What started off as an attempt to gather email addresses of health educators (circa 1992) has advanced into one of the most popular and interactive email discussion groups of all time. At the American Association of Health Education’s annual conference in April, 1992 (Indianapolis, IN) Dr. Kittleson asked the chairs of the Health Education programs, to forward email addresses of their colleagues so he could start creating a directory. The directory grew quickly and Dr. Kittleson attempted to figure out an easy way to distribute this ‘directory’. At that time he could only send them out to one person at a time.
A suggestion by Michael Ludwig was made in late 1993 to see if one could create a ‘listserv’… basically few knew of such technologies in 1993. SIU’s Information Technology had listserv software and quickly created an account. One could easily add as many people they would want into this ‘account’ and with the click of the mouse one could distribute this ‘directory’ to all those ‘registered’. When the IT person asked what this list should be called, he was informed that it was for a Health Education Directory. As he scratched the words down on paper, he abbreviated and came up with Health Education DIRectory–thus the word HEDIR.
The first HEDIR email went out on January 1, 1994 (which distributed the email directory). Within days the 500 members realized that this was a great way to communicate with lots of fellow health educators….within months there was no interest of the directory…the HEDIR started its historic run and continues until this day (some say it was the FIRST social network for the profession). Today, nearly 2,000 members participate in the HEDIR discussions. It is THE ultimate way to get information quickly–whether it will be to announce of a new event taking place or whether it’s a request to get information on how to deal with an issue. One can send a question out over the HEDIR asking for assistance and within minutes you’ll get 10-15 responses.
The HEDIR is synonymous with technology. The HEDIR spurred the creation of the profession’s first completely on-line peer reviewed journal (The International Electronic Journal of Health Education) which was purchased by the American Association of Health Education in 2001. The HEDIR created the HEDIR Technology Award where those individuals who were creatively using technology could be recognized and honored. In addition, AAHE allowed the HEDIR Technology Seminar, a dedicated time period at its annual conference to showcase the use of technology within the profession. Both the HEDIR Technology Seminar and the HEDIR Technology Award have now been absorbed by AAHE.
The HEDIR continues to change with the times. The HEDIR Discussion group is still very active (and if you are interested in participating in this service, please read this memo). The HEDIR blog is just starting to create its niche…it will be an opportunity for people to discuss a variety of topics on-line and allow responses from others. As with the HEDIR Discussion Group, the HEDIR blog is open to all health education professionals who register with the HEDIR.
Within the last few months, the HEDIR has teamed up with its long-time partner, HPCareer.net to organize and host a series of webinars. These webinars are free of charge and can be viewed on-line at www.healthpromotionlive.com. In addition, individuals can earn CHES hours by attending live/watching the archived video, and completing a series of assignments. HEDIR can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
The HEDIR will continue its efforts to encourage and to provide training for health educators in using technology. Eventual plans will be to create an active HEDIR Wiki, and HEDIR Second Life. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact Dr. Kittleson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also all HEDIR messages, from January 1, 1994 to April 30, 2010 are archived at http://www.kittle.siu.edu/hedir/archives/2010/index.html. Those messages after that date can be found at: (TBA)
Follow the HEDIR on Twitter by Clicking HERE
Follow the HEDIR on Facebook by Clicking HERE
Follow the HEDIR on LinkedIn by Clicking HERE