The critical role that IAQ performance standards provide in support of health care facilities will be examined at the IAQ 2004 conference sponsored byASHRAE and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering(ASHE). The conference, IAQ 2004 Critical Operations: Supporting the Healing Environment Through IAQ Performance Standards, will be held March 15-17, 2004, at the Tampa Convention Center, in Tampa.

Healthy indoor air is critical in providing a safe and beneficial environment for patients, health care workers and visitors to health care facilities. Providing acceptable indoor air poses unique challenges because of the diversity of functions carried out in hospitals, the sources of potential contamination, and the presence of immuno-suppressed and other highly susceptible populations, according to John F. McCarthy, conference chair.

Existing IAQ standards can provide an effective way of improving the indoor environment for the health care sector. Innovations in medical technologies and development of advanced diagnostic, surgical and therapeutic services have put an additional burden on engineers, scientists and health care administrators to continuously improve environmental performance standards.

The conference will allow key decision makers and implementers of health care design and operation to discuss how standards should evolve so they provide the optimum environment for patients, workers and visitors.

"This is an exciting opportunity to open the research of health scientists and building scientists to each other in order to make a true difference to the healing process for individuals in health care facilities through improving application and development of IAQ performance standards," McCarthy said.

The conference will feature scientific papers, workshops and tutorials. Abstracts are invited in the following categories:

  • Evaluating ventilation requirements and expectations in hospitals;
  • Documenting the effectiveness of prevention and remediation strategies for improving indoor environments and occupant health;
  • Assessing chemical and biological air pollution in hospitals;
  • Evaluating the technical aspects and compliance of ventilation in hospitals, and strategies for indoor air quality management;
  • Evaluating the impact and control of chemical and biological terrorism on hospital operations.

The deadline for abstracts is May 1, 2003. Abstracts, containing titles and 200-300 word summaries, should be submitted via, locating ASHRAE Manuscript Central in the shortcuts. Authors should select "topical conferences."