Taking Professional Development Online

We know that scheduling conflicts and budgets can make it difficult to attend off-site conferences and seminars like AIHce. That shouldn’t mean that you miss out on the valuable education and inspiring keynotes available at AIHce every year.

The AIHce 2018 Virtual EXP will give you the high-quality education you’re looking for from the comfort of your home or office.

We spoke with Jessica Pagel, the Assistant Director of Education at AIHA. She has been with AIHA for close to a decade and currently oversees the eLearning program, which includes designing the award-winning Virtual AIHce EXP every year.

AIHA: What are the top benefits of attending the virtual conference versus attending in person?

Pagel: No one will dispute that attending AIHce EXP in person is an awesome experience, but not everyone is fortunate enough to come. Some have budget restrictions, others face travel issues, and some others have so much going on at work or at home they can’t take the time away. We’re glad that Virtual AIHce EXP can extend the experience to everyone!

One of the favorites of our virtual participants is the chat. Each session has a chat going on where people can ask questions of each other or of the presenter, connect with everyone else online, and share experiences.

One participant said “Chat conversations are very helpful, sort of like subtitles to the main event. it offers a unique opportunity because it is not something that you do “in person” unless there are twitter feeds or blogs going on… you are virtual, but you are part of the virtual community and can dialogue on the topic without disrupting the presentation.”

Another huge benefit is the opportunity to make this a group education experience. The best way to think of it is that one registration is one connection/login to the virtual conference. If you can gather a group together to participate in the same room, there are no additional fees, and everyone can earn credit. It’s really cost effective and a great opportunity to have a conversation with your colleagues around the sessions, lessons learned, and how you can use what you learned to make an impact at your organization.

AIHA: How has the virtual offering expanded/changed over the past couple of years?

Pagel: AIHce EXP 2018 will be the sixth Virtual AIHce EXP, and we are really proud of how the program has evolved. Each year, we review the feedback from attendees and take on 1 or 2 initiatives based on that feedback. I am super excited that this year we’ve finally expanded the programming! We’ll offer three simultaneous education sessions. We also have expanded PDC offerings—including the late addition of Applying Industrial Hygiene to Environmental Infection Control in Healthcare Settings, and we’ll be building on the success of last year’s Spotlight Interviews.

Everything we’ve done has been in response to suggestions and requests we get from our virtual attendees. Another fun thing about being in our sixth year is that the virtual audience has grown into its own special community. We start seeing the same people attending year after year and love building relationships with them.

AIHA: How were the sessions for AIHce 2018 selected? Are any of them brand new offerings?

"If you can gather a group together to participate in the same room, there are no additional fees, and everyone can earn credit.

"It’s really cost effective and a great opportunity to have a conversation with your colleagues around the sessions, lessons learned, and how you can use what you learned to make an impact at your organization."

~Jessica Pagel, AIHA's Assistant Director of Education

Pagel: Choosing the sessions is one of the most difficult parts of planning the virtual part of the conference! There are so many great education sessions to choose from. This year we’ve made a concerted effort to include a scientific research session, a career development session, and a practical applications or case study session in each time slot. We hope this brings a well-rounded experience to our participants.

What are the technical requirements?

Pagel: All you need to participate is a laptop (or tablet) and an Internet connection. The platform is very user friendly and does allow for interaction between participants.

So, there you have it! If you’re unable to come to Philadelphia this year, we’ll see you around on Virtual AIHce EXP.

Before you hit register, you’re probably wondering about credit (we know how important credit is to our participants and maintaining their certifications!). Virtual participants will earn credit for participating in this year's virtual conference. As the schedule currently stands, it’s up to 18 hours for virtual live participation, and since AIHce On Demand recordings are included with your full virtual registration, there’s opportunity for many more hours with recording activity.


Berrak Sarikaya is a content strategist and brand amplifier based in Seattle, Washington.


AIHce EXP 2018, held in Philadelphia, PA May 21-23, is the EXPerience of the year for IH and OEHS professionals across the country. You’ll be exposed to the latest trends, needs, and research impacting worker health with experiential education sessions, networking opportunities with like-minded professionals, and the tools you need to solve your workplace challenges. This highly-rated event also offers a robust virtual experience for those that want to reap the benefits of conference without the travel. Register today.