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Leadership / Staff2018-11-14T16:20:23+00:00

Message from ABSA International President, Dee Zimmerman

Dear ABSA International Colleagues,

I feel very honored to have been elected President of ABSA International. As we start what I am sure will be another successful year for our association, I would like to thank everyone who contributed to our annual conference in Charleston. The hard work of our volunteer members and tremendous office staff culminates each year in those few days when we come together to catch up with one another, this is truly the strength of ABSA, the willingness to share and support each other.

The work of our Teams and Committees continues to move ABSA forward, at the conference business meeting I shared some additional areas that I hope we can put some focus on for the next year. Some of these are continuing the momentum of existing task forces, while some are new areas for us to explore:

  • Biosecurity Task Force 2.0 is now the Biosecurity Committee: this year the group will continue their focus on paths that ABSA International can take towards establishing a biosecurity credentialing program. The Committee is in the planning process for the first ABSA Biosecurity Symposium to be held in the spring of 2019.
  • International Engagement Task Force is moving toward committee status and has identified tasks that will enhance ABSA’s international engagement.
  • Emerging Technologies and Infectious Agents Task Force: This group will continue to generate resources to help members assess new challenges in biosafety, but will also plan their transition to a permanent committee.
  • Promoting Biosafety as a Career : We will convene a new task force to explore ways for ABSA International to promote biosafety as a career with development of a road map for entry into the profession. Many graduates are looking for cross over into biosafety as a pathway into the best of both worlds by melding their science background with biosafety.
  • Cost Effective Credential Maintenance: Exploring options for cost effective credential maintenance, how do we best serve the ABSA community to ensure that credential maintenance does not become cost prohibitive.
  • Leadership and Management Skills: Development of leadership skills course directed to the biosafety professional. Biosafety and biosecurity present unique challenges to the management of a biosafety and biosecurity programs, the Leadership and Management course would incorporate the tenants of biosafety and biosecurity to support leadership and management needs.

If you are interested in participating in any of these efforts feel free to contact me. I encourage everyone to explore the Teams & Committees section of the ABSA website to find an effort that captures your imagination and find out how you can contribute.

Thank you very much for allowing me the privilege of leading ABSA International for the next year. Let’s get busy!

Domenica (Dee) Zimmerman

ABSA International President

Dee Zimmerman, President, ABSA International

Dee Zimmerman
President
ABSA International

ABSA President’s Report

President’s Report - September 2018

Patrick Condreay, PhD, RBP

Dear ABSA International Colleagues,

#getyourcultureon is the hashtag for the October 2018 Biosafety Month theme of "Promoting a Culture of Biosafety and Responsibility." You can find promotional materials at the ABSA International website at https://absa.org/event/2018-biosafety-month/. Thank you to the Public Relations/Marketing Committee for all their work on biosafety month. We hope that all ABSA International members will take the opportunity to highlight the steps that everyone can take to foster an effective biosafety culture at their institutions during October.

What other big event happens in October? Specifically, from October 12-17? Conference! It is time to register for the 61st Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. The Preconference Course and Scientific Program Committees have assembled an excellent slate of professional development courses, plus interesting speakers and posters so we can all learn some new things. Our exhibitors will be there to show us their products and services that are essential to biosafety. Of course, there will also be multiple opportunities to connect with old friends and make new ones, so we can build on that network of colleagues that is such an essential tool in our profession. I have been working with the International Engagement Task Force to plan the International Session that will be held on Sunday afternoon before the opening reception. We have put together a group of speakers to address sustainability issues in international outreach efforts that will culminate in a roundtable discussion among all the session participants. We have also invited several of our international participants to present posters at the session. All this and more! I hope to see everyone in Charleston.

While we are on the subject of upcoming meetings, planning is underway for the USDA ARS 5th International Biosafety & Biocontainment Symposium. Come join your colleagues for a program of professional development courses and scientific presentations from February 11-14, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. The focus this year will be on Biorisk and Facility Challenges in Agriculture.

Over the summer, I had the privilege of visiting two of our local affiliates to talk about ABSA International. In May, I went to the University of Tennessee for the Southeastern Biological Safety Association (SEBSA) Symposium, and I just returned from the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State University which hosted the Midwest Area Biosafety Network (MABioN) Symposium. One of the more enjoyable experiences while I have been President is getting the opportunity to visit our affiliates and meet new colleagues. Check out my hat at the conference where you'll see my new SEBSA and MABioN pins! Earlier this year, we welcomed the American Bio Recovery Association (ABRA) as our newest partner association. President-Elect Dee Zimmerman represented ABSA and spoke on Biological Emergency Response at ABRA's 21st Annual Conference and Trade Show in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

We just completed the summer offering of Principles and Practices of Biosafety (PPB) course in Portland, Oregon. Registration is now open for the spring 2019 offering in San Diego, California. If you know someone getting started in the profession, please encourage them to consider this valuable training. The Distance Learning Committee (DLC) provides opportunities for continuing education through webinars. As of the beginning of August, ABSA has offered 10 webinars for 434 attendees with 6 more webinars planned for 2018.

Finally, the ballot for the 2018 election was sent out at the beginning of August and we have a strong slate of candidates for President, Secretary, Council, and Nominating Committee thanks to the hard work of Past-President Maureen O'Leary and the current Nominating Committee members. I hope that everyone took the opportunity to vote for the people who will lead our Association.

Respectfully,
Patrick Condreay, PhD, RBP
President, ABSA International


President’s Report - May 2018

Patrick Condreay, PhD, RBP

Dear ABSA International Colleagues,

Did you know that ABSA International has a YouTube channel? Just go the YouTube homepage, browse channels and search for ABSA International. This is where you can find all of the promotional videos that were developed by the Public Relations Committee and were put together from interviews of attendees at the conference in Albuquerque.

It is hard to believe that a quarter of 2018 has gone by already. In February, I had the opportunity to represent ABSA International at the CDC Symposium on Biosafety in the Era of One Health. The meeting kicked-off with explorations of recent outbreaks of hantavirus and influenza, then moved into sessions on emerging technologies, safety culture, and communication. It is going to be a busy few months in terms of maintaining contacts with several of our partners and affiliates. I attended the European Biosafety Association Conference in mid-April to explore areas of collaboration between our associations. President-Elect Dee Zimmerman will attend and take part in a roundtable at the 10th AMEXBIO Symposium in June. Past-President, Maureen O’Leary, was our representative at the Eagleson Occupational Health Colloquium. Marian Downing has represented ABSA International with the Association of Public Health Laboratories for a number of years and she will attend their annual meeting and moderate a breakout session on our behalf. I also plan to attend the Southeastern Biological Safety Association Symposium in May.

We are progressing in our efforts to transfer the CBSP exam over to ABSA International. The Credentialing Evaluation Board assessed the applications this year and 16 applicants were approved to take the exam, which is still administered by NRCM. In 2019, ABSA International will completely take over the exam.

The Distance Learning Committee continues to respond to the needs of members for training and credential maintenance opportunities. In 2017, the committee organized 20 webinars that reached 844 people; so far in 2018, after only 4 webinars, there have been 250 participants. Additionally, they are developing 3 new on-demand modules to complement the Basic Biosafety module available at ABSA.org.

The Principles & Practices of Biosafety course continues to be in demand; the first offering of the year was held in Tampa in February. Not only was that class full, but over 3 months before the summer offering, the class in Portland sold-out.

Finally, preparations for our 61st Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference in Charleston, South Carolina are well underway. The Preconference Course Committee is evaluating proposals to provide a slate of learning opportunities before the meeting; and the Scientific Program Committee is evaluating a record number of abstracts to ensure an interesting and informative agenda of presentations, posters, and panel discussions during the meeting. I hope that everyone is making plans to join us in this charming Southern city to reconnect with one another.

Respectfully,
Patrick Condreay, PhD, RBP
President, ABSA International

 


President’s Report - December 2017

Patrick Condreay, PhD, RBP

Dear ABSA International Colleagues,

There were 642 of us that had the opportunity to enjoy our 60th Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico last month. We had 28 preconference courses with 936 seats filled that preceded an exciting scientific program covering a spectrum of topics and current issues of concern to our profession. The success of the conference is due to the hard work of the office staff and members of the Scientific Program Committee, Local Arrangements Committee, Preconference Course Committee, and Exhibitors Advisory Committee; thank you for your contributions. I would also like to thank the Historical Committee for starting off two days of the conference with presentations on the history and development of our association.

The International Engagement Task Force organized an International Forum on Sunday afternoon before the start of the conference. There were a number of talks and posters that gave our 126 international attendees from 35 different countries the opportunity to learn from each other and network. This Task Force will continue its work into the coming year to identify further ways that ABSA International can encourage more participation from our international members, and better serve their needs.

Council had the opportunity to participate in strategic planning with the team and committee leaders on Sunday morning before the conference. It was an energetic session that resulted in a number of exciting ideas to move ABSA International forward. I am hoping we can use some of the ideas to help develop scopes for two new task forces that I have proposed for the coming year. I am assembling one group to map out strategies to broadly implement education in biosafety and responsible science, and a second group to explore ways that ABSA International can expand its influence into new areas. If you are interested in these efforts please contact me.

