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March 2010 OHPE Subscriber Survey: All About You


I Introduction
II Who subscribes to OHPE?
III Where do OHPE subscribers live and work?
IV Topics of interest
V Sharing
VI Mobile devices
VII Respondent comments: things people like
VIII Respondent comments: things people would change
IX Conclusion

I Introduction

Since 1997 Health Nexus and The Health Communication Unit have worked together to produce the weekly Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin (OHPE), which is emailed to subscribers each Friday. Our searchable website at holds all content from current and past bulletins. The Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion fund OHPE as a venue for information and knowledge exchange between community leaders, researchers, students, intermediaries, and others with an interest in health promotion.

In March 2010 we surveyed OHPE subscribers to assess how well the bulletin continues to meet the information needs and health promotion interests of its subscribers and to guide future developments. In all 1610 subscribers responded. We would like to thank each and every one of you! Your comments and feedback will help us improve the structure, content, and accessibility of OHPE.

II Who subscribes to OHPE?

Survey results in 2010 are not significantly different than the results from the survey we carried out in 2006 ( Again, public health, nonprofits, government, and education are the most popular sectors in which OHPE subscribers work. The subscriber breakdown is as follows:

  • Public Health Unit: 33%
  • Community Health Centre (CHC): 6%
  • Health, nutrition, or recreation setting (defined broadly and includes all health care and allied settings, doulas, personal trainers, etc.): 10%
  • Government (all levels of government / public service): 13%
  • Community coalition, council, or network: 3%
  • Nongovernmental organization / non-profit / volunteer organization: 16%
  • Education (students and educators from kindergarten to university level): 14%
  • Environment-focused organization: 1%
  • Media, library, or allied information settings: 1