The HEDIR Beginnings

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 were absorbed by AAHE and since April 2013–with the dissolution of AAHE, such projects no longer exist.

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 was created in 2010 and met with absolutely no success.

Since 2010, the HEDIR has teamed up with its long-time partner, to organize and host a series of webinars.   These webinars are free of charge and can be viewed on-line at   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.    If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact Dr. Kittleson at

Also all HEDIR messages, from January 1, 1994 to present are archived by clicking here.  We are missing January 1, 2010 through April 9, 2010 messages.  If anybody has copies of these, please contact Dr. Kittleson.



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Follow the HEDIR on LinkedIn by Clicking HERE