Two new interest groups had their kick-off meetings at the conference. The Public Health Shared Interest Group provides a forum for our members from various public health laboratories to discuss issues unique to their institutions. The NextGen Shared Interest Group was organized to address the needs of members who are new to the profession; they have started a listserve to exchange information. Please contact the office if you are interested in finding out more about these groups.

As part of a contract between ABSA International and the CDC, the Select Agent Task Force has organized and hosted a number of forums to serve the needs of members who manage Select Agent and Toxin programs at their institutions. One of these forums is the Workshop held on the Thursday after the conference. With the extension of this contract for five years, this Task Force will now become the BSAT Community Advocate Committee to continue managing these important interactions.

Recognizing the importance of the credential program to the professional development of our membership ABSA International has initiated plans to transition the administration of the CBSP exam from NRCM to ABSA International without interruption. We will partner with NRCM to offer the exam in 2018, and will fully take over the exam in 2019. Council has approved the funds necessary for these changes, and the office staff and relevant committees are working hard to implement the plans.

Respectfully, Pat


President’s Report - September 2017
Maureen O'Leary, PhD, CBSP

Dear ABSA International Colleagues,

The ABSA International Conference, which will be held October 13-18 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is rapidly approaching. We have an excellent line-up of speakers, courses, and posters as well as many additional exciting sessions to attend while at the meeting. On Sunday, October 15 from 1:00-4:00 pm there will be an International Forum to celebrate our international outreach and collaborations with biosafety professionals from all over the globe. Immediately following the forum, Gryphon Scientific will host a stakeholder discussion on biosecurity policies. On October 16 after the ABSA Member Business Meeting, there will be an NIH Town Hall Meeting. This Town Hall Meeting is meant to be a continuation of the NIH Workshop discussion held in mid-July to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the NIH Guidelines. It also seeks to gather thoughts and opinions about what the guidelines look like if we were going to write them today. The workshop was the kickoff to these discussions and resulted in an editorial on the topic in the journal Science http://science.sciencemag.org/content/357/6352/627. On October 17 at 12:00 pm there will be the inaugural meeting of the NextGen Young Professional Shared Interest Group and immediately following the end of the conference, ABSA will host the second Select Agent Workshop for those who are involved with Select Agent programs to share best practices.

The Biosecurity Credentialing Task Force has successfully wrapped-up and, based on the Member Survey, recommends moving forward on establishing this credential—a new task force is being formed to investigate the path forward.

As you know, we are collaborating with NIH on the Biosafety Stewardship Month. There will be an opportunity at the conference to share ideas and promotional materials.

A lot has been accomplished this year and it is all because of the hard work and commitment of the dedicated ABSA volunteers! Again, I would like to sincerely thank all of you for your exceptional work on committees, task forces, Council, etc. We would not be making such great progress or have such a great association without you.

Looking forward to seeing you in Albuquerque!

Sincerely,
Maureen O’Leary

 


President’s Report - February 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.
 
An important question that has emerged from our task force discussions is-should ABSA consider having a biosecurity credential? ABSA would really appreciate receiving feedback from the membership on your thoughts concerning this question. Please send your feedback to info@absa.org.
 
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

President’s Report - October 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
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
2017   Maureen O’Leary, PhD, MBA, CBSP
2018   Patrick Condreay, PhD, RBP

 

The council is the governing body of ABSA International.

ABSA International Council

ABSA International Council

Dee Zimmerman, President, ABSA International

President

Dee Zimmerman
deezimmerm@gmail.com

David Gillum, RBP, President-Elect, ABSA International

President-Elect

David Gillum, RBP
Arizona State University
david.gillum@asu.edu

Pat Condreay, PhD, RBP, Past President, ABSA International

Past President

Pat Condreay, PhD, RBP
Duke University
James.condreay@duke.edu​

Patricia Delarosa, PhD, RBP, CBSP, Secretary, ABSA International

Secretary

Patricia Delarosa, PhD, RBP, CBSP
Department of Health and Human Services
mary.delarosa@hhs.gov

Jim Klenner, MS, RBP, CBSP, Treasurer, ABSA International

Treasurer

Jim Klenner, MS, RBP, CBSP
jamesklenner@gmail.com

Heather Blair, RBP, CBSP, Councilor, ABSA International

Counselor

Heather Blair, RBP, CBSP
Colorado State University
heather.blair@colostate.edu

Rebecca Moritz MS, SM(NRCM), CBSP, Councilor, ABSA International

Councilor

Rebecca Moritz MS, SM(NRCM), CBSP
University of Wisconsin-Madison
rebecca.moritz@wisc.edu

Meghan Seltzer, Councilor, ABSA International

Councilor

Meghan Seltzer
meghanjseltzer@gmail.com

Jim Welch, Councilor, ABSA International

Councilor

Jim Welch
Elizabeth R. Griffin Program
jmwelch2@gmail.com

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.

Get Involved!

★ 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

Get Involved!

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

Get Involved!

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.

Get Involved!

Professional Development Team Update

Distance Learning Committee (DLC) - September 2018

Co-chairs: Kathleen Kennedy, Lisa Burley, and Rhonda O'Keefe

The committee continues to develop, review, and offer new and ongoing webinars for ABSA International members' professional growth. The DLC has 7 webinars scheduled with more courses under development. Scheduled webinars cover topics including biosecurity, public relations, and occupational health.

A new course currently under development will cover import regulations presented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The goal is to enlighten stakeholders on biological importation requirement to facilitate border entry. Be on the lookout for that course.

A selection of webinars currently available is listed below. For a complete list of available, please go to https://absa.org/online-education/. Courses available are routinely added. Please invite your colleagues, nonmembers, or other professionals to attend.

  • Biosecurity Risk and Threat Assessment Framework at the Convergence of Bio-economy-SME Ryan Burnette on August 29, 2018 - 11-1:30 pm CDT
  • Biosecurity for Laboratory Animal Programs-SME Ryan Burnette on September 12, 2018 - 11-1:30 pm CDT
  • Media and Public Relations for the Biosafety Professional-SMEs Kelly Tyrrell and Jim Newman on September 18 and 20, 2018 - 12-2:30 pm CDT
  • Research Occupational Health: An Introduction-SMEs Drs. Deborah Barbeau and T. Warner Hudson on November 8, 2018 - 11:30-1:30 pm CST
  • Virus-based Gene Transfer Vectors-SME Patrick Condreay on November 13 and 15, 2018 - 12:30-3:00 pm CST

Journal Board - September 2018

Coeditors-in-Chief: Karen B. Byers and Barbara Johnson

In recognition of National Biosafety Month, Applied Biosafety and the ILAR Journal have jointly produced a one-of-a-kind themed edition on worker safety when handling laboratory animals. The ILAR Journal's Volume 59, Issue 2 will be published online in October 2018.To further promote animal biosafety, Applied Biosafety is also providing a 30-day open access to Volume 23, Number 3. We would like to thank Esmeralda Meyer, a member of the ABSA Emerging Infectious Diseases Consortium, John Bradfield, the former Director of AAALAC International, and John Norton, Director of the Division of Animal Resources at Duke University for initiating this project and serving as Guest Editors of this issue.


Learning Verification Committee - September 2018

Co-chairs: Niki Drazenovich and Matthew Fischer

The committee has almost completed review of Anthology XIV: Sustainability and most questions have been submitted to ABSA International to generate online quizzes, waiting for one committee member to complete his questions. The committee will review Anthology XIII: Animal Production and Protection-Challenges, Risks, and Best Practices next with a target completion date of end of 2018. ABSA International members currently have eight quizzes available online for CM points. These quizzes are low cost and can be located on the website at https://www.absa.org/eduonline.html.


Preconference Course Committee - September 2018

Co-chairs: Carrie Smith and Heather Blair

The committee has selected 26 courses to be offered at the 61st Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference. Half-day and full-day courses will be held Friday, October 12 through Sunday, October 14. Courses cover a variety of biosafety related topics with courses for both new biosafety professionals and seasoned veterans alike. Approximately 260 seats have been sold for the professional development courses out of the 1030 available.


Training Tools and Resources Committee - September 2018

Co-chairs: Eric Cook and Lauriane Quenee

TTR will be meeting at the conference. The committee continues to review submissions. New Co-Chair will be Lauriane Quenee. She will begin in October when Dave Harbourt steps down.


ABSA Owned Courses - September 2018

Basic & Advanced Risk Assessment
Co-chairs: Brandon Hatcher and Chad Austin

The instructors for the Risk Assessment courses have revised course materials and are preparing to deliver the Basic Risk Assessment course at the upcoming ABSA International Conference in Charleston. They continue to improve the Advanced Risk Assessment course content in light of attendee feedback.

BSL-3 Operations & Maintenance
Co-chairs: Paul Jennette and Carrie Smith

The course will be taught by Paul Jennette and Carrie Smith as a professional development course at the ABSA International's 2019 Conference in Memphis. The instructors will be reviewing and revising the course prior to the offering.

Review Course "Advanced Biosafety Training Series"
Co-chairs: Dan Eisenman and Shalaka Kotkar

The course is being prepared for migration to the new learning management system. Technical glitches regarding access to the course for reviewers have been resolved and a revision scheme is in place. They are currently revising the course material and will have recommend changes/updates to the course material available shortly.

