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What is HLTHPROF?

HLTHPROF has a unique role to perform for the health professions advising community. Like most listserv discussion groups, this tool will make communication among the membership rapid, easy, and widespread. However, to be a useful tool, HLTHPROF needs something from each of us — our stewardship. If the focus of this list is to be "health professions advising", then each one of us must take the time to learn and use the listserv tool effectively and appropriately.

HLTHPROF access is limited to advisors employed by colleges and universities to provide advising to pre-health professions students, health professions schools admissions deans, and health professions association staff. The list is private to maintain the proper focus and professional atmosphere.

How to Use HLTHPROF

How to Subscribe to HLTHPROF
To join the Health Professions Advising Interest Group list, simply follow these directions:

  1. From the e-mail account under which you wish to be subscribed, send a plain-text e-mail message to: listserv@list.msu.edu
  2. Leave the subject line blank.
  3. Type as the SOLE contents of the body of the message: SUBSCRIBE HLTHPROF Your first and last name.
    (i.e. SUBSCRIBE HLTHPROF Thomas Thompson)
  4. You will then receive a message from the list serve requesting a statement about your involvement in health professions advising or admissions. Shortly after that, you will receive confirmation of your acceptance and instructions on using the list.

Culture and Guidelines
Developing the HLTHPROF "culture" means carefully considering how your contributions will affect the list as a whole. Below are important guidelines for HLTHPROF membership. These items are intended as a framework, not a constraint, for our list's growth and professional development.

Specific Guidelines Regarding Advertising

It is not appropriate to tout your own programs, summer courses, books, etc. on the listserv. There are numerous ways to advertise them described on the NAAHP Advertising page. Some appropriate times to send unsolicited information to the HLTHPROF list:
  • When responding to a direct inquiry from a subscriber,
  • When providing information or invitation in conjunction with an NAAHP affiliated event (e.g, the conference),
  • When providing information as a member of a nationwide application service (e.g., AMCAS, AADSAS, PHARMCAS, etc.),
  • When announcing an open house or special event.

Messages

Subject Headings
Be Specific...many readers will decide to read, skim, or ignore your message based on the subject heading. Be specific. An e-mail message labeled "Policies for letters of recommendation?" tells the reader far more than "A question for HLTHPROF".

Sending Messages
To send a message to all of the people currently subscribed to the list, just send an email to HLTHPROF@LIST.MSU.EDU, which is called the list address. Never try to send any command to HLTHPROF@LIST.MSU.EDU, as it would be distributed to all the people who have subscribed. Commands must be sent to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU, this is the listserv address. It is important to understand the difference between the two addresses.

Offer to Summarize
When asking for input on a topic, consider asking others to reply privately (to you), summarizing the responses, then posting the results to the list as a single useful message. This one piece of etiquette should prove very beneficial, keeping traffic at a manageable level and focusing the topic.

Focus Your Topic
Responses to your own messages will be greater when you keep your topic focused on and limited to a single subject. Asking specific questions will result in quicker and better responses. If you send two shorter single-topic messages rather than one long one, you're likely to get better responses.

Confidentiality
Sending email is like putting a postcard on the bulletin board of the busiest hallway on campus. Please keep in mind, it is NEVER appropriate to discuss specific confidential information on HLTHPROF. It is fine to discuss difficult cases, as long as "the names and identifying information has been changed to protect the innocent".

Replying to Mail

Use Your Email "Reply" Option Carefully
Be judicious with the reply function on your email system. Ask yourself whether your message should go to hundreds of people or just one individual. When asking for input on a topic, consider asking others to reply privately to you, summarizing their responses, and then posting the results to the list as a single useful message. This helps keep traffic at a manageable level.

Comments like "Yes, I agree." or questions like "Could you send me one, too?" should be directed to the individual whose message you are referring to, *NOT* everyone on the list. When you're in doubt, a private message is the right choice. If the recipient sees your reply needs to be shared with the membership, he/she can always summarize (see above), or edit and quote your message (see below) and send it to the list.

Don't Include the Entire Original Message
When replying to a message, you usually don't need to repeat or quote the entire mail message. An accurately labeled response (see above) or a judiciously-edited original included in your reply will render your own message more succinct and useful for the other members. Editing the original and possibly lengthy posting will allow readers to get to the crux of your own message without first having to wade through line after line of quoted text (which, after all, they've probably already received and read).

Change the Subject Line
While you're editing the original message in your reply, make sure the subject line continues to accurately reflect the subject of the message.

