• Continuing Education

  • Highlights from the 2010 American Occupational Health Conference (AOHC 2010)

    Nearly 1,000 occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) professionals attended the 2010 American Occupational Health Conference (AOHC®), ACOEM’s 95th annual meeting, held May 2-5, in Orlando, Fla. Participants came from across the globe – Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Cyprus, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Ireland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom – to join their U.S. colleagues for a memorable meeting.

    The entire conference was housed at Rosen Shingle Creek on 230 acres at the headwaters of the Everglades, only minutes from the airport and Orlando attractions. This ideal location allowed attendees to enjoy easy access to all activities – work and play! Home to a championship golf course and nature trails through magnificent stands of cypress trees, Shingle Creek is also highly ranked in Florida’s “Green Lodging” program, utilizing environmentally friendly methods to manage waste, energy use, water conservation, and apply clean air practices. If you didn’t attend this year’s meeting, keep in mind that AOHC will return to Rosen Shingle Creek in 2013 and you can be part of the experience then!

    New this year was “Twitter” just for AOHC. By joining the Twitter community, staying in touch and getting the latest on AOHC activities couldn’t have been easier! As an AOHC Twitterer, you were just a tweet away from instant updates to conference happenings. Due to the success of this year’s twittering, we have already added it to our list of “must haves” for AOHC 2011!

    And, if you joined us in Orlando, you may have noticed the “orange” tree near the registration area. This was our way of gathering feedback from attendees who jotted down comments on the appropriately shaped notes and added them to our “tree” – we’ve shared many of these “oranges” with you throughout this conference recap!

     One very fortunate AOHC participant was the recipient of the “ACOEM Executive Package.” By reserving a room at Rosen Shingle Creek in the AOHC block by the appointed deadline, conference registrants were entered into a drawing to receive a room upgrade to a one-bedroom suite that included VIP status and a $100 Shingle Creek gift card! Although we can’t divulge the name of the winner, we know they were thrilled when notified just prior to conference since they had planned the trip as a family vacation and this perk came just in time to make their stay an even better one! Another lucky member physician from the Southeastern Atlantic component was recently notified and presented the Apple i-Pad for successfully completing the on-line session evaluation process! 

    AOHC 2010 consisted of pre-conference courses (April 30-May 1), the Opening Session/Sappington Lecture, Annual Membership Meeting, meetings of both the House of Delegates and Board of Directors, and sessions organized into five “tracks” – OEM Clinical Practice; Management and Administration in OEM; OEM Education and Scientific Research; Environmental Health and Risk Management; and Regulatory, Legal, Military, and Governmental OEM Practice. The meeting was rounded out with meal discussions, worksite visits, exhibits, poster presentations, receptions, and social events! The Opening Session on Sunday, May 2, was the official “kick off” for this year’s conference.


    This year’s conference received rave reviews, due in no small part to the hard work of the members of the AOHC Planning Committee who did an outstanding job! Thanks to the Chair, Dr. Robert Bourgeois, who was assisted by Track Chairs, Drs. James McCluskey, Education and Scientific Research; John Piacentino, Environmental Health and Risk Management; Harold Haase, Management and Administration in OEM; Tony Alleman, OEM Clinical Practice; and Phyllis Gerber, Regulatory, Legal, Military, and Government. Also serving on the Planning Committee were Drs. Michael Hankins, Barbara Toeppen-Sprigg, and Michael Webb. Advisory members to this committee included Drs. Anthony Burton, Natalie Hartenbaum, Pamela Hymel, Warner Hudson, Patrick Laraby, and Mark Roberts


    AOHC presented attendees with numerous educational opportunities including 8 pre-conference courses, 20 meal sessions, more than 40 educational sessions, and 4 worksite visits (SeaWorld, Rosen Shingle Creek, Explore Digital Media, and the Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve). Course offerings provided a variety of choices for everyone – HPM Clinic, MRO Comprehensive, Basic Curriculum, Board Review, and AMA Guides 6th Edition (offered in two parts for the first time). New offerings were Can This Person Go to Work Today or Ever?; OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping; and, with a resurgence of our collaboration with CAOHC, the Professional Supervisor Workshop. 

    As ACOEM will soon celebrate its 100th anniversary, the History of OEM: An ACOEM Exploratory Session facilitated by past presidents, Drs. Tee Guidotti and Robert Orford, was added to the AOHC schedule. Attendees interested in understanding, researching, and preserving the history of ACOEM and OEM had a unique opportunity to discuss the chronology of OEM as a medical specialty and the creation and evolution of ACOEM and its predecessor organizations. The formation of a new special interest section to further study the historical aspects is in the works.

