Presentation Descriptions


SUNDAY, June 11, 2023
Behind the Scenes at the Zoo
9:00 – 11:00 – Presentations by Curators at the Zoo
11:00 – 12:00 – Picnic Lunch
12:00 – 3:00 – Small Group Behind the Scene Tours
MONDAY, June 12, 2023
8:00 – 12:00         Developing Occupational Health Programs
Marcia Isakari, MD, MPH, University of California – San Diego
Philip Harber, MD, MPH, University of Arizona
Amy Behrman, MD, University of Pennsylvania

Institutions of all sizes need a robust occupational health program to prevent biologic exposures, treat their consequences and to meet the inspection requirements of regulatory and certifying agencies. This class will begin by providing an overview of the regulations, workplace hazards, and hazard control practices that need to be considered in program design. Three specific protective programs will then be presented and discussed in small group sessions – respiratory protection, post-exposure management using viral vectors as an example, and surveillance for animal allergies. Differences in approaches for smaller colleges, large research universities, healthcare systems and freestanding/corporate research organizations will be explored. The three instructors will share insights gained from years of leading occupational health departments.


1:00 – 5:00        Occupational Health and Safety in Animal Programs
Helen E. Diggs, MEd, DVM, DACLAM, AAALAC International
During AAALAC site visits of animal facilities and programs, deficiencies are frequently found involving occupational health and safety. Prevent this from happening at your institution! This workshop will combine an AAALAC site visitor’s perspective with a facility director’s experiences. Dr. Diggs will present AAALAC International’s expectations for Occupational Health and Safety Programs, and will follow-up with a “recipe for success” for implementing these expectations in an animal program. Best practices based on the “Eighth Edition of the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals” will be explored.
TUESDAY, June 13, 2023

8:00 Welcome

8:15 Opening Speaker: Biosafety Readiness for the Next Disease Emergency
Gigi Kwik Gronvall, PhD, Johns Hopkins University

For governments, institutions and enterprises, pandemic preparation was at best addressed by producing manuals and perhaps engaging in tabletop exercises. The outbreak of COVID-19 and its subsequent variants quickly and globally changed that. Through the massive upheaval of normal routines, we certainly learned that just as operational changes occurred, our biosafety and biosecurity policies and procedures need review before we encounter another pandemic. Focusing on the role of occupational health in biosafety, this presentation will examine what government institutions should do differently and what responsibilities fall upon academic and other non-government institutions to help us be best prepared for the next pandemic.

9:15 Break

9:30 Mpox-2022, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern
Stuart Issacs, MD, University of Pennsylvania

Fast on the heels of COVID-19, there was an unprecedented global outbreak of monkeypox (mpox), which began a new public health emergency. Historically a rare disease limited mostly to central and west Africa, research institutions and health agencies were once again pressed to quickly provide therapeutics and vaccines. This presentation will review those and the occupational exposure risks that are involved in working with monkeypox.

10:45 Break

11:00 Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza: Characteristics and Occupational Health Concerns
Victoria Hall, DVM, DACVPM, University of Minnesota

North America has been challenged with an ongoing outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) since early 2022 in wild and domestic birds across the continent and globe. This outbreak has extremely different characteristics than any previous outbreak and is proving to be much more long lasting as well. With a substantial amount of virus noted in wild birds, it is being maintained along migratory pathways and continues to spill over into species where high mortality is noted, including poultry and wild raptors. This hour will look at the unprecedented aspects of this outbreak that is presenting unique occupational health concerns, especially to those who work with wild bird populations.

12:15 Lunch

1:15 Novel Genetic Technologies 
Dawn Wooley, PhD, Wright State
Gary Fujimoto, MD, Occupational Health Consultant

Gain knowledge about cutting-edge molecular tools used in research and clinical trials, including viral vectors, replicon systems, oncolytic virotherapies, genome editing technologies, CAR T-cell immunotherapies, and ground-breaking vaccine technologies. There will be a focus on approved therapies currently hitting the market. Learn about how these systems work in order to understand the risks associated with these new technologies. The presentation will cover new recommendations for post-exposure prophylaxis following retroviral or lentiviral vector exposures. There will also be a discussion regarding the clinical trials that demonstrated some of the potential hazards associated with retroviral vectors as well as some of the FDA approved therapies using these vector systems.

