As a senior at the University of Michigan, I had a professor who rather seriously and frequently asked what my generation was doing; not in an accusatory manner, arguing that we were destroying the sanctity of the country, but on a holistic level, failing to see the social impact my generation has made or is attempting to make. As a product of the 1960s and progressive communes, he often stressed the social aspect of his youth, pointing to ingenuity through communication and interpersonal relationships. He was discouraged by the wide-spread cell phone use, as well as the growing dependence on the Internet and television that seems so prevalent now. And while he certainly has a point to some extent, what he has completely missed are the ever-growing digital communities that not only create once-impossible personal relationships but also contribute to the vast knowledge base and collective capabilities of groups of people.

Along those lines, HEALTHCARE DESIGN, in an effort to create a more unified and cohesive field, recently created The HEALTHCARE DESIGN Connection on LinkedIn. Founded in 2002, LinkedIn is a social networking site that is focused toward professionals and business-related connections. With over 35 million registered users, LinkedIn is an excellent venue for connecting with friends and colleagues, as well as creating relationships with people in your field for mutual knowledge sharing and establishing industry-wide contacts.

The HEALTHCARE DESIGN Connection aims to do just that. With 150-plus registered members already, the group was founded as a way for designers, architects, and others interested in the field to come together in one place to share ideas, discuss growing trends in the industry, and simply to meet one another. In its brief existence, the networking group has already spurned discussion between several members on the site and has a listing up, asking for a designer in the New York area.

As a relative newcomer to the healthcare design field myself, I relish the opportunity to be a part of this group and learn from and discuss with the various people already in the group. One thing that HEALTHCARE DESIGN has made a concerted effort to do in the past six months is increase reader- generated material. Beginning with our blogs that are written by industry professionals, this magazine has been seeking increased reader feedback through the form of comments on blogs and articles. And though that's a tall order and something that has seen only moderate results-we know you're reading, just not having your voice heard-we hope that The HEALTHCARE DESIGN Connection will spurn on the kind of discussion that we've been trying to facilitate.

Ultimately, The HEALTHCARE DESIGN Connection is for you. It's a tool that we hope everyone utilizes because of the potential it yields. Whether you use the site to connect with coworkers, post interesting news items from around the industry, or to get in touch with the editorial staff of HEALTHCARE DESIGN-we're all on there too, so drop us a line-The HEALTHCARE DESIGN Connection is an incredible resource and one that we hope you take full advantage of. HD

To apply to join The HEALTHCARE DESIGN Connection network on LinkedIn, visit http://www.hcdmagazine.com/linkedin.

Healthcare Design 2009 March;9(3):56