abstract submission site. If you are interested in submitting a paper for the 60th Annual Biological Safety Conference please click here. The deadline for paper submissions is March 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm CDT. Our goal for the 60th ABSA International Conference will be to provide an opportunity for our biosafety professionals to learn and network with others on emerging and continuous issues affecting our scientific discipline.


Local Arrangements Committee - February 23, 2017

Chair: Jen Gaudioso, PhD
 
The Local Arrangements Committee has secured the venue for the Tuesday banquet and is now focusing on catering the event as well as entertainment. The LAC has also initiated a search for gifts to be distributed to speakers and attendees. Members of the LAC are reaching out to local vendors and/or sponsors, while others are assisting the SPC by proposing local, potential speakers. Information regarding the Balloon Fiesta is being prepared and will be available to the membership within a month or two. Please note that the beginning of the ABSA Conference will overlap with the Balloon Fiesta, so make your hotel reservations early and come early to see the Balloon Fiesta!


Exhibitors Committee - February 23, 2017

Chair: Brandon Rosendahl
 
The Exhibitors Committee added a new member with large experience in participating in trade shows. This will allow the committee to compare and discuss the pros and cons of various methods used in tradeshows with the aim at benefiting both vendors and attendees. At first, time management, (i.e., allocation and keeping to a schedule) appears to be a key element toward a better interaction and knowledge sharing between exhibitors and attendees. The EC will work with ABSA International and other committees to implement ways that will better allow like-minded passionate professionals to exchange the knowledge to make the world a safer place. Exhibitor information for the 2017 ABSA International Conference is available at http://www.absaconference.org.

Exhibitors Advisory Committee - October 25, 2016

Chair: Brandon Rosendahl

ABSA International would like to thank all of the sponsors and exhibiting companies participating at the the annual conference in Grapevine! We appreciate your support! Go to the following link for a list of sponsors and exhibitors http://absaconference.org/sponsorexhibitor-info/.


Local Arrangements Committee - October 25, 2016

Chair: Patrick Conley

The 2016 Conference Local Arrangement Committee arranged the banquet at the Glass Cactus Night Club. Attendees enjoyed Texas BBQ, line dancing, and casino games in addition to the great sunset views over Lake Grapevine.


Scientific Program Committee - October 25, 2016

Co-Chairs: Darlene Ward and Betsy Matos

This was a crucial time for the Scientific Program Committee (SPC) and we hope you were able to join us at the 59th Annual Biological Safety Conference. The hard work by the SPC created a great program! New this year-the posters were categorized by scientific and informational criteria to make viewing and judging more streamlined. Many of the presentations are posted on the ABSA website at
http://absaconference.org/agenda/sci-agenda/ and are available to conference attendees. If you were unable to attend or if there was a presentation you would like to see again, several of the presentations are available for purchase through DCP Providers at http://www.dcprovidersonline.com/absa/?event_id=ABSA107


Task Forces

ABSA Ambassadors ★
Marian Downing, RBP, CBSP
★ The ABSA Ambassadors task force is looking for volunteers. Volunteers must be past ABSA councilors or officers

Leadership Development
LouAnn Burnett, CBSP
Bob Ellis, PhD, CBSP

GHSAC
Don Callihan, PhD

Historical
John Balog, BS, RBP
Bob Hawley, PhD, RBP CBSP

Infectious Disease Response and Antimicrobial Resistance
Jen Gaudioso, PhD
Susan Weekly, RBP

International Engagement
Eric Cook, CBSP

Marketing
Lolly Gardiner, RBP

New/Emerging Technologies and Diseases
David Gillum, MS, RBP
Rebecca Moritz, CBSP

Emerging Infectious Disease Consortium
Paul Trancell

Member Needs
Paul Meechan, PhD, RBP, CBSP

SRA Users
Krista Murray, RBP, CBSP Colleen Driskill, RBP, CBSP

Task Forces Update

Select Agent Task Force - February 23, 2017
Leads: Colleen Driskill, RBP, CBSP and Krista Murray, RBP, CBSP
 
The Select Agent Task Force planned and hosted the SRA Approved Users Workshop on October 6, 2016. It was a very successful day-long program following the ABSA International Conference that included presentations and discussions related to aspects of working with Select Agents and Toxins. The workshop was for personnel approved as part of the Federal Select Agent Program. There were speakers from the CDC and USDA which provided regulatory perspective as well as individuals from various Select Agent institutions that presented on specific experiences and examples of best practices. The talks provided the basis for additional discussions and brainstorming for participants.
 
The Select Agent Task Force (SATF) is preparing to host a second webinar in the spring. Additional details and agenda will follow when a date is set. The SATF continues to host the Select Agent Forum, an online listserv for SRA approved personnel, in order to learn and share with others in the Federal Select Agent Program. Anyone interested in joining the forum must be SRA approved. They can join the forum by emailing the ABSA International Office at [email protected] with "SA Gram" in the subject line.

Emerging Infectious Disease Consortium - February 23, 2017

Lead: Paul Tranchell
 
The consortium has formed and is working on its path forward. We have developed a list of organizations that we would like to partner with and have members assigned to those organizations. We are working with the ABSA International Executive Director, Ed Stygar, to identify contacts and methods of contact to allow for consistency as well as putting ABSA International in a positive light as we move forward.
 
We have developed and reviewed a draft PowerPoint presentation that can be used in our initial meetings with the other organizations. We will be meeting soon to finalize the PPT and outline our next steps for contacting and interacting with the other organizations.


ABSA Ambassadors Task Force - February 23, 2017

Lead: Marian Downing, RBP, CBSP
 
The ABSA International Ambassadors Task Force (Rob Heckert, Dee Zimmerman, Rich Rebar, and Marian Downing) has drafted a report form and outreach letter for potential ambassadors. The program is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017.


Global Health Security Agenda Consortium (GHSAC)-Professional Associations Working Group - October 25, 2016

Chair: Donald Callihan

The Global Health Security Agenda Consortium met on July 6, 2016 at the U.S. Department of State Marshall Center. Don Callihan, Working Group Liaison representing ABSA International attended, along with Ed Stygar, ABSA International Executive Director. ABSA International is the coordinating organization for the Professional Membership Associations Working Group (PAWG).

The mandate of the Professional Associations Working Group is to strengthen global health security by engaging and networking with our professional organization counterparts working in GHSA partner countries and support their efforts as they prepare to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats in their country and region. Participating professional associations will seek to engage our members in opportunities to share their knowledge, skills, and abilities with professional peers across the international community.

Common Values/Goals

  • Promote capacity building for professions engaged in implementing Action Packages in GHSA member countries
  • Coordinate programs and activities among professional associations in support of GHSA Action Package implementation

Jim Welch, Executive Director of the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation and Chair of the GHSAC Steering Committee, announced that the GHSAC website is nearing launch.

For more information on GHSA and GHSA Action Packages, visit the GHSA website at https://ghsagenda.org/.