Principles & Practices of Biosafety
Co-chairs: Paul Jennette, Jeff Owens, and Hallie Hoskins

The course continues to be well-attended and fills up months in advance. The course materials are updated after each offering by the instructors and they are currently in the process of overhauling the interactive exercises as well. The course has also begun to offer electronic-only handouts for attendees to download ahead of time and take notes on tablets. Registration is open for the March 2019 offering at https://absa.org/events/category/absa-sponsored/ppb/.


Publications Committee - September 2018

Co-chairs: Bruce Whitney and Luis Alberto Ochoa Carrera

The committee has continued to meet approximately on a monthly basis and has added several new members to its roster. The committee continues to work on a proposal for the next generation of the Anthology series following a survey that was sent recently to ABSA's membership. The LAI database, supported by members of the Publication Committee, now has over 350 entries that describe published reports of LAIs. Finally, the committee is working on methods to encourage and assist with the submission of high-quality papers to the Applied Biosafety journal.


Distance Learning Committee (DLC) - May 2018

Co-chairs: Kathleen Kennedy, Lisa Burley, and Rhonda O'Keefe

The Distance Learning Committee continues to develop, review, and offer new and ongoing webinars for ABSA International members' professional growth. The DLC has 10 webinars scheduled with more courses to be added. Scheduled webinars cover topics including laboratory design, the culture of safety, shipping infectious substances, virology, and biosecurity.

This year the biosecurity series will include a basic threat assessment and management course, but will also include new topics such as biosecurity and the convergence of the global economy, biosecurity and laboratory animal programs, and biosecurity and personalized medicine, gene transfer, and occupational health. Large-scale biosafety will be offered again later this year for those who couldn't attend the course offered in March.

For a complete list of available webinars, please go to: https://absa.org/online-education/. New courses are added routinely. Please invite your colleagues, nonmembers, or other professionals to attend. The following webinar is scheduled:

 


Journal Board - May 2018
Coeditors-in-Chief: Karen B. Byers and Barbara Johnson

Applied Biosafety (Volume 23, Number 1) is available online. Volume 23, Number 2 of Applied Biosafety is being published and will be sent in June. The team is pleased to announce that it offers important information on a range of critical biosafety topics. Work is underway for the Special Issue on Animal Biosafety that will be issued in collaboration with the Special ILAR issue on Biosafety.

 


Publications Committee - May 2018

Co-chairs: Bruce Whitney and Luis Alberto Ochoa Carrera

A survey about the Anthology series will be distributed to the ABSA membership in the near future to gauge interest in continuing to publish the series. The committee was looking into publishing compilations of the ABSA journals, Council discussed that there may be some potential copyright issues with SAGE or other journals. If there is sufficient interest in publishing compilation volumes of the Applied Biosafety Journal, we will need to work through any copyright issues or concerns. Committee members continue to encourage submissions to Applied Biosafety. The committee is still working on developing strategies for working with containment professionals around the world to gather some topics for publications to Applied Biosafety.

The LAI database currently has 330 entries. The committee is discussing how to clearly indicate papers that describe exposures that did not result in laboratory-acquired infections.


Preconference Course Committee (PCC) - May 2018

Co-chairs: Carrie Smith and Heather Blair

A total of 48 courses were submitted for consideration for the 61st Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference. The Preconference Course Committee members reviewed the course abstracts and put together a tentative course schedule. The schedule includes a mixture of new courses and highly-rated courses that have been offered in the past. We also selected courses that cover a large variety of subjects suitable for both new biosafety professionals and seasoned veterans.


Learning Verification Committee - May 2018

Co-chairs: Niki Drazenovich and Matthew Fischer

The Learning Verification Committee has completed review of the University of Bradford's book titled "Preventing Biological Threats: What You Can Do" and Anthology XIV: Sustainability and questions have been created to generate online quizzes. ABSA members currently have 8 quizzes available online for CM points. These quizzes are low cost and can be located on the website at https://www.absa.org/eduonline.html.


Anthology XIV: Sustainability - May 2018

Anthology XIV: Sustainability 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. The Anthology XIV book is available in print and at https://absa.org/publications/.


Training Tools Committee - May 2018

Co-chairs: Dave Harbourt, Eric Cook, and Lauriane Quenee

The Training Tools and Resources Committee is happy to welcome Dr. Lauriane Quenee as new Co-chair who will be replacing Dr. David Harbourt beginning in October. Over the past 6 months, the TT/R Committee has worked diligently on adding both new members and resources to the website. We will continue to meet monthly to evaluate new resources as they are submitted to the committee.


ABSA-Owned Courses - May 2018

Co-chairs: Chad Austin and Lisa Benford

Basic & Advanced Risk Assessment
Co-chairs: Brandon Hatcher and Chad Austin
The instructors for the Risk Assessment courses are revising course materials in light of attendee feedback and plan to make the courses more interactive and expand on several advanced topics. A follow-up survey will be sent to attendees of the Advanced Risk Assessment course from October to get feedback and make further improvements. Course instructors are planning to provide the Basic Risk Assessment course at the upcoming ABSA International Conference in Charleston, South Carolina.

BSL-3 Operations & Maintenance
Co-chairs: Paul Jennette and Carrie Smith
The instructors will be reviewing and revising the course prior to the offering in 2019.

 


Principles & Practices of Biosafety (PPB) - May 2018

Co-chairs: Paul Jennette, Jeff Owens, and Hallie Hoskins

The course continues to be well-attended. The course materials are updated after each offering by the instructors and they are currently in the process of overhauling the interactive exercises as well. The course has also begun to offer an electronic-only option for handouts for attendees to download ahead of time and take notes on tablets. About 25% of the class has been opting for the electronic materials.

 


Review Course - May 2018

Co-chairs: Dan Eisenman and Shalaka Kotkar

The course material is currently being reviewed and recommended changes and updates will be made.


Distance Learning Committee (DLC) - December 2017

Co-chairs: Kathleen Kennedy, Lisa Burley, and Rhonda O'Keefe

The Distance Learning Committee continues to develop, review, and offer new and ongoing webinars for ABSA International members' professional growth. The DLC has started planning for 2018 which includes the Biosecurity and Developing Technologies webinar and reoffering the Large-Scale Biosafety and Q&A Infectious Substance Shipping webinars. We will be offering a new 3-part webinar series in 2018 on laboratory design with Mark Fitzgerald, Natasha Griffith, Bill Arndt, and Vibeke Halkjaer-Knudsen. Each of the three courses will build upon each other. Part I--Laboratory Programming & Predesign, followed by Part II--Laboratory Design Process, and Part III--Advanced Laboratory Design.

A Basic Biosafety on-demand module (a joint project led by the Philanthropic Committee) was released in August 2017. The module can be found on the Online Education webpage https://absa.org/online-education/. A course on Basic Disinfection is near completion, to be offered as an on-demand module, with the goal to release mid-year 2018.

Below are webinars currently available. The list of professional development opportunities is available on the Online Education webpage noted above. New courses are added routinely. Please invite your colleagues, nonmembers, or other professionals to attend.

Biosecurity and Developing Technologies--SMEs Ryan Burnette, Don Callihan on January 17, 2018 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm CST
Laboratory Design Part 1 of 3: Programming, Predesign & Process--SMEs Mark Fitzgerald, Vibeke Halkjaer-Knudsen, Natasha Griffith, Bill Ardnt on January 23, 2018 from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm CST
Large-Scale Biosafety--SME Brian Petuch March 6 and 8, 2018 from 12:30 to 3:00 pm CST
Laboratory Design Part 2 of 3: Design Best Practices--SMEs Mark Fitzgerald, Vibeke Halkjaer-Knudsen, Natasha Griffith, Bill Ardnt on April 10, 2018 from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm CST

 


Journal Board - December 2017
Coeditors-in-Chief: Karen B. Byers and Barbara Johnson
 
The next issue of Applied Biosafety (Volume 22, Number 4, 2017) has been produced and will be mailed in the coming days. Some of the articles that are being published in this issue are already available in "Online First" on the Applied Biosafety website. The topics include inactivation of Brucella and Mycobacterium bovis, Gene Drive 101, and a review of biosafety in the clinical laboratories of Yemen.
 
SAGE Publications has provided the following metrics about Applied Biosafety-the total circulation rose from 6,161 in 2016 to 7,082 by February 2017 and there were 27,987 full-text downloads of Applied Biosafety articles in 2016.

Publications Committee - December 2017

Co-chairs: Bruce Whitney and Luis Alberto Ochoa Carrera

The committee is discussing whether or not to retire the Anthology series, make them as eBooks, or begin creating more books with new topics. The committee is considering an update of the Job Hazard Analysis CD. At this time, the committee is looking to share this material with the rest of the committee members for its review. In addition, new ideas about the content were discussed at the committee meeting in Albuquerque for creating new DVD materials for several current topics. This will be discussed in the next meeting (November/December call). The committee had the opportunity to have a meeting during the ABSA Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference and discuss tasks for the following year.


Preconference Course Committee (PCC) - December 2017

Co-chairs: Carrie Smith and Heather Blair

Thank you to the PCC members and PCC participants for making our 2017 courses successful! Seventy-nine percent (79%) of the seats were sold with 914 preconference registrants total (which is 3 more than last year). We have also received a lot of positive feedback overall for the courses from both participants and course facilitators. The committee will review the comments participants provided in the course surveys to help us determine what will be offered for next year. If you have ideas for future preconference course topics, please send your suggestions to Carrie Smith (casmith@usgs.gov) and Heather Blair (heather.blair@colostate.edu).