    Keep on “Going green!” Conference handouts were again made available to participants on line prior to AOHC through the ACOEM web site, while a complimentary CD-Rom of the handouts was also provided to attendees in their registration packet. 


    In addition to the educational opportunities and Twitter, AOHC 2010 offered attendees frequent chances to network. A Sunday morning informal New Member Orientation was attended by 70 new members who learned how to become more active in the College. Attendees were able to network with current members who were designated representatives of particular areas of interest, such as components, sections, membership, and Fellowship. All who attended enjoyed the camaraderie. 

    The President’s Reception, Past Presidents’ Dinner, a New Fellows Luncheon, the Exhibit Opening Reception, numerous committee, council, and section meetings, and other get-togethers, provided plenty of opportunity to spend quality time with colleagues and to forge new friendships. 

    The President’s Reception for Fellows and Honored Guests was held Saturday, May 1. During this event, Wayne Burton, MD; Ron Loeppke, MD; Gary Earl, Senior Vice President of Cigna; and Helen Darling, President of the National Business Group on Health, were recognized with the 2010 President’s Awards. The President’s Award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the career of ACOEM’s president and to the leadership success of ACOEM. 

    Everglades Evening, Sunday’s Exhibit Opening Reception featured 50 exhibitors and nearly 50 poster presentations. Attendees dined on conch fritters and gator tempura, followed by tropical desserts, in an exhibit hall bathed in rustic bare-bulb string lighting, surrounded by lush vignettes of moss-filled ficus trees, saw grass, cattails, and swamp foliage. The Exhibit Hall was open all day Monday and included a complimentary lunch for attendees – new this year! Tuesday morning and afternoon timeslots also provided additional hours to peruse the exhibits. 

    Dr. Donald Bruce, Past President of the U.K.’s Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM), gave the address at the Past President’s Dinner. Nineteen ACOEM past presidents, along with their guests, were in attendance. Hilary A. Todd, Chief Executive of SOM, was also an honored guest.

    Social program highlights included an offsite evening at Discovery Cove on Monday, May 3. Participants entered a world all its own – an exclusive island oasis filled with exotic animals (a two-toed sloth made a special appearance!), tropical birds, friendly dolphins, rocky lagoons, coral reefs, waterfalls, and white sandy beaches. All this and dinner at the beach!

    The AOHC Registration area and ACOEM Booth are always a hub of activity! Efficient registration greeted this year’s attendees along with the popular annual treat – Tootsie Pops. A sampling of other giveaways included suntan lotion packets (gotta watch that Florida sun!), pedometers (it was a walk around that complex!), luggage tags (always important when travelling!), and the sought after reusable carrying bags (for all that stuff!)!

    Our booth offered a wealth of information that attracted many registrants to stop and gather materials for future reference and enjoy the special feature of its bookstore again! Here, attendees could browse through many medical books, offered at special AOHC participant pricing to either take with or have shipped to them post conference at no charge. Interest and pre-orders for ACOEM’s new 3rd edition of Occupational Medicine Practice Guidelineswere also on the rise! New for purchase this year were ACOEM polo shirts, key chains, canteens, and spiral journal entry books. Individuals who turned in their “orange” ball (packed with select book orders shipped prior to conference), were the proud recipients of a mini flashlight!

    The new ACOEM Code of Ethics, approved by the Board in April, made its debut at this year’s conference – copies were available to all at the booth. The Code is accessible in a long and short (suitable for framing) format – consider displaying it in your office or place of business! 


    ACOEM President, Pamela Hymel, MD, welcomed AOHC participants to the Sunday morning Opening Session and introduced Dr. Michael MacDonald, who as Component President of the Florida Association of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, welcomed attendees to his state. The morning’s highlights included the presentation of ACOEM’s annual awards and the keynote C.O. Sappington Memorial Lecture which serves as a forum from which to address major issues in the field of OEM.

    Award Presentations  

    William S. Knudsen Award – Edward Emmett, MD, MS. The highest honor in OEM, this award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field. Dr. Emmett, Professor and Director, Academic Programs in Occupational Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, was cited for his significant contributions to research and leadership in OEM, specifically his work in obtaining accreditation for the off-campus Practicum Residency Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and his authorship of more than 140 original papers, which have increased the visibility and viability of the specialty. He was also recognized for his service on committees and boards such as the Joint ILO/WHO Committee on Occupational Health, the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Occupational Health, the ACOEM Board of Directors, and the Board of Trustees of the Occupational Medicine Scholarship Fund.