Re-label subject lines of responses to more accurately indicate your intentions when responding to messages you want to take in another direction. In replying to the "Policies for letters of recommendation?" example above with information on your campus's policy, changing the subject to "WhatsamattaU's policy on letters of recommendation" would say far more than leaving it as is, or letting your mail program change it to "Re: Policies for letters of recommendation?".

Understanding HLTHPROF's Security Settings
The internet's rapid growth has affected lists such as HLTHPROF in many ways, some unfortunate. Increasingly, discussion lists are subjected to intrusions in the form of:

  • "Spoofing" (editing an email message header to make it appear to come from another person's account)
  • "Spamming" (broadcasting an "advertisement" message to one or more lists at once)
  • "Vacuuming" (reviewing a discussion group's list of subscribers using the REVIEW command for later spamming, etc.)

Some lists are happy to get unsolicited advertisements when they pertain to the list's focus, but generally it is seen as tacky, boorish, and rude. Even when it is not, it adds to the network traffic unnecessarily. To mitigate these problems, HLTHPROF has utilized two Listserv options:

  1. The REVIEW command is set to OWNERS. Now, if you try to REVIEW the list to see who is subscribed, you'll get the list header information only. Should someone want a copy of the list's subscribers, simply email Theron Sands, tsands@naahp.org, and he will:
    • Review your request
    • Forward a copy to you if the purpose of your request does not jeopardize the security/privacy of HLTHPROF, and you are already a member of HLTHPROF.
  2. HLTHPROF is open only to academic advisors and admissions officers who work with students interested in the health professions (those employed in the field of academic advising or admissions of health professions programs).

Listserv Commands

Sending Commands to the Listserv
Commands are sent to the listserv to adjust subscription settings and preferences by simply sending an email to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU with the command as the FIRST AND ONLY line of text in the BODY of the message. The subject line of the email message is ignored by the listserv. DO NOT include your automated signature block or any other information in command messages. The LISTSERV attempts to interpret any text in the message body as commands.

More information on LISTSERV commands can be found in the LISTSERV reference card, which you can retrieve by sending an "INFO REFCARD" command to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU.

Subscription settings and preferences can also be set using the LISTSERV's Web interface (It's a bit more user-friendly than sending commands via email) at http://list.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?HOME and...

  • Logging in with your email address and listserv password
  • Clicking on "Preferences" in the menu bar on the Web page

For more detailed information on using commands or on using the Web Interface to adjust your subscription settings, check out the List Subscriber's Manual at http://www.lsoft.com/resources/manuals.asp.

Message Confirmations
You can tell listserv how you want it to confirm the receipt of messages you send to the list.

To send yourself a copy of your own messages, send a "SET HLTHPROF REPRO" command email to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU. Alternatively, to have listserv send you a short acknowledgement instead of the entire message, send a "SET HLTHPROF ACK NOREPRO" command email to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU. Finally, you can turn off acknowledgements completely with the "SET HLTHPROF NOACK NOREPRO" command email to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU.

Message Frequency
If you do not want to receive individual email messages from HLTHPROF you can change your setting to receive a single daily message in digest form. To accomplish this, simply send a "SET HLTHPROF DIGESTS" command email to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU.

To return to the default setting of getting every posting as an individual email, send a "SET HLTHPROF MAIL" command email to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU.

Stopping HLTHPROF Mail Temporarily
If you are away from your e-mail access for more than a couple of days, you should consider stopping network email delivery for that time. Most of us have limited mail storage space, and when that limit is exceeded, your emailer rejects your email and sends it back to the originator. You can imagine the volume of email that we get regularly!

If you want to stop your mail delivery (but leave your membership intact), simply send a "SET HLTHPROF NOMAIL" command email to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU.

Restarting HLTHPROF Mail
Upon your return, simply send a "SET HLTHPROF MAIL" command mail to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU; or "SET HLTHPROF DIGESTS" command email to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU.

HLTHPROF Archives
HLTHPROF archives are accessible to HLTHPROF members on the web. The archives are all the messages that have been sent to HLTHPROF for the last year. We have to periodically delete the older files because we only 'own' so much space.

To access the Archives, go to http://list.msu.edu/archives/hlthprof.html

  • Logging in with your email address and listserv password
  • You'll have the capability of looking at the messages chronologically, or to search for a specific topic

How to Leave HLTHPROF
You may leave the list at any time by sending a "SIGNOFF HLTHPROF" command to LISTSERV@LIST.MSU.EDU.

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