Learning Verification Committee - December 2017

Co-chairs: Niki Drazenovich and Matthew Fisher

The Learning Verification Committee has finished reviewing the University of Bradford's book titled "Preventing Biological Threats: What You Can Do" and quizzes are in the process of being posted on the website. The committee will start reviewing the Anthology of Biosafety XIV: Sustainability. ABSA members currently have eight quizzes available online for CM points. These quizzes are low cost and can be located on the website at https://absa.org/online-education/.


Anthology XIV: Sustainability - December 2017

Anthology XIV: Sustainability 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. The Anthology XIV book is available in print and at https://absa.org/publications/.


Training Tools Committee - December 2017

Co-chairs: Dave Harbourt and Eric Cook

The Training Tools and Resources Committee has added four new members since 2016 and continues to look for new contributors from the ABSA community. The committee meets monthly through teleconference to discuss updates and revisions to our expanding resource list. In addition to looking for new members, the committee is always trying to add resources to the website for the ABSA community and any individuals who may be able to add to our resource list are encouraged to submit any resources on the ABSA International website at click on Share or Suggest a Resource.


ABSA-Owned Courses - December 2017

Co-chairs: Wing Wong and Chad Austin

Basic/Advanced Risk Assessment
Co-chairs: Brandon Hatcher and Chad Austin

The Advanced Risk Assessment course was offered at the 60th Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference in Albuquerque. The course enjoyed full attendance and good interactive conversations with participants. The instructors of the course received some feedback during the course and await the formal results from the attendee survey. Instructors plan to update and refine the course based on attendee feedback. Early goals include streamlining presentation content to allow for additional subject areas to be included and for more interactive exchanges with future attendees.

BSL-3 Operations and Management
Co-chairs: Paul Jennette and Carrie Smith
The course was offered at the 60th Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference in Albuquerque.


Principles & Practices of Biosafety (PPB) - December 2017

Co-chairs: Paul Jennette, Jeff Owens, and Hallie Hoskins

A 1-day work session for all instructors was held in July to discuss course material and course enhancements. The PPB is an evolving, comprehensive, interactive 5-day course that 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 and to encourage networking and problem-solving among participants and instructors.

The upcoming PPB will be at the Embassy Suites Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida on February 18-23 is sold out. The next PPB course will be July 15-20, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. More information and a course description can be found at .


Review Course - December 2017

Co-chairs: Willie Wong and Dan Eisenman

Annual reviews of all 7 modules were completed. Suggested revisions to improve the modules were submitted to ABSA International.


Distance Learning Committee - February 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 .

ABSA Owned Courses - February 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 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 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 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 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 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 Evaluation Board (CEB) - September 2018

Co-chairs: Thomas Boyle and Donald Wang

The primary function of the Credentialing Evaluation Board (CEB) is to review new applications and re-applications for registration (RBP) or certification (CBSP) as a biological safety professional meeting the criteria established by ABSA International.

There has been a change in CEB Chair. Donald Wang stepped down as Chair and Thomas Boyle is the new Chair.

We continue to meet monthly via phone conference to review newly submitted RBP/CBSP applications, pending applications and other Board related matters.

In 2018, the Board took on the role of reviewing applications for those seeking to take the CBSP exam. Since the CBSP exam reviewing process is a new function for CEB, we have updated the brochure for the ABSA International Conference. We also need to review and revise our P&Ps to include the CBSP exam reviewing process.

CEB adopted the RBP Instructions and Application Form (with modifications) for the CBSP Exam Application process.

Since the last report (May 23, 2018) the CEB received 21 RBP applications; 11 applications were reviewed and approved; 3 were reviewed and denied; 5 applications are pending; and 2 applications were received just prior to the meeting and were not reviewed.

Frequent reasons for RBP denial by the Board include lack of documented comprehensive biosafety program management experience; does not account for the required time managing a comprehensive biosafety program (depending acceptable academic degree); and submitted academic degree is not applicable to biosafety.

Frequent reasons for CBSP exam denial include applicant does not meet ABSA International's educational requirement and/or time criteria managing a comprehensive biosafety program.

Applications are considered pending if the Board has requested additional information or clarifications from the applicant.


Credentialing Maintenance Board (CMB) - September 2018

Co-chairs: Susan Cook and Deborah Newby

The CMB has nearly completed the reviews for the 2013-2017 cycle. The CMB approved 38 recredentialing worksheets and over 180 applications for CM credit. The CMB also audited four applicants to verify their recredentialing worksheet submission. Based on these reviews, the CMB has the following recommendations for credential holders who are due to renew in the 2014-2018 cycle. 1) Submit applications for CM credit as soon after the activity as possible. This will allow the CMB to review these applications in a timelier fashion and will prevent any surprise shortfalls in CM points if an activity is not approved. 2) Submit fully-completed documents (CM credit applications or credentialing maintenance worksheets) to minimize the amount of time needed to review the applications and to minimize the number of requests for additional or clarifying information. 3) Respond promptly to requests for additional or clarifying information from the ABSA International office or the CMB to allow reviews to proceed efficiently.

The CMB has developed internal tracking tools and job aids to assist in reviewing applications more quickly and preventing applications from falling through the cracks. We are also developing an online application system for submission of both CM applications and recredentialing worksheets that we hope to be able to demonstrate at the upcoming ABSA International Conference in October. The CMB looks forward to working with the credentialed community to improve the user-friendliness and efficiency of the credentialing maintenance process.


Credentialing Maintenance Board (CMB) - May 2018

Co-chairs: Susan Cook and Deborah Newby

The Credentialing Maintenance Board (CMB) received 41 renewal applications for the 2013-2017 cycle and is finalizing the review of those applications. Ten percent of those who earn enough continuing education credits to renew their credentials will be chosen for audit. In 2017, the CMB reviewed and approved over 200 applications for CM credit. The CMB strongly encourages the credentialed community to submit applications for CM credit throughout the 5-year credentialing cycle to facilitate faster reviews and to ensure that individuals do not unexpectedly fall short of the continuing education requirement.

In 2017, the CMB reviewed and approved over 200 applications for CM credit. For a list of all activities already approved for CM credit, please see ABSA International's Professional Development Activities page. The 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.

The CMB continually reviews the guidance documents available and the forms associated with recredentialing to better serve the credentialed community. The CMB is also investigating the feasibility of an online system for tracking educational activities and submitting forms to the CMB for review. The CMB continues to seek additional low-cost or free educational opportunities to allow the community more opportunities to earn the CM points necessary for credential maintenance.

 


Credentialing Evaluation Board (CEB) - May 2018

Co-chairs: Donald Wang and Thomas Boyle

The Credentialing Evaluation Board (CEB) continues their monthly conference call to review submitted RBP/CBSP applications and other Board-related matters. In 2018, the CEB took on the role of reviewing applications for those seeking to take the CBSP exam that was previously managed by ASM. Since the CBSP exam reviewing process is a new function, the CEB will need to evaluate Policies and Procedures to include this as a function. The CEB adopted the RBP Instructions and Application Form for the CBSP Exam Application process.

Since the 2017 Conference to date, the CEB received and reviewed 63 applications; including the RBP, CBSP and those for seeking to take the CBSP Exam. Summary below:
RBP: received 35 applications, review and approved 15, reviewed and denied 9, and 11 pending***.
CBSP: received 5 applications, review and approved 4, reviewed and denied 0, and 1 pending*.
CBSP Exam: received 23 applications, review and approved 14, reviewed and denied 9, and 0 pending*.

* Frequent reasons for RBP denial by the Board; lack of documented comprehensive biosafety program experience, short on time (depending acceptable academic degree) in managing a biosafety program, submitted academic degree is not applicable to biosafety.
** Frequent reasons for CBSP exam denial; applicant does not meet ABSA's educational requirement and/or time criteria in biosafety program management.
*** Pending for due to needing additional information or clarifications from the applicant prior to Board decision.

 


Credentialing Maintenance Board (CMB) - December 2017

Co-chairs: Susan Cook and Thomas Leonard

The Credentialing Maintenance Board (CMB) reviewed 53 recredentialing applications for the 2011-2016 cycle. Ten percent (10%) of those who earned enough continuing education credits to renew their credentials were chosen for audit. Following the audit, 43 of the 53 individuals who applied successfully renewed their credentials.

The 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. 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 preapproved by the CMB.

A notification was recently sent to 65 individuals who are due to renew their credential for the 2012-2017 cycle. The recredentialing materials are due to the ABSA International office no later than February 1, 2018. The CMB encourages individuals to submit any outstanding applications for credentialing maintenance credit as soon as possible so that the Board can review those prior to reviewing the recredentialing applications. As a reminder, the CMB Program Guide, a sample recredentialing worksheet, and an FAQ are all available on the ABSA webpage (under Career Growth -> Maintaining Your Credentials).

As part of the CMB's efforts to continually monitor the balance and effectiveness of the credentialing maintenance program, the Board recently distributed a survey to the entire ABSA International membership. As a result of that survey, the Board is actively reviewing the guidance documents available and the forms associated with recredentialing in an attempt to make the process faster and clearer. The Board is also investigating the feasibility of an online system for tracking educational activities and submitting forms to the Board for review. The Board continues to seek additional low-cost or free educational opportunities to allow the community more opportunities to earn the CM points necessary for credential maintenance.


