February 2021
American Industrial Hygiene Association
St. Louis Local Section
Monthly Newsletter

Monthly publication of the St. Louis Local Section to keep members up to date on events and environmental health & safety topics.  
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President's Corner

From Matt Orr, President 
I hope everyone has gotten a good start to the new year.  It seems like most of us have been able to adapt to a more restricted lifestyle with a lot more virtual meetings and keeping in touch with colleagues virtually.  Our section has continued to move forward trying to keep members connected and provide useful and informative meeting topics.  

The COVID way of life is continually evolving and will continue to do so with the introduction of vaccines.  For our meeting this month we will have Dr. Garza presenting “The Short History of the Pandemic Task Force, and the Current State of Vaccine”.  I feel the timing of this presentation fits perfect in our current situation.  I think this will be a very informative presentation and a great opportunity to ask questions to Dr Garza that we would not otherwise have.

As we continue through this year please let us know if there is any specific topic or speaker you would like us to work on.  

This years PDC has been pushed back later in the year to November.  Hopefully this will allow us to have fewer restrictions as we progress through this pandemic.  At the present time it seems that members are getting burned out with all the virtual development and would like something more in person.  The plan would be to have a virtual option as well for those who would prefer that format.

I look forward to a new start to this year and hope to hear from or see all of you in the near future.

Online Meeting Registration Click HERE
February Webinar
“The Short History of the Pandemic Task Force, and the Current State of Vaccine”.

Register HERE:  Link 

Speaker:  Alexander Garza, MD, MPH Updated 05January2021

Chief Community Health Officer

SSM Health

As Chief Community Health Officer for SSM Health, Dr. Garza’s work is “upstream” from the delivery of healthcare, focusing on the social determinants of health, equity and social justice. In this position, Dr. Garza works with local, regional and national organizations advocating to improve the lives of the community, leading to healthier outcomes overall. He is also currently serving as the Task Force Commander for the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force. The Task Force is comprised of the major healthcare providers in the St. Louis Metropolitan area that joined together to combat COVID-19.

Prior to these positions, Dr. Garza served as the Chief Medical Officer for SSM Health. In this position, Dr. Garza oversaw the delivery of quality medical care across the entire SSM Health system including ambulatory, acute, and post-acute care. During his tenure as CMO, he built the safety and quality system, a system wide regulatory and infection prevention team, and established the advanced analytics team for SSM. Dr. Garza has also served as the Chief Quality Officer for SSM, and as the Chief Medical Officer for the St. Louis Regional of SSM.

Dr. Garza joined SSM Health in September 2016 from St. Louis University where he was associate dean for public health practice, and associate professor of epidemiology at the College for Public Health and Social Justice as well as associate professor in Emergency Medicine at the School of Medicine.

Prior to moving back home to St. Louis, Dr. Garza was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the US Senate as the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where he served from 2009 – 2013. In this position Dr. Garza was the medical authority for DHS and chief medical advisor to the Secretary of DHS as well as FEMA. Dr. Garza led the health and security efforts for DHS, including the health aspects of terrorism and natural disasters including the H1N1 Pandemic, the Haitian Earthquake and Fukishima Nuclear Disaster.

Dr. Garza began his career in health as an EMT in 1986 and has worked at every level of providing care and leadership in emergency medicine and healthcare. He has worked as a paramedic and flight medic and is a board-certified emergency physician. Dr. Garza previously served as the Medical Director for Emergency Medical Services for the City of Kansas City, Missouri Health Department and the State of New Mexico. He is a Colonel in the US Army Reserves with over 20 years of service, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He has researched, written and lectured extensively on issues involving EMS, health, security, preparedness and the impact of Social Determinants of Health on disasters. Dr. Garza has received numerous awards for his military service and civilian career including the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge. He was awarded the Young Investigator Award by the American Heart Association for his research on cardiac arrest.

He and his wife Melissa enjoy spending time with their three boys doing swimming and baseball.


Chapter Membership Dues ($20): Don't forget if you do not automatically pay your chapter dues with your national membership, please get your dues into:  

St. Louis AIHA
1200 Lake Saint Louis Blvd. Suite 224

Lake Saint Louis MO 63367

Attn: Richard Shoaf, Treasurer 
AIHA Professional Development By Attending Lunchons

Did you know you receive a certificate of attendance during our lunch conferences for use in your own Continued Education documentation?  Another added value of membership.  

Recent events


Current Job Postings

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Meet IH professionals in various stages of their careers! Follow "the pathway to progress" in AIHA's new IH Professional Pathways. For more information, visit or follow the conversation on social media at #IHProPath
Executive Board
Matt Orr, CIH, CSP
(314) 326-1397
Eric Olson
Western Group
Treasurer & Communications Director
Richard Shoaf, JD, CFI
Safety Training & Consultations International
(636) 625-8083
Past President
Donn Cahill, CSP, CIH
Bayer - Crop Science
Mike Kester
Chris Merli, CSP, CIH
Outreach Director
Rachel Phillips
(314) 349-9206
President Elect
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