    Meritorious Service Award – Wayne Burton, MD. This award recognizes an ACOEM member who has provided laudable service to the College. It was presented to Dr. Burton for his leadership and tireless work to expand the visibility of ACOEM and OEM through his research on the economics of mental health and productivity in the field. He was also cited for his long-term laudatory service to the College as a member of the ACOEM Board of Directors, the Health and Productivity Committee and Section, as well as his research, much of it published in JOEM, which has contributed greatly to the body of knowledge on how health impacts workplace disability and productivity.

    Health Achievement in Occupational Medicine Award – Garson Caruso, MD, MPH; and Thomas L. “Larry” Myette, MD, MPH. This award is presented to an ACOEM member for a specific or unique achievement in OEM. This year, Drs. Caruso and Myette were jointly recognized for their work as co-directors of the ACOEM Depression in the Workplace Project, a co-operative venture of ACOEM’s Occupational Mental Health Committee and Health and Productivity Section, which resulted in a special 15-paper supplement to JOEM that was published in April 2008. As editors of this special issue, Drs. Myette and Caruso presented an update on workplace depression, highlighting the need for an integrated evidence-based approach to managing this common, chronic, and often recurrent disorder. Dr. Caruso is Medical Director, Lakeview Occupational and Industrial Clinic, Sebring, Fla.; Dr. Myette is Occupational Physician, University of British Columbia, Victoria, Canada.

    Robert A. Kehoe Award of Merit – Jacqueline Moline, MSc, MD. This award is presented to an individual who has shown distinction in and made significant contributions to OEM. Dr. Moline received the award for her renowned and respected research into the effects of heavy metal toxicity. As Director of Mount Sinai’s Clinical Center of Excellence within the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, Dr. Moline’s research led to the detection of multiple myeloma in a small but significant number of World Trade Center responders. Dr. Moline accepted the award during the Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday. 

    Adolph G. Kammer Merit in Authorship Award – This award recognizes an outstanding article published in JOEM. This year’s recipients were Edward Emmett MD, Hong Zhang, MD, Frances S. Shofer, PhD, Nancy Rodway, MD, Chintan Desai, BSE, David Freeman, MS, and Mary Hufford, PhD, for their article, “Development and Successful Application of a ‘Community-First’ Communication Model for Community-based Environmental Health Research,” which appeared in the February 2009 issue. Their award-winning article explored communicating results from a community exposure study to meet predetermined community priorities, maintaining ethical principles of autonomy, empowerment and justice. Drs. Emmett and Rodway were able to attend in person to accept the award. 

    Global Leadership in Corporate Health Award – Wayne N. Burton, MD. This was the inaugural presentation of this award, co-sponsored by ACOEM and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), to honor individuals who demonstrate excellence in leadership in implementing programs that improve the health and productivity of the workforce. Dr. Burton, currently the Global Corporate Medical Director for American Express Corporation, was the recipient for his many contributions as a leader and researcher within the field of health and productivity management where he is regarded as one of the nation’s most prominent experts, and has authored more than 75 articles related to employee health and productivity in peer-reviewed medical journals. Dr. Hymel and Stacy Hodgins, Director of the Institute on Health, Productivity, and Human Capital at NBGH, jointly presented the award to Dr. Burton.

    Corporate Health Achievement Award (CHAA) – The CHAA, co-sponsored by ACOEM and GlaxoSmithKline, annually recognizes organizations with outstanding employee health and occupational and environmental medicine practices. This year’s recipient was Baptist Health South Florida of Miami, cited for its strong commitment to employee health and safety demonstrated by numerous initiatives, including an innovative program aimed at domestic violence and the Wellness Advantage Program which provides comprehensive services aimed at smoking cessation and hypertension. Dr. Josette Bou-Khalil, Corporate Medical Director, and Karen Sperling, Corporate Administrative Director for their Employee Health Services, accepted the award on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida.

    Exemplary Practice Citation (EPC) – EPC, a counterpart to the CHAA, recognizes smaller employers (100+ employees) with exemplary practices in health, wellness, or safety, and identifies model programs that can be implemented by others. It was bestowed upon URS Corporation of Tooele County, Utah, for its Absence and Disability Management Program, developed under the leadership of Dr. Gary Matravers, who was present at AOHC to accept the EPC award. 


    Resident Research Presentation Awards – These awards are presented annually by ACOEM’s Resident and Recent Graduates Section and the Academic Section to encourage residents and recent program graduates to share their research, clinical techniques, or theory development in OEM. Eight residents – Eric D. Amster, Harvard University; Diane Ballerino-Regan, Duke University; Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, University of Miami; Scott Cherry, Uniformed Services University; Gerardo D. Durand, Harvard School of Public Health; Rachel C. Fisher, University of Washington; Nita Kohli, University of California, Los Angeles; and Erika Schwilk, University of California, San Francisco – were honored for their research which was presented May 3 at Session 2204. 