Credentialing Evaluation Board (CEB) - December 2017

Co-chairs: Donald Wang and Thomas Boyle

Since the last ABSA update, the Credentialing Evaluation Board (CEB) received and reviewed 57 applications; 41 were for RBP and 16 for CBSP. Of the RBP applications, 26 were approved and 11 were denied with 4 in pending status, the Board is waiting or wanting additional information from the applicant prior to final decision. Common reasons for the RBP disapprovals were not meeting the time required in managing a comprehensive biosafety program, their academic degree(s) on their application not relevant to biological safety or their work experience provided were not relevant to biosafety. All of the 16 CBSP applications were approved. All applicants approved for an RBP/CBSP between the 2016 and 2017 conference were recognized during the 2017 Conference Recognition Luncheon.

In addition to evaluating applications, the CEB participated in the Biosecurity Credentialing Task Force discussion. The CEB also addressed inquiries from the CDC, Division of Select Agent and Toxin on certifications for their inspectors as a whole. The Board concluded that each inspector would be evaluated and certified on their own merits.

Prior to the ABSA International annual conference, American Society for Microbiology (ASM) announced that they would discontinue their role in administering the CBSP exams. ABSA International has since decided to take over that role. CEB's role in the review of CBSP qualifications were discussed at the ABSA International conference. More details will be available as the CEB role is being developed.


Credentialing Maintenance Board - February 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 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 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 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

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.

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

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.

Management Team Update

Awards Committee - September 2018

Co-chairs: Jeff Potts and Francine Rogers

The committee has been working hard this summer to review the nominations for the 2018 Honor Awards. Nominees have been selected and will be recognized at the 61st Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference in October. The committee will also be sending out a request for members to submit names for In Memoriam recognition at the ABSA International Conference Honors Luncheon.

Looking forward to 2019, the committee would like to encourage members to consider submitting nominees. When you submit nominees please provide specific examples and detailed justifications for the individual. 


E-Communications Committee - September 2018

Co-chairs: Matt Anderson and Sarah Ziegler

The committee will be sponsoring a selfie-station again this year at the ABSA International Conference. This was popular last year and we hope we get even more members to stop by and snap a selfie in front of the "Sick Art" backdrop and share the pic on social media using the conference hashtag #BiosafetySC2018 and the new Biosafety month hashtag #getyourcultureon. Don't forget to tag ABSA in your posts using @absainternational on Instagram and Facebook or @absaoffice on Twitter. E-Communications Committee members will also be handing out fun ribbons for your name tag if you show us that you posted a selfie or tweeted about the conference.


Bylaws Committee - September 2018

Chair: Amy Ryan

The committee continues to edit and review the Policies & Procedures of various teams and committees. One review has been completed this quarter. The committee asks that all teams and committees perform an annual review and submit any changes to the ABSA International office. The office will forward the changes to the committee for review and approval.


Finance Committee - May 2018
Chair: Jim Klenner
 
The Finance Committee has continued to review monthly financial reports. The Finance Committee's Policies & Procedures are currently under review and being revised. The Treasurer presented questions from committee members at ABSA's Mid-Year Council Meeting. The Treasurer provided a report on the Finance Committee to Council at the Mid-Year Council Meeting.

Awards Committee - May 2018

Chair: Jeffrey M. Potts

The Awards Committee will be meeting to review nomination forms and award descriptions. Forms were posted in late April on the ABSA International website for nominations and award nominees will be evaluated over the summer. A committee meeting is being scheduled shortly.

 


E-Communications Committee - May 2018
Chair: Matt Anderson

Instructions how to submit blog posts and how members can earn CM points for posts have been posted on the ABSA International blog. The committee plans to host a selfie station at the conference again this year, as it was well-received last year, and to promote posting about the conference on social media by handing out fun nametag ribbons.

 


Bylaws Committee - May 2018

Co-chairs: Amy Ryan and Tim Sturgis

The Bylaws Committee continues to edit and review the Policies and Procedures. The committee asks that all teams and committees perform an annual review and submit any changes to the ABSA International Office-the office will forward the changes to the committee for review and approval.


Historical Committee - May 2018

Chair: John Balog

The committee met with USDA National Agricultural Library as the repository of the ABSA Biosafety Archive on April 19 with participants Bob Hawley, Ed Stygar, and John Balog. Agenda items included: deposit publications, manuals, booklets, and miscellaneous documents donated by the estate of Byron Tepper, and potentially other donations; Issues related to financials-what services are provided and the related costs, and curation-what services are provided. We do not anticipate any changes to our relationship with the Ag Library.


Finance Committee - December 2017
Chair: Jim Klenner
 
The committee reviewed the 2018 budget and no concerns were raised. Monthly meetings continue and finances are reviewed each month.

Awards Committee - December 2017

Chair: Jeffrey M. Potts

The 2017 Honor Awards were presented at the 60th Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference to well deserving recipients. The award winners were Arnold G. Wedum Distinguished Achievement Award-Richard Rebar; Everett Hanel, Jr. Presidential Award-Dee Zimmerman; John H. Richardson Special Recognition Award-Mary Jo Lanzilotta; and Richard C. Knudsen Publication Award-David Pawlowski,

Recently, Janet Peterson stepped-down as co-chair of the committee so we would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank her and acknowledge her many years of hard work on this committee. Francine Rogers has assumed a co-chair roll and we would also like to welcome new committee member, Leslie Miller.


E-Communication Committee - December 2017

Chair: Matt Anderson

Website redesign is complete and we are in maintenance mode. We had a conference call with committee chairs and team leads in October to solicit feedback. Overall impressions were very positive and the website is vastly better than prior version. We have already fixed a few of the issues that were brought-up during the call. I want to ask all teams and committees to be sure to contact the ABSA International office with requests to add content or customize a page that pertains to your program area or if corrections need to be made.

We worked with the PR committee to push social media engagement during the ABSA International conference this year. There were two projects implemented. The first was we handed out ribbons with either a funny saying, like "Diva," "My ribbon is better than yours," Party Animal," etc. or the conference hashtag which is #BiosafetyNM17 for posting on social media about the conference and showing it to a member of the PR or E-Communication Committees.

The other project was a selfie station that was in the exhibit hall. We had a microbe artwork background that attendees could take their picture in front of and post on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) we had instructions on how to post and tag ABSA International and how to use the conference hashtag.

Feedback from both of these projects during the conference was positive and the selfie station was popular even though there was not a lot of pictures posted on social media. Social media posting is definitely something we want to encourage members to do, so if you took a picture at the selfie booth, you can still post it to social media, just don't forget to use the conference hashtag #BiosafetyNM17. We also request that members submit pictures taken at the conference to blog@absa.org if they are willing to let them be used on the website or social media.

We received approval from the Credentialing Maintenance Board to offer CM points for blog posts submitted by members. We will be posting information about this on the blog page and the points will be 0.125 points per post with a maximum of 8 posts or 1 CM point per renewal period.


Nominating Committee - December 2017

Chair: Maureen O'Leary

The new chair of the Nominating Committee is Maureen O'Leary. This committee will not be meeting for a few months until it is time to begin requesting nominees for the next elections. Last year's Nominating Committee produced an excellent panel of nominees.

The ABSA Ambassadors have just been added to the Membership/Leadership team. The ABSA Ambassadors are now a Committee (promoted from a Task Force) since the conference in Albuquerque. They are beginning work on P&Ps for the committee and expect to be reviewing them soon.


Bylaws Committee - December 2017

Chair: Amy Ryan

Bylaws has reviewed six P&Ps (Affiliate Relations, E-communication, Bylaws, Distance Learning, Eagleson Lecture, and Awards). Bylaws looks forward to other committees submitting their updated P&Ps for review.


Historical Committee - December 2017

Chair: John Balog

There were two historical briefs presented at the 60th Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference. The first was an overview of the early meetings. The second was a brief summary of the evolution of the profession.


Finance Committee - February 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 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 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

Nominating Committee - February 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.

Bylaws Committee - February 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.

Nominating Committee - October 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.


E-Communications Committee - October 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://absa.org/blog/


Awards Committee - October 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

Marian Downing, RBP, CBSP

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.

Get Involved!

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.

Membership Leadership Team Update

ABSA Ambassadors - September 2018

Lead: Marian Downing

The ABSA Ambassadors have been very busy since the last update. Activities include:

Bob Hawley presented on Biological Toxins (Georgetown U School of Medicine) and spoke on "The Biosafety Professional-Earning Credibility and Support" at the Control of Biohazards Course (Johns Hopkins). Bob and AJ Troiano gave a go-to-training session on "The Next Generation of Leadership in Biosafety."

Richard Gilpin gave an ABSA update for the Control of Biohazards Course (Johns Hopkins) and at the NSF Legionella Conference (Baltimore). Richard also presented an ABSA Update and program overview at the CSHEMA Annual Conference in Baltimore.

Krista Murray spoke at the Delaware Laboratory Preparedness Advisory Committee meeting about the field of Biosafety and ABSA as a resource. She also spoke twice at the Poultry Disease Outbreak Management and Regionalization Certificate Symposium on ABSA and international affiliate programs.

Barb Owen promoted ABSA and ABSA Credentialing at the NJ AIHA CIH Review Course in Baltimore and gave an ABSA Update at the MABSA June Symposium.

