2019 NEHA First Timers' Guide & AEC Orientation Tips

General Conference Tips

Collect your badge at the registration desk. Your conference badge should be worn around your neck at every official conference event. Your badge is also your ticket to the Thursday evening social event. Feel free to stop by the NEHA information table, located adjacent to registration, to pick up conference ribbons to decorate your badge and have your questions answered by NEHA staff.

Familiarize yourself with the layout of the Gaylord Opryland Resort when you arrive. It is a large venue and having a general knowledge of where everything is located will save you time later.

Most functions have open seating. When attending meal functions, go outside your comfort zone and choose a table with members you don’t already know - this is a great way to network and make new friends!

Bring an ample supply of business cards. You never know when you'll have the chance to exchange information with an acquaintance or set up a post-conference opportunity.  

Conference App

Be sure to download the NEHA AEC Mobile App for your smartphone before coming to Nashville. If you have any issues downloading or navigating the app, a representative located near the registration area in Nashville will help you when you arrive to pick up materials. The conference app contains the agenda’s helpful information that you will need throughout the conference. NEHA will not have a printed program book.

Pre-conference Courses & Workshops

A variety of pre-conference workshops will be held Sunday, July 7 through Monday, July 8. Unless otherwise noted, these workshops and courses are not included in your regular registration. Please explore the workshop options on NEHA’s website and sign-up when you register.

Educational Sessions

Sessions are organized into discipline-specific tracks. There are multiple tracks running simultaneously during each day of the conference. You may choose to follow one track throughout the conference or select sessions from a variety of tracks. You will not be asked to sign-in or register for specific educational sessions. Simply pick the sessions that interest you and keep track of your agenda using the AEC Conference app.

Each session will include attendees at all levels of environmental health experience. If you are a student or new to the field, please feel free to speak up, ask questions, and learn!

With hundreds of sessions offered at the AEC, you won’t be able to attend them all. We highly recommend that you explore the conference schedule early so that you can make plans to attend the sessions that will be most beneficial for you. NEHA also records a select number of sessions from each track which will be available to all attendees a few months after the conference.

Continuing Education

Conference attendees can earn CE contact hours—potentially enough to meet your full two-year NEHA professional credential education requirement—by attending and participating in educational sessions, keynote address, awards presentations and other activities during the AEC. Individuals who hold a NEHA credential should track their CE credits using the online submission form.

CE hours towards other association or state credentials should be submitted directly to that credentialing organization. If that organization requires a certificate of attendance, they may be requested online. Certificates of attendance are free for NEHA members and $30 for non-members.

More information about tracking and submitting continuing education can be found online.

Exhibition Hall

Please take some time to stop by the exhibit hall and meet NEHA’s vendors, partners, and sponsors! The exhibit hall opens on Tuesday evening immediately following the Opening Session and Keynote Address and will remain open on Wednesday. Please check the AEC conference app for specific times. Wednesday is a great day to visit the Exhibition Hall while the exhibitors have more one-on-one time for interaction.

First-time Attendee Welcome

Each year, NEHA hosts a first-time attendee welcome prior to the General Session and Keynote Address. Please stop by this informative session to have your questions answered, get to know some of NEHA’s leadership and meet other AEC newbies.

Town Hall & Breakfast

Early-risers are rewarded with a full breakfast as well as an opportunity to meet NEHA board members and find out about the state of your professional association. This is a great interactive event for first-time attendees who want to learn more about NEHA and have your questions answered from NEHA leadership.

Awards Ceremony

The Annual Awards Ceremony celebrates exceptional leaders in the environmental health field. Attending this ceremony allows you to cheer on your colleagues and learn about the work that they did to receive awards from NEHA and our partner organizations. Don’t know anyone receiving an award this year? Stop by anyway to learn about the award and scholarship opportunities offered through NEHA!

Evening Events

Connecting with friends and colleagues is one of the most important aspects of the conference-going experience. On the three main nights of the AEC, NEHA hosts social events in efforts for conference attendees to network and get to know one another.

  • Exhibition Grand Opening & Party: Immediately following the Opening Session and Keynote Address, attendees who purchased a ticket for the full-conference are invited to gather in the exhibit hall for snacks, drinks, and mingling with our sponsors and exhibit hall partners. This is also an opportunity to meet students who will be exhibiting their academic posters during the party.

  • UL Event: This is a ticketed off-site event. Attendees who purchase tickets for the UL event will travel a short distance to a fun location within the host city. A buffet-style dinner is provided, as well as entertainment and plenty of time to socialize and network.

  • Social Event: This fun-filled event is available to all full-conference attendees. Have dinner and drinks with new and old friends while enjoying music and entertainment. Each year the host city inspires the theme and food.

Social Media

We encourage all attendees to post about their AEC experience on all social media platforms using the hashtags #NEHAAEC and #EHMatters. Prizes will be given out to the best photographs posted to social media. Please also follow NEHA on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram before and during the conference to learn more about NEHA and connect with other members and conference attendees.


The AEC is a professional conference; therefore, it is recommended that attendees consider dressing business casual or business professional. Evening events are generally more casual. Comfortable footwear is always recommended.


Attendees should expect to purchase most meals on their own. There are, however, a few events where a meal is provided:

  • Exhibition Grand Opening & Party (complimentary appetizers in the exhibit hall)
  • UL Event (ticketed off-site evening event with buffet dinner at an additional cost)
  • Town Hall Assembly (complimentary breakfast)
  • Social Event (all full-conference attendees are welcome, complimentary buffet dinner provided)

Select business meetings, workshops, and invitation-only events may also have food provided.

NEHA selects conference locations where you can buy reasonably-priced breakfast, lunch, and dinner at restaurants that are either on-site or within walking distance.


Thank You!

Thank you for registering for NEHA’s Annual Educational Conference. Attending the AEC represents a commitment to your environmental health career and enhances your connection to your professional association. NEHA’s staff, board, and volunteers strive to make your conference valuable by providing quality educational and networking opportunities. We hope to see you this year and for many years to come!

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