    C. O. Sappington Memorial Lecture 

    This year’s Sappington Lecture was delivered by Michael Grunwald, senior national correspondent for Time Magazine; author of the widely acclaimed non-fiction book, “The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida and the Politics of Paradise”; and recipient of numerous awards, including the George Polk Award for national reporting, the Worth Bingham Award for investigative reporting, and the Society of Environmental Journalists award for his reporting on the Florida Everglades. Mr. Grunwald was available for a book signing immediately afterwards – let us just say that he was “swamped” by attendees who both thoroughly enjoyed his presentation and purchased the book on the spot! A few copies still remain in stock – visit our Product Catalog to purchase yours.

    In Memory of Elizabeth Genovese, MD – 1957-2010 

    The ACOEM community recently lost a very special member, Elizabeth Genovese, MD, whose professional achievements and contributions to ACOEM were extraordinary. She passed away in mid-April after a long and hard-fought battle with cancer and will always be remembered for her energy and enthusiasm, as well as for her work in the areas of disability evaluation and management. Courageously, through her on-line postings over the past year, she shared her struggle with her colleagues so that physicians might gain a deeper understanding of what it was like to be the patient with a terminal illness. Last year, Dr. Genovese attended AOHC and was the very deserving recipient of the Kehoe Award. A moment of silence was observed this year during the Opening Session and a room was designated during AOHC where her friends were able to gather, share memories, and sign a condolence book that was later presented to her family.  


    Colleagues gathered Tuesday, May 4, for ACOEM’s Annual Luncheon & Membership Meeting which was open to all registrants at no charge. The afternoon’s agenda included a presidential address by Dr. Pam Hymel, the Fellowship Ceremony, a presentation by Dr. Olivia H. Carlton, Society of Occupational Medicine President, a Bylaws Vote, presentation of the ACOEM Outstanding Achievement Award, and installation of ACOEM’s new Board of Directors including an inaugural address by new ACOEM President, Dr. Natalie Hartenbaum, along with recognition of the new House of Delegates’ officers.  

    Elevation of 2010 Class of Fellows This year, 18 members attained Fellowship in ACOEM, the highest class of membership within the College: 

     Jaspal S. Arora, MD, MPH, FACOEM
    Brian J. Caveney, MD, JD, MPH, FACOEM
    Rupali Das, MD, MPH, FACOEM
    Illy Dominitz, MD, MPH, MBA, FACOEM
    Janet L. Elliot, MD, MPH, FACOEM
    Robin L. Epp, MD, MPH, MBA, FACOEM
    Sachin Kapoor, DO, MPH, MBA, FACOEM
    Roman P. Kownacki, MD, MPH, FACOEM
    Jacqueline M. Moline, MD, MSc, FACOEM
    Paul J. Papanek, MD, MPH, FACOEM
    Richard M. Preece, MB, MBA, FACOEM
    Michael A. Sauri, MD, MPHTM, FACOEM
    Steven R. Smith, MD, MPH, FACOEM
    Penny M. Stern, MD, MPH, FACOEM
    James B. Talmage, MD, FACOEM
    Robert A. Timmons, DO, MPH, FACOEM
    David E. Turner, MD, PhD, MPH, FACOEM
    Dyann A. Waugh, MD, MPH, FACOEM

    Nearly all of the new Fellows were able to attend and be recognized in person for their achievement. Dr. Hymel presented individual medallions as a momento of this honor. Fellowship recognizes board-certified physicians who have demonstrated a strong commitment to the practice of OEM and to expanding, achieving, and mastering the activities and goals of ACOEM. Attaining Fellow status also allows a member to be eligible to serve as an officer or director of the College.

    SOM President Addressed ACOEM Members  A few years ago, officers of ACOEM and the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM), our British counterpart, began a tradition of attending each other’s annual conference. This year, Dr. Olivia H. Carlton, SOM President, continued this meaningful exchange at our Membership Meeting. ACOEM Executive Director Barry Eisenberg and Past President William Greaves, MD, reciprocated this professional bond by attending the SOM Annual Scientific Meeting held earlier this month in Edinburgh, Scotland, helping SOM celebrate its “Diamond Jubilee” year.