Karen Byers presented on laboratory acquired infections and the ABSA LAI Database at the June AMExBio Conference in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Marian Downing presented an ABSA update and on public health outreach efforts at the Southern Biosafety Association Meeting in April. Marian also presented a Poster at the National APHL meeting in June entitled "ABSA International Outreach-What Can We Do for You?" Marian recorded sessions on Biorisk Management, Biosafety as a career path, and ABSA programs for the Loyola University School of Nursing Course for Infection Control Practitioners.

Pat Condreay presented an ABSA update to the August 2018 MABioN Symposium.


Affiliates Committee - May 2018

Co-Chairs: Jennifer Gaudioso and Despina Felis

The Affiliates Committee reviews requests by groups for acceptance into ABSA International as an Affiliate. There have not been any application submissions since the last Update e-newsletter.


ABSA Ambassadors - May 2018

Lead: Marian Downing

The ABSA Ambassadors have given a variety of presentations to a wide range of audiences (see Ambassador Committee efforts below). Recently, they gave a webinar titled "Practical Disinfection Guidance for the Clinical Laboratory" in conjunction with the Public Health Preparedness and Response Program. Marian Downing will be presenting a poster on ABSA International, "What Can We Do for You," at the June APHL meeting. Ambassador Committee efforts since December 2017:

Barbara Owen
ASU Biosecurity Workshop
December 7-8, 2017
University/Researchers, Biosafety professionals, Biosecurity professions and government organizations such as FBI, CDC and NIH
~200
1 hour
ABSA Biosecurity Task Force Update/Q&A

Rebecca Moritz
Presentations (2) at a middle school
December 1, 2017
Middle School
45
Biosafety as a career

Rebecca Moritz
Middle school career day
December 7, 2017
Middle school career day
50
Biosafety as a career

Rebecca Moritz
Middle school career day
December 7, 2017
Middle school career day
50
Biosafety as a career

Pat Condreay
CDC Symposium
February 12, 2018
Biosafety professionals
~200
15 minutes
ABSA update and task force update


Membership Committee - May 2018

Co-chairs: Malissa Mayer-Diaz and Kelly Flint

The Membership Committee met at the conference and are working on revising the New Member Survey. They are also working with the PCC to create "roadmaps" for new attendees and ABSA International members to see what courses are of best benefit to new members who are attending the conference.


Mentoring Committee - May 2018

Co-chairs: Althea Treacy and Sarah Ziegler

The Mentoring Committee is following-up on people who requested to be either mentors or mentees. They are actively recruiting and accepting both and request that anyone who wishes to be a mentor/mentee to please update their my.ABSA profile.


Membership Committee - December 2017

Co-chairs: Malissa Mayer-Diaz and Kelly Flint

The Membership Committee has a new chair, Malissa Mayer-Diaz. Kelly Flint will be serving as co-chair, and Je T'aime Newton is thanked for her years of service. They are working on a "New Member" survey, and are talking on how to work with PCC and Marketing on member retention. ABSA International Membership-there were 284 new members for 2017; 1,506 current members (148 of which are international members); 47 countries represented; and 38 Emeritus Members.


Nominating Committee - December 2017

Chair: Maureen O'Leary

The new chair of the Nominating Committee is Maureen O'Leary. This committee will not be meeting for a few months until it is time to begin requesting nominees for the next elections. Last year's Nominating Committee produced an excellent panel of nominees.

The ABSA Ambassadors have just been added to the Membership/Leadership team. The ABSA Ambassadors are now a Committee (promoted from a Task Force) since the conference in Albuquerque. They are beginning work on P&Ps for the committee and expect to be reviewing them soon.


Mentoring Committee - December 2017

Co-chairs: Althea Treacy and Sarah Ziegler

The Mentoring Committee is following-up on people who have requested to be either mentors or mentees. They are actively recruiting and accepting both, and request that anyone who wishes to be a mentor/mentee update their my.ABSA profile. They are also looking for a new chair as the current chair has met the term limit requirements.


Membership Committee - February 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 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 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!

ABSA Ambassadors Task Force - February 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.

Affiliate Relations - October 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 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 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 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.

Get Involved!

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.

Get Involved!

Accreditation Team Update

Accreditation Committee - September 2018

Co-chairs: Bob Ellis and Rebecca R. Caruso

The Accreditation Committee has not inspected any facilities since the last Update e-Newsletter report. We look forward to future inspection opportunities and assisting facilities with the ABSA International accreditation process.


Accreditation Board - May 2018

Chair: Chris Thompson

The Standards Committee is in the process of revising the Standards document for BSL-2 use. We continue to have inquiries about accreditation visits. We have advertised to the public health audience, as the accreditation program was included in a poster that ABSA International presented at the APHL annual meeting.


Accreditation Board - October 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://absa.org/lab-accred/.


Regulatory & Technical Affairs Team

Team Leaders:
Alexis Brubaker, CBSP
Bill Homovec, CBSP

Colleen Driskill, RBP, CBSP
Angela Birnbaum, RBP, 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.

Joshua Turse, PhD
Eric Rouse, MS
Lolly Gardiner, RBP

Yolanda Arriaga Stringer, MS, RBP, CBSP
David Pawlowski

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.

Get Involved!

Regulatory & Technical Affairs Team Update

Technical & Regulatory Review (TRR) Committee - September 2018

Co-chairs: Yolanda Arriaga Stringer and David Pawlowski

TRR works thoroughly and often quickly to submit reviews on behalf of ABSA International. The TRR reviews this year have included submissions to the: Federal Select Agent Program on inactivation of select agents and effluent decontamination systems; USDA APHIS regarding permit for release of genetically engineered virus; NIH National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for a 5-Year Strategic Plan 2.0; and early in this review year to the World Health Organization for PPE relative to Ebola and Hemorrhagic Fever outbreaks. The TRR also followed-up on 2017 NIH Guidelines discussions by meeting with NIH Office of Science Policy members in preparation for future comment. The TRR monitors the Federal Register notices for comment opportunities and is considering several currently. Referrals are welcome from the ABSA membership for potential input on behalf of ABSA International.


Biological Select Agent and Toxins Community Advocate Committee (BSAT CAC) - September 2018

Co-chairs: Colleen Driskill and Angela Birnbaum

The BSAT CAC added six new members in the spring and has been diligently working to fulfill their goal of providing a forum for the sharing of best practices among the select agent community.

The committee presented a webinar in March focusing on "Recent Select Agent Inspection Experiences." This was the most highly attended webinar to date with over 200 Security Risk Assessment (SRA) approved participants enrolled. The most recent webinar occurred on August 6 and was entitled "Entity Experiences Preparing for Select Agent Inspections." This webinar was also very well attended.

The BSAT CAC is planning the next SRA Approved Users Workshop that will take place Thursday after the ABSA International Conference (October 19, 2018). The preliminary agenda for the full-day program will include a question and answer period with regulators from the CDC Division of Select Agents and Toxins (DSAT) and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspectional Services (APHIS), and many other presentations and discussions related to aspects of working with select agents and toxins. This event will also allow time for networking and problem solving for individuals from various entities.

The committee continues to review posts, respond to questions, and share information on the Select Agent Forum; the online listserv for SRA approved personnel. The BSAT CAC also provides feedback from the forum anonymously to the Federal Select Agent Program, so that they may respond to concerns, and clarify regulatory issues from the select agent community. Interested SRA approved individuals are encouraged to join the forum by emailing the ABSA International office at info@absa.org with "SA Gram" in the subject line.


Public Relations and Marketing Committee - September 2018

Co-chairs: Joshua Turse, Eric Rouse, and Lolly Gardiner

The Public Relations and Marketing Committee continues to concentrate on 2018 Biosafety Month, a period of time when individuals and organizations are encouraged to focus on and reinforce their attention to biosafety and biosecurity standards. 2018 Biosafety Month will be held in October this year. The theme for this year-"Promoting a Culture of Biosafety and Responsibility"-was announced in July with the social networking hashtag #getyourcultureon. Shortly after, the official logo and marketing graphics materials were released for use by biosafety and biosecurity stakeholders. Updates and additional supporting materials will continue to be provided by ABSA International, through both email outreach and posted to the Biosafety Month website, leading up to the 61st Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. A special feature will also appear in Applied Biosafety. We hope you will join us in Charleston where the presentation "Biosafety Month 2018: ABSA International Responses to Members' Needs" will provide an inside look on how ABSA has approached management of this valuable initiative for our community. Visit https://absa.org/event/2018-biosafety-month/.


Select Agent Task Force - February 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 listserve 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 info@absa.org with "SA Gram" in the subject line.

Legislative Affairs Committee - February 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Get Involved!

Conference Services Team Update

Local Arrangement Committee (LAC) - September 2018

Co-chairs: Sylvie Blondell and Shelley Jones

The USS Yorktown aircraft carrier has been selected as the banquet venue and the LAC is reaching-out to potential local bands for entertainment. The LAC is actively investigating ideas for the conference speakers' and attendees' gifts. Shuttle service has been secured between the Charleston Convention Center and downtown Charleston on Friday, Saturday, and Monday evenings for attendees who wish to discover Charleston's nightlife. Hotel and shuttle information are posted on the conference website at https://absaconference.org/travel.

A visitor's guide to Charleston has been generated and posted on the conference website at https://absaconference.org/travel/. The banquet entertainment and the speaker and attendee gifts for the 2018 conference have been selected and sent to the ABSA International office for finalization.


