A brief history of the HealthBulletin

From humble beginnings, born out of a need to identify and disseminate relevant information across the country, the HealthBulletin started life as a hard copy publication in April 1982. HealthBulletin founder and long-time editor, Professor Neil Thomson (former Director of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet) had an enduring interest in translational research. Professor Thomson said ‘My initial research in 1981 as Research Fellow in Aboriginal health at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (now the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) confirmed the impression I’d gained while working in the Kimberley region of WA in 1978-79 as a GP, that much relevant information failed to reach many people involved in Aboriginal health. Information was either not published or, if it was, was not readily available. In addition, published information was scattered across many journals and other sources. The ‘Aboriginal Health Project information bulletin’ (as it was first called) was created to enable a more appropriate dissemination of relevant information.’ Professor Thomson retired in early 2015 and passed away in 2016.

To celebrate the 35th year of publication in 2017, the first issue of the HealthBulletin was reproduced. The first edition Number 1, April 1982 (Health Bulletin 1 – Apr 1982) compiled by Professor Neil Thomson, drew our attention to current health topics, recently published research, studies, book reviews and publications. The introduction is worthy of a read as it highlights the need for a resource of this type to support those working to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health ensuring they had access in one place to the latest research and resources. The HealthBulletin carries on this proud tradition of providing the most up to date information and making it accessible to those who need it most.

Important milestones of the HealthBulletin:

April 1982 – First edition produced as a hardcopy publication.

June 1997 – The first online edition (using Dreamweaver) of the HealthBulletin Newsletter.

July 2001 – The HealthBulletin saw its first ‘original article (peer-reviewed) published in the Vol 1 No 1, July 2001 – September 2001 issue.

April 2008 – The HealthBulletin moved to new website (using WordPress) and all the older issues were ‘archived’.

December 2020 – The last original article was published in the HealthBulletin, a review in Vol 20 No 4, October 2020 – December 2020, as this functionality has been replaced with the Journal of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (see below).

July 2023 – The HealthBulletin site was relaunched with enhanced search functionality and an intuitive, responsive design. This new website now has all original articles and current topics published in the HealthBulletin from the first issue in 2001 to the last issue in 2020. We are also slowly adding content from 1997-2001 (from Issues 1 – 10).

New Journal replacing the HealthBulletin original content

Going forward, the HealthBulletin website is where we ‘bring together the latest information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health by providing links to reports, publications, journals, resources and theses‘. Since December 2020, the HealthBulletin will no longer publish ‘original articles’ as this function has been replaced by the Journal of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet.

In 2020 when the online journal celebrated 38 years, the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet launched the first edition of the new look and name Journal of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet. The Journal was redesigned with a new manuscript management system via Edith Cowan University’s Research Online institutional repository and comprises of two editions each calendar year.

From beginning life as a hard copy publication in 1982, the HealthBulletin has continued to evolve.