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2023 ChABSA Pre-Symposium Workshops


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Course Title:  Strategies for Designing and Implementing a Culture of Safety

Instructor:      Meghan Seltzer // MITRE Corporation                                                     

Course Length:  8 hours

Course Time:  8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Date:  June 6, 2023

Cost:  See below


As biosafety professionals, we all desire to foster a culture of safety and responsible conduct at our institutions. We often have a clear vision of how this culture should look and feel, but how do you move from the current organizational culture to one you desire? In this course, we will define organizational culture; understand how culture forms; and identify artifacts, espoused values, and shared beliefs that can be used to describe an organization’s culture. Participants will use these definitions to identify attributes of their own organization’s culture that support or block a culture of safety and responsibility. Unfortunately, most change efforts in organizations fail. Changing existing culture is difficult and can take many years. However, several change management models can be employed to develop a roadmap for effecting change. Participants in this class will learn the Lewin and Kotter change management models and how they can be applied.

  • Understand what organizational culture is, how to identify and define it, and how it forms
  • Identify attributes of an organization’s culture that block or enable safety programs
  • Apply change management models such as Lewin and Kotter models to effect organizational change


Instructor: Meghan Seltzer, PhD, RBP


Dr. Meghan Seltzer is a Lead Technical Assessor with The MITRE Corporation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Pennsylvania State University, a doctorate in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and a master’s degree in Management, Strategy, and Leadership from Michigan State University. Meghan is a Registered Biosafety Professional and began her biosafety career as a fellow in the National Biosafety and Biocontainment Training Program. After completing her fellowship, she worked at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus as a manager in the Safety, Health, and Security department. During her tenure at HHMI, she was responsible for biosafety and occupational health programs as well as various research compliance efforts including IACUC, CLIA, dangerous goods shipping, import/export compliance, IRB, and IBC. Meghan is active in ABSA and ChABSA where she has served on numerous committees and council for both organizations.


Course Title: Case Studies in Biocontainment Emergencies

Instructor:      David Harbourt // FDA


Course Length:  4 hours

Course Time:  8:00 AM  - 12:00 pm 

Date:  June 6, 2023


It is important that biosafety professionals understand how to respond to emergency response situations that could affect operations in containment laboratories. Emergency situations can affect a wide range of facility operations (electrical failures, plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), etc.) and often occur with little or no warning to the biosafety professionals, scientific staff or support staff. Biosafety professionals need to be able to thoroughly understand how their facility and personnel function during normal operations to aid in preparation for significant events. In addition to understanding their facility and personnel, it is also vital for biosafety professionals to know who the key decision makers are in their facility for situations that could potentially result in short term and/or long term disruptions to operations. By understanding how their facility is intended to function, who the key decision makers are and the critical information that is needed for the key decision makers during emergency scenarios, biosafety professionals can help ensure that they are prepared when situations arise in the future.

This course is intended to cover some basic information of emergency response situations along with the key features of a containment laboratory that may be affected during an emergency situation. This course will go over the key aspects of an HVAC, building electrical design, and plumbing systems.   This will not be an engineering course; it is intended to be a brief overview so biosafety professionals understand the right questions to ask during emergency situations.

The course will be separated into five sections, basics of emergency response, HVAC, plumbing, electrical failures, and potential occupational exposures. Each section will cover the critical information that biosafety professionals must understand in each area followed by a series of case studies based on real world emergency response situations in biocontainment laboratories.

Instructor: David Harbourt, PhD, RBP, CBSP, SM(NRCM)


Dr. David Harbourt is a safety professional with 12 years of experience in biosafety, safety, and industrial hygiene both inside the Federal Government and as a consultant for laboratories around the world through his work with Sandia National Laboratories. Dr. Harbourt previously worked as a fellow and then as a contractor at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that provided him with a rare opportunity to receive rigorous professional training in biosafety, industrial hygiene, and biocontainment at a variety of centers both within and outside the NIH. This learning environment and comprehensive program included academic training, experiential learning, mentorship, laboratory research, management training, developmental assignments, and applied occupational safety and health research opportunities.


As the Biosafety Officer and Biosafety Division Chief at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Dr. Harbourt oversaw the biosafety program with over 250 individuals entering BSL-3 and BSL-4 containment. He served as the primary biosafety point of contact for training program development related to field projects on Ebola, Zika and SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks. He completed Biosafety Twinning Projects with International Biosafety Professionals based in Mali and Tunisia across 3 site visits in Malaysia, Morocco, and Tanzania. Dr. Harbourt designed and developed a new custom BSL-4 positive pressure encapsulating suit as well as a custom scrub jacket for BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs. Manuscripts in the fields of virology, bacteriology, wastewater treatment and inactivation were authored by Dr. Harbourt. He assisted with risk assessment developments for over 900 SOPs at the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.



 Course Title:  A Practical Guide to Effluent Decontamination System (EDS) Selection, Maintenance and Operations

 Instructor:      David Harbourt // FDA

 Course Length:  4 hours

 Course Time:  1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

 Date:  June 6, 2023


It is important that biosafety professionals understand and be involved in the selection, maintenance, and operation of their institute’s effluent decontamination system. There are many different types and sizes of effluent decontamination systems ranging from small under the counter sink units to large thermal systems capable of treating more than 100,000 gallons per day. The first major topic covered in this course is whether a facility requires an EDS for operations. This need can be based on either regulatory or institutional requirements and once that decision is made, this course will discuss how an institute’s research profile can tailor the EDS selection process to find the best system fit. Types of systems covered in this course will include chemical and thermal with both types available in either batch-based design or continuous flow with the pros and cons of each group. Following

selection of the type of effluent decontamination system, this course will then cover aspects of system design and installation that can affect safety and operations within a laboratory facility.

Another key topic discussed in this course involves maintenance of the EDS. Maintenance requirements can vary widely between the type of EDS and is handled by either in-house staff or

external contractors. Benefits and downsides to each approach will be described along with potential effects on laboratory operations in the event of a disruption in operations. Finally, this course will go over a series of case studies related to EDS operational issues in a real world setting. While there are certain aspects of this course that will involve engineering discussions, this course is intended to be an overview so biosafety professionals understand the right questions to ask during the selection, design, installation, maintenance and operations of an effluent decontamination system.




  Early Brid
Ends 5/21/23
Ends 6/2/23
After 6/2/23
Workshop 8 hour ($50 discount members/affiliates) $350.00 $400.00 $400.00
Workshop 4 hour ($25 discount members/affiliates) $200.00 $250.00 $250.00
Workshop two 4-hour ($50 discount members/affiliates) $350.00 $400.00 $400.00
Student Workshop 8 hour $50.00 $50.00 $150.00
Student Workshop 4 hour $50.00 $50.00 $150.00
Student Workshop two 4-hour $50.00 $50.00 $150.00