    William B. Patterson Memorial Lecture  This lecture honors the memory of Dr. Patterson, a member of the ACOEM Board of Directors, who as chair of the Committee on Ethical Practice in OEM, was spearheading the process of revising ACOEM’s Code of Ethics. This year’s lecture – Maximising the Health and Wellbeing of the Working-age Population – was presented by Professor Dame Carol M. Black, U.K. National Director for Health and Work, internationally known for her groundbreaking review of the health status of Britain’s workers. This annual lecture is endowed by the Patterson Fund. Tax deductible donations can be made payable to the ACOEM/William B. Patterson Fund and mailed to ACOEM Patterson Fund, 25 Northwest Point Blvd., Suite 700, Elk Grove, IL 60007.

    ACOEM Bylaws Vote  Amendments to the ACOEM Bylaws were presented and approved. Specifically, the approved changes related to the composition of the Board of Directors. 

    Outstanding Achievement Award Recipients  This award recognizes the work of committees, councils, sections, and other groups of volunteers within ACOEM. This year’s recipient was ACOEM’s Ethics Committee, recognized for revising ACOEM’s Code of Ethics. The committee includes Co-chairs Laura Welch, MD, and David Drury, MD, and members Gary Greenberg, MD; Tee Guidotti, MD; Bonnie Rogers, DrPH; Michael Silverstein, MD; James Tacci, MD; and Gregory Wagner, MD.

    Passing of the Gavel – New Officers and Directors Installed/New House Officers Recognized – Outgoing President, Pamela A. Hymel, MD, passed the symbolic gavel of office to ACOEM’s new President, Natalie P. Hartenbaum, MD, who was among 8 physicians to take office during AOHC. Dr. Hartenbaum is Chief Medical Officer for OccuMedix, Inc., in Dresher, Pa., and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Hartenbaum also presented Dr. Hymel with a special plaque commemorating her service to ACOEM and its Board of Directors.

    Other officers installed for 1-year terms on the Board of Directors were President-elect, T. Warner Hudson III, MD, and Vice President, Karl Auerbach, MD. Beth A. Baker, MD, was installed for a 2-year term as Secretary/Treasurer. 

    Members installed as Directors for 3-year terms (2010-2013) were William G. Buchta, MD; James P. Seward, MD; Brian C. Svazas, MD; and Charles M. Yarborough III, MD. In addition, retiring board members Drs. Robert Orford and Gary Greenberg were acknowledged and thanked for their many years of service. And, new officers of the ACOEM House of Delegates for 2010-2011 were recognized – their installation took place on May 1. 


    The 88th Session of the House of Delegates was held May 1. Presentations by House officers, Drs. William Buchta, Alan Engelberg, and Dan Janiga were followed with addresses given by ACOEM officers President Pam Hymel, MD, who reviewed the past year’s accomplishments, and Secretary/Treasurer Karl Auerbach, MD, who provided a financial report. Barry Eisenberg, CAE, ACOEM Executive Director, also presented an ACOEM update and Stephen Frangos, MD, Membership Committee Chair, reported on membership activities. In addition, the House Internal Affairs Work Group presented the slate of candidates to run for the Board in the upcoming fall election. Six resolutions were also approved and have been sent to the ACOEM Board of Directors for discussion at their summer meeting.

    During the HOD meeting, Alan Engelberg, MD, formally took office as Speaker of the House, and Dan Janiga, MD, and Melissa Bean, DO, were installed as Speaker-Elect and Recorder, respectively. The culmination of the day was the “Rag Tag” Dinner, an annually anticipated event, held at A Land Remembered, a legendary Orlando steakhouse conveniently located on the hotel property – a good time was had by all! 

    ACOEM’s Board of Directors met twice, as is usual, during AOHC – an all day meeting on Saturday, May 1, and again with its new leadership team at the helm on Tuesday afternoon, May 4. As always, lots to cover – much discussion, many decisions, and a multitude of ideas exchanged! 


    Mark your calendars for AOHC 2011 in our nation’s capitol at the Washington D.C. Grand Hyatt. Next year’s conference will feature a different day-of-week pattern that we hope you will like – the Opening Session will be held Saturday, March 26, and AOHC will conclude on Tuesday afternoon, March 29. Pre-conference courses will take place Thursday-Friday, March 24-25. The hotel room block will open for reservations later this summer and conference registration will open by December 1, 2010.

    Dr. John Piacentino, Senior Scientist for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is Program Chair for AOHC 2011. Educational content planning is underway – session proposals and individual scientific abstracts are already being accepted on line via our streamlined paperless submission process! The deadline to submit proposals for 2011 is August 8, 2010.  


    Photos by Jim Spelios Photographic Services, Orlando, Fla.