The International Electronic Journal of Health Education

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IEJHE, Vol. 1(2), 72-73, April 1, 1998, Copyright 1998

The Cost of Professionalism

Mark J. Kittleson, Ph.D.1;
1 Southern Illinois University

Corresponding author: Mark J. Kittleson, Pulliam 307, MS 4632, Southern Illinois University; 618.453.1841 (phone), 618.453.1829 (fax), KITTLE@SIU.EDU


During the past four years the HEDIR has held numerous conversations on the role of the profession, it's role in the health care reform movement, and how other professions view us. Throughout these lively conversations, debates are held on what we can do to enhance our profession. It is obvious that no single effort will be sufficient to advance the profession, but it is clear that we all can (and should) do our part to help advance the profession. This editorial gives a view that all may not agree with, and I welcome responses to what I'm about to say.

The question I pose to the readership of this journal, and to the profession, is "What is the cost of professionalism?", or more precisely, "What are YOU willing to pay to promote the health education profession." Realizing that we have all paid (in terms of money, time, effort) to go to school to become health educators, I am challenging you to consider what we (you and me) are currently doing to help the profession with your money.

Besides one's schooling, I see three main areas of "professional" expenses:

  1. Participating (joining) professional organizations such as American Public Health Association (http://www.apha.org/), the American School Health Association (http://www.ashaweb.org/), the Association for Advancement of Health Education's web page is located at: http://www.aahperd.org/aahe/aahe.html, and the Society for Public Health Education (http://www.sophe.org);

  2. Maintaining one's professional knowledge through continuing education (i.e., CHES, CHES hours, attending conferences);

  3. Supporting other professional endeavors that enhance our vision and appearance as a profession (i.e., journals, academies).

This editorial is going to focus on the last of these areas--supporting other professional endeavors. I will narrow the focus even more by discussing the importance of supporting professional health education journals that are operated to enhance the health educator's professional growth and our profession.

The profession of health education is fortunate to have several outstanding journals that are affiliated with the various professional organizations. But, it is also important that there are other journals that can contribute to professional growth, and they too are viewed as part of the profession's credibility. Please do not misconstrue what I am about to say as anything negative against the health education journals associated with our professional organizations. The Journal of School Health, the Journal of Health Education, Health Education and Behavior, and the American Journal of Public Health are excellent resources. But to me, they are not enough. We need more high quality journals. Yes, there is a cost...but what are we (the profession) willing to spend to promote our profession?

When I am speaking of supporting journals, two specific journals come to mind--The American Journal of Health BehaviorTM (formerly the Journal of Health Values) and the American Journal of Health Studies (formerly Wellness Perspectives)- This editorial is being written to voice my concern about the profession's willingness to support these journals and any other entrepreneurial activities by health educators. Now, it may seem odd that an editorial in a "competing" journal is promoting other journals, but this is not time to quibble about competition...I believe there's plenty of room for all of these journals. I should also note that although I am on the editorial boards of both journals, I am not receiving "kickbacks" or any other remuneration by my promotion of such journals. In addition, this editorial should not be misinterpreted that either of these journals are having financial difficulties. What I am writing about is the profession's commitment and support to allow these journals to continue functioning.

Perhaps it is because I have become involved in the process of editing a journal that it may appear that I have developed a recent "selfish" interest in supporting professional journals. However, it has always been a long-standing belief of mine that if we do not support such endeavors it is our profession that loses...and our profession cannot afford any loses. In spite of our outstanding organizational journals, it is not enough--we need to support other journals.

With that in mind, here are my major reasons why everybody who is a health educator should subscribe to the American Journal of Health BehaviorTM and the American Journal of Health Studies:

The cost? Fairly reasonable considering the impact that those dollars will go to show support. The American Journal of Health Behavior'sTM subscription rate is $72.00 a year (6 issues), whereas the American Journal of Health Studies charges $27.50 for 4 issues. Thus, I am asking that health educators spend $99.50 to support the entrepreneurial risks that these publishers have taken. Let's assume that the average salary for the health educator reading this is $25,000...we are looking at less than .4% of one's salary. Now, I realize that we spend money on other professional ventures...but we must stop making excuses and help our profession's growth by "investing" in the future of these journals.

Finally, let's say that the editors-in-chiefs of both journals become incredibly wealthy by their efforts. My response is "Good for them!" That is the entrepreneurial spirit that has made America great--if you are willing to work hard, and take a risk with one's own money, time, energy, then they deserve to become rich. As health educators we should be proud of their accomplishments. If they do succeed, and become rich beyond their dreams, then we are also sending a message that the profession will support those who are willing to take risks...and who knows who we have out there with the entrepreneurial spirit that can further add to our advancement and credibility?

Information about subscribing to the American Journal of Health BehaviorTM can be downloaded by going to http://131.230.221.136/ajhb/form3.pdf. Information about subscribing to the American Journal of Health Studies can be obtain by going to http://131.230.221.136/iejhe/ paid/1998/number2/


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Copyright 1998 by IEJHE.