Exhibitors Committee - September 2018

Chair: Brandon Rosendahl

Due to the hotels providing free breakfasts, which will impact attendee presence in the Exhibit Hall prior to lectures, the exhibition hours will differ this year from previous conferences. The Exhibit Hall will be open from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm on Monday and Tuesday. This year's Opening Reception will be in the Exhibit Hall from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, which is extended by 30 minutes due to the later start times on Monday and Tuesday.


Scientific Program Committee - September 2018

Co-chairs: Betsy Matos, Jessica McCormick-Ell, and Claudia Gentry-Weeks

The Scientific Program Committee is looking forward to the 19 platform sessions addressing many aspects of biological safety and biosecurity. Our four keynote speakers will address global issues in our discipline as well as basic science challenges. We have more than 10 countries represented in our platform and poster presentations. We look forward to the exchange of ideas and experiences.


Scientific Program Committee (SPC) - May 2018

Co-chairs: Betsy Matos, Jessica McCormick-Ell, and Claudia Gentry-Weeks

The Scientific Program Committee has selected the 4 keynote speakers: Dr. Fischer (Topic: Public health issues and challenges), Dr. Palmer (Topic: Implication of biosecurity on biotechnology), Dr. Turner (Topic: Host-microbe interactions and phage therapy), and Dr. Venkateswaran (Topic: Microbial observatory). Over 100 abstracts have been received, which are being reviewed by the committee. Decisions regarding selected abstracts for platform or poster presentations have been made. Based on the number of abstracts received for each of this year proposed topic areas (e.g., emergency responses, public health, synthetic biology, behavior/enhancing compliance, etc.) the committee will generate the meeting agenda.

 


Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) - May 2018
Co-chairs: Sylvie Blondell and Shelley Jones
 
The USS Yorktown aircraft carrier has been selected as the banquet venue and the LAC is reaching-out to potential local bands for entertainment. The LAC is actively investigating ideas for the conference speakers' and attendees' gifts. Shuttle service has been secured between the Charleston Convention Center and downtown Charleston on Friday, Saturday, and Monday evenings for attendees who wish to discover Charleston's nightlife. Hotel and shuttle information are posted on the conference website at https://absaconference.org/travel.

Exhibitors Committee - May 2018
Chair: Brandon Rosendahl
 
Due to the hotels providing free breakfasts, which will impact attendee presence in the Exhibit Hall prior to lectures, the exhibition hours will differ this year from previous conferences. The Exhibit Hall will be open from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm on Monday and Tuesday. This year's Opening Reception will be in the Exhibit Hall from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm, which is extended by 30 minutes due to the later start times on Monday and Tuesday.

Scientific Program Committee (SPC) - December 2017

Co-chairs: Betsy Matos, Jessica McCormick-Ell, and Claudia Gentry-Weeks

The SPC reviewed the conference survey and discussed such during a conference call this month. SPC is accepting suggestions for the four Keynote Speakers for 2018 ABSA International Conference.

Submissions of abstracts for platform and poster presentations will begin in January 2018 until March 2018.

ABSA 2017 Conference Presentations and Recordings Now Available!

ABSA International would like to thank all of our volunteers, members, and colleagues for another successful conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For those of you who could not make it to the conference, the presentations and recordings are available at https://absaconference.org/program/. The presentations are free, but there is a fee for the recordings. Please e-mail info@absa.org if you have any questions or need assistance.

ABSA International's NEW Promotional Video

Thanks to the Public Relations Committee, ABSA has just finished production of a new promotional video. The video can be found at http://www.absa.org and on ABSA International's YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/xAQPZxMvqRY. Feel free to share the video, use it in presentations, or link to it from your websites.


Scientific Program Committee - February 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 Biosafety and Biosecurity 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 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 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 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 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 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 Biosafety and Biosecurity 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
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

Biosecurity Credentialing
David Gillum, MS, RBP
Barb Owen, RBP, CBSP

Education and Curriculum
Paul Meechan, PhD, RBP, CBSP
Brandy Nelson, CBSP 

Emerging Infectious Disease Consortium
Paul Trancell
Susan Weekly, RBP, CBSP

Expanding ABSA’s Influence
Chad Austin, PhD
Lolly Gardiner, RBP

GHSAC
Don Callihan, PhD
Susan Weekly, RBP, CBSP

International Engagement
Eric Cook, CBSP
Sophie Brocard, PhD, RBP 

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

NextGen SIG
Caitlyn Hauke
Theresa Marth, MS, RBP 

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

Task Forces Update

New and Emerging Technologies and Diseases (NETD) Task Force - September 2018

Co-chairs: David Gillum and Rebecca Moritz

The New and Emerging Technologies and Diseases (NETD) Task Force has been very busy identifying high-profile topics for potential publication in Applied Biosafety. Several papers that were initiated by the NETD have been accepted and published in the journal and several more are on the way. A few of the topics that are being discussed for future articles include: Agricultural and Plant Biosafety Program Management, Biosafety for Microbiome Research, Biosafety in Public Health and State Veterinary Laboratories, Institutional Perspectives for Managing High-Containment Research Programs, The Culture of Responsibility in DIY Bio Laboratories, Novel Risk Assessments for Developing Newly Identified Pathogens, and several others.


Education & Curriculum Task Force (ECTF) - September 2018

Co-chairs: Brandy Nelson and Paul Meechan

ECTF has been meeting regularly during the first half of 2018. Presentations on the activities of the ECTF and academic biosafety have been given at the Southeastern Biosafety Association meeting in Knoxville, Tennessee in May and at the Midwest Area Biosafety Symposium in Manhattan, Kansas in August. A presentation on the work of the ECTF will be given on October 16, 2018 at the ABSA International Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. These presentations assist in furthering the goal of the ECTF to promote academic biosafety and have resulted in suggestions from the biosafety community on future directions for this initiative.


Emerging Infectious Disease Consortium - September 2018

Co-chairs: A. J. Troiano and Susan Weekly

Due to increased job responsibilities, Paul Tranchell is no longer able to provide the time and effort needed to adequately lead this consortium. Paul appreciates the opportunity to lead this important and interesting team. A. J. Troiano, Staff Scientist II-Life Sciences at Environmental Health & Engineering, has agreed to take over the leadership role. Paul Tranchell will remain on the team, building a collaboration with the AIHA. The following progress has been made by the team.

Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC)-Esmeralda L. Meyer continues to make excellent progress in collaboration with this organization. They are progressing toward joint articles in their respective journals this fall. They have also obtained approval for a presentation at the ABSA International conference this October.

American College of Veterinary Microbiologists (ACVM)-David M. White is working on determining whether ABSA can provide content for websites and webinars that the College is considering.

Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)-Marian Downing and Debra Sharpe continue to make good progress in collaborations with the APHL.

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine-Betsy Gilman Duane is working with Ed Stygar hoping to connect with their new Executive Director.


Biosecurity Task Force 2.0 - September 2018

Leads: David Gillum and Barbara Owen

The Biosecurity Task Force and respective subcommittees held multiple teleconferences to establish the path forward and framework for offering a biosecurity credential through ABSA International. The task force is looking into resources needed (new training, publications, etc.) and defining the marketing strategy to launch this new biosecurity credential. To date, key accomplishments include: 1) the creation of a Venn diagram poster that compares the biosafety and biosecurity disciplines; and 2) establishing a biosecurity matrix that defines biosecurity program management expectations, roles, and accountabilities. the Venn Diagram Biosecurity Poster clearly defines both biosafety and biosecurity and differentiates each discipline by outlining the considerations for hazard/risk analysis, process analysis, and risk management strategy. The biosecurity matrix identifies core biosecurity program elements as well as roles and accountabilities for each program element. This matrix will be the foundation for establishing the framework and marketing strategy for a biosecurity credential.


New Emerging Technologies and Disease Working Group - May 2018

Co-chairs: David Gillum and Rebecca Moritz

Currently, members of the New Emerging Technologies and Disease Working Group have at least 9 manuscripts in various stages of development. Some topics of discussion for manuscripts include dual use research of concern, working with public health authorities, microbiome research, infection control in research, management of high-containment programs, genome editing, and a review of the Arizona Biosecurity Workshop. If you are interested in joining this work group or if you have a topic you think the group should consider writing about, please contact co-chairs David Gillum and Rebecca Moritz.


ABSA Ambassadors - May 2018

Lead: Marian Downing

The ABSA Ambassadors have given a variety of presentations to a wide range of audiences (see Ambassador Committee efforts below). Recently, they gave a webinar titled "Practical Disinfection Guidance for the Clinical Laboratory" in conjunction with the Public Health Preparedness and Response Program. Marian Downing will be presenting a poster on ABSA International, "What Can We Do for You," at the June APHL meeting. Ambassador Committee efforts since December 2017:

Barbara Owen
ASU Biosecurity Workshop
December 7-8, 2017
University/Researchers, Biosafety professionals, Biosecurity professions and government organizations such as FBI, CDC and NIH
~200
1 hour
ABSA Biosecurity Task Force Update/Q&A

Rebecca Moritz
Presentations (2) at a middle school
December 1, 2017
Middle School
45
Biosafety as a career

Rebecca Moritz
Middle school career day
December 7, 2017
Middle school career day
50
Biosafety as a career

Rebecca Moritz
Middle school career day
December 7, 2017
Middle school career day
50
Biosafety as a career

Pat Condreay
CDC Symposium
February 12, 2018
Biosafety professionals
~200
15 minutes
ABSA update and task force update


Emerging Infectious Disease Consortium Task Force - May 2018

Lead: Paul Tranchell

The Consortium is progressing towards initial collaborations with other professional organization. Members are contacting their primary partnering organizations and developing relationships. There is a need for considering a new leader for the consortium. If there is no one from the group that can step-up, we will be asking ABSA leadership for assistance in identifying a fresh face. The following specific progress has been made.

Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC)--Esmeralda L. Meyer
Esmeralda has successfully connected with AAALAC and is coordinating a joint journal publication. Papers have been submitted and publication is anticipated the Fall timeframe. She has also proposed a panel discussion at the ABSA International Conference.

Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)-- Marian Downing and Debra Sharpe
Marian continues to make excellent progress with the APHL. She is working with the APHL Partners Forum. Efforts include developing a list serve. Also, Marian worked with APHL and ASM to provide a 1-hour webinar that was well attended and well received. She submitted a Letter to the Editors of the ABSA Journal Applied Biosafety promoting volunteering at Public Health Labs, which was published in Volume 23, Number 1, 2018. Marian submitted a proposal for a presentation at the APHL conference. While her presentation was not accepted, a poster presentation was and the poster has been developed by ABSA International. This may be of use in other outreach efforts as well.

American Society of Microbiology (ASM)--Don Callihan
Don has been trying to make inroads with ASM. He is currently pursuing opportunities to partner regarding applying for funding of projects and training. Don is also working with the Global Health Initiative to highlight ABSA's international reach and extend the initiative beyond the US. ABSA can work through national organizations to support a more international process.

American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine--Betsy Gilman Duane
Betsy indicated that there was strong interest in collaboration; however, the organization's Executive Director changed and interest slowed. Now that the new Executive Director has been in place for a while, Betsy and Ed Stygar are attempting to reconnect and reenergize the collaborations.

American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians--Dave White
Dave has found interest in connecting with the group, but there no substantive actions have been developed. He suggested using the poster developed by Marian as an outreach. The use of the poster was discussed as a more general tool for outreach to other organizations. It was suggested that the poster be made available on ABSA International's website for widespread use. We also discussed cross advertising ABSA webinars. ABSA can forward notices to organizations, but also develop a standardized e-mail that team members can distribute to contacts that are made in other organizations.


Education & Curriculum Task Force (ECTF) - May 2018

Lead: Brandy Nelson

The Education & Curriculum Task Force (ECTF) has been meeting regularly during the first quarter of 2018. ECTF goals center on development of a strategy and resources for academic institutions (and their biosafety professionals) to encourage and implement biosafety education at undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral levels; development of training and education strategies and implementation methods for teaching labs to help prevent outbreaks; and exploration of resources, information, and biosafety training materials that could facilitate a front door to the profession or a means to expand the knowledge base of the safety generalist into the field of biosafety. Subcommittees of the ECTF have been formed and are focusing on specific action items related to the general goals. The Academic Biosafety Subcommittee developed a survey for ABSA International members to collect data on the current state of biosafety education in the curriculum of academic institutions. The survey was distributed in March 2018. An abstract has been submitted for the 2018 ABSA International Conference to present the survey findings and discuss the work of the ECTF. The ECTF has been in contact with a number of regional ABSA International affiliates and is planning to provide webinars for these groups.


NextGen Shared Interest Group - May 2018

Leads: Caitlyn Hauke and Theresa Marth

The NextGen Shared Interest Group has established a listserve targeting newer biosafety professionals with less than 5 years of experience in the field. The group's focus is getting started with a career in biosafety and preparing for ABSA International credentials. Those wishing to join the listserve, e-mail Michelle Gehrke at michelle@absaoffice.org.

The NextGen Group would like to host a career panel at this year's ABSA International conference. The panel would feature a handful of professionals from different biosafety occupations/backgrounds and focus on the types of biosafety-related jobs available, career pathways, and advice for succeeding in the biosafety profession. The panel would also include a recently CBSP-credentialed individual to share their experience about the credentialing process.


Historical Committee - May 2018

Chair: John Balog

The committee met with USDA National Agricultural Library as the repository of the ABSA Biosafety Archive on April 19 with participants Bob Hawley, Ed Stygar, and John Balog. Agenda items included: deposit publications, manuals, booklets, and miscellaneous documents donated by the estate of Byron Tepper, and potentially other donations; Issues related to financials-what services are provided and the related costs, and curation-what services are provided. We do not anticipate any changes to our relationship with the Ag Library.


Biosecurity Task Force 2.0 - May 2018

Leads: Barbara Owen and David Gillum

The ABSA International Biosecurity Task Force 2.0 has created 4 subcommittees to assist in determining the feasibility, scope, and resources needed for creating a biosecurity credential. These subcommittees include: 1) Defining the Biosecurity Credential, Subcommittee Leads-Jessica McCormick-Ell and Ben Perman; 2) Criteria Needed to Evaluate and Award a Biosecurity Credential, Subcommittee Leads-Ryan Burnette and Benjamin Brodsky; 3) Evaluate the Resources Needed to Support the Credentialing Process, Subcommittee Leads-Meghan Seltzer and Erick Guandique; and 4) Evaluate the Marketing Strategy Required to Launch the Biosecurity Credential, Subcommittee Leads-Rebecca Moritz and Daniel Apple. The subcommittees have been very active, holding multiple teleconference calls to discuss their particular focus area. While there are still discussions regarding what the credential would look like and what the best way to assess biosecurity knowledge would be, there has been significant interest in the formation of a formal biosecurity credential offered by ABSA International.


Emerging Infectious Disease Consortium Task Force - December 2017

Lead: Paul Tranchell

The Consortium is progressing towards initial collaborations with other professional organization. Members are contacting their primary partnering organizations and developing relationships. The quality of the initial contacts varies and team members are making progress. The following specific progress has been made.

Association for Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care (AAALAC)--Esmeralda L. Meyer
Esmeralda has successfully connected with AAALAC and is coordinating a joint journal publication on animal safety. The materials will be published in ABSA International's Applied Biosafety as well as the ILAR journal. A call for authors has gone out and they are anticipating publishing the journals in 2018.

American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA)--Paul Tranchell
Paul attended the Environmental Biosafety Committee meeting at the American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition. There was strong agreement with the concept of collaboration and a plan to submit presentations for two roundtables at the 2018 AIHCe. Unfortunately, they were unable to complete the process within the 2018 submission. Paul will continue to follow-up for a future date.

Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL)--Marian Downing and Debra Sharpe
Marian continues to make excellent progress with the APHL. Marian attended an APHL Partners Meeting in September. ABSA International sponsored a Special Interest Group Meeting in Albuquerque at the ABSA Conference. Deb Sharpe, Bill Homovec, and Marian spoke briefly on what ABSA International can offer public health and clinical labs (training, credentials, accreditation, affiliate meetings for CE, listserv, etc.). There were 20 or so attendees there.


Historical Committee - December 2017

Chair: John Balog

There were two historical briefs presented at the 60th Annual Biosafety and Biosecurity Conference. The first was an overview of the early meetings. The second was a brief summary of the evolution of the profession.


Biosecurity Credential Task Force - December 2017

Leads: Barbara Owen and David Gillum

In the second quarter of 2017, an ABSA International membership survey was created to assess members biosecurity needs. Survey data confirmed members are interested in biosecurity becoming an area of focus across ABSA International's program areas. The survey also supported instituting a biosecurity credential. As a result of the survey findings, ABSA Council has now appointed a second Biosecurity Task Force (2.0) to create a proposed framework for establishing a biosecurity credential. Team objectives are: 1) establish the path forward and framework for offering a Biosecurity Credential through ABSA International; 2) determine the resources needed to support credentialing (new training, classes, publications, etc.); and 3) define the marketing strategy to launch this new biosecurity credential. Target date for completion of deliverables and approval by ABSA Council is September 2018. To date, a cross-section of ABSA members knowledgeable in biosecurity as well as personnel from biosecurity related organizations including the FBI have been appointed as task force members. The team anticipates a kick-off meeting in December.


Select Agent Task Force - February 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 listserve 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 info@absa.org with "SA Gram" in the subject line.

Emerging Infectious Disease Consortium - February 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 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 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/.


Edward J. Stygar, III, MBA, CAE, Executive Director, ABSA International

ABSA Executive Director

Edward J. Stygar, III, MBA, CAE
ed@absaoffice.org

Julie Savage, Deputy Director, ABSA International

Deputy Director

Julie Savage
julie@absaoffice.org

Karen Savage, Managing Editor, ABSA International

Managing Editor

Karen Savage
karen@absaoffice.org

Lena Razin, Accountant, ABSA International

Accountant

Lena Razin
lena@absaoffice.org

KariAnn DeServi, MEd, Director of Education, ABSA International

Director of Education

KariAnn DeServi, MEd
kariann@absaoffice.org

Michelle Gehrke, Credentialing Administrator, ABSA International

Credentialing Administrator

Michelle Gehrke
michelle@absaoffice.org

Brenda Rivera-Alcozer, Member Services, ABSA International

Member Services

Brenda Rivera-Alcozer
brenda@absaoffice.org