2:45 Break

3:00 Considerations for IBC Review of Clinical Trials Involving Gene Based Pharmaceuticals
Daniel Eisenman, PhD, RBP, SM(NRCM), CBSP, Advarra

Clinical trials involving recombinant or synthetic nucleic acid molecules are a booming area of growth. NIH Guidelines were revised in 2019 to streamline review of such research, including the deletion of Appendix M dealing specifically with clinical trials. This presentation will focus on IBC requirements and best practices for review of clinical trials involving genetic vaccines, gene modified cellular therapies and gene therapies.

3:45 Immunocompromised Workers Case Studies
Facilitator: Michelle Gochnour, MN, RN, COHN-S, Seattle Children’s Hospital

More and more of our workforce is either temporarily immunosuppressed from cancer treatments, monoclonal antibody treatments, etc., or are permanently immunocompromised due to long term medications and/or underlying health conditions. What are some of the major considerations when screening our research workforce for ability to take preventative vaccinations or post-exposure medications, or for fitness for duty when working with pathogenic agents or animals that might transmit zoonotic illness and have a more profound impact on these workers. How do we best maintain privacy while ensuring safety and/or when we must restrict work?

5:00 Conclusion



WEDNESDAY, June 14, 2023

8:00 Creating an Occupational Health and Infection Control Tool for Captive Wildlife Facilities
Victoria Hall, DVM, DACVPM, University of Minnesota

Captive wild animal facility workers are exposed to an incredible amount of potential occupational health concerns when engaging with a variety of different species. Depending on facility size and resources, awareness of risk and ability to mitigate risk can vary substantially. The Minnesota Department of Health and the University of Minnesota Raptor Center have created and piloted a unique tool to get at the heart of zoonotic disease risk in facilities ranging from small, in-home wildlife operations, to major accredited zoological facilities. This tool pairs occupational health with biosecurity and infection control, to use motivation to increase care of animals occupational health risk mitigation activities.

9:00 Break

9:10 Prevention of Laboratory Animal Allergy
Gregg Stave, MD, JD, MPH, Occupational Medicine Specialist

Allergies are always an area of concern in animal research facilities. Allergic reactions remain a significant and inadequately addressed occupational health hazard for workers involved in the care and use of research animals. This presentation will review the causes of symptoms and how we can better protect workers by preventing respiratory allergy and anaphylaxis.

9:45 Workshop: Best Practices for Prevention of Laboratory Animal Allergy
Gregg Stave, MD, JD, MPH, and Planning Committee

This workshop will review best practices for controls and medical
surveillance. Participants will discuss: how to promote awareness and increase use of appropriate control measures (engineering, administrative, work practice, and personal protective equipment); how to improve medical surveillance, including development and distribution of a best practice medical surveillance questionnaire; and an audit system that will assist organizations in evaluating their use of best practices.

11:20 Break

11:30 Sharps Safety Case Studies
Facilitator: Michelle Gochnour, MN, RN, COHN-S, Seattle Children’s Hospital

This session will focus on sharps hazards that exist in research (laboratory, clinical, field, animal, etc.) and some methods to mitigate risk of injury and possible exposures. Using group exercises and case studies to identify basic training needs, ideas demonstration of proficiency, changes to consider in techniques and/or safer alternatives

12:15 Lunch

1:15 Herpes B Virus Update
Julia Hilliard, PhD, Georgia State University

Dr. Hilliard, one of the world’s foremost experts on the herpes B virus in primates, will provide an update on B Virus. After the presentation, speakers and attendees together will examine the risks and occupational health implications of research with nonhuman primates.

3:00 Break

3:15 Vaccine Update
Warner Hudson, MD, FACOEM, FAAFP

This presentation will keep you up-to-date with current and upcoming vaccine recommendations. Short presentations and panel discussions will include a new Ebola Sudan vaccine, a Marburg vaccine showing promise in humans, a Coccidiosis vaccine working in dogs, a new Malaria vaccine, a Dengue vaccine, a new TB vaccine showing promise, and more.

3:45 Topics Selected by Participants
Discussion Facilitated by Planning Committee

4:30 Conclusion