One of the more interesting and effective initiatives that I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with is the Ontario Health Promotion E-bulletin. It started several years ago when, after doing an email survey, we realized that the respondents represented a valuable network of connected practitioners and academics.
The Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse, where I then worked and am now a Board
member, was finding it increasingly difficult to produce regular, timely print notices on various health promotion initiatives. Time sensitive information was not reaching people who could make use of it.
The electronic bulletin was seen as a low-cost alternative. We knew at the time that it would reach fewer than the print publications. It evolved from a distribution to hundreds to one of a distribution to thousands. To this day, the bulletin continues to publish weekly, certainly a high mark standard for communities of practice in any field.
The community of practitioners and a few researchers continue to provide content and feature articles. Editorial preparation evolved into a part time staff position when demand grew.
Among the most valuable knowledge building evolutions was the application of a health promotion classification framework developed by Larry Hershfield at the University of Toronto, Centre for Health Promotion, Health Communication Unit to a content management database for the bulletin.
With web access, this database of collective knowledge can be searched for
resources and analysis.
Alison Stirling of OPC continues to guide the evolutionary process. From simple email to database driven email and web site and intranet for editorial collaboration, the technology matches the needs and the times. Combined with the knowledge building and long term commitment of the people and organizations in health promotion, the Ontario Health Promotion E-bulletin is a model of both knowledge transfer and online community building.
Related web sites:
http://www.ohpe.ca/ – Ontario Health Promotion E-bulletin
http://www.opc.on.ca/ – Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse
http://www.thcu.ca/ – Health Communication Unit
http://www.ohprs.ca/ – Ontario Health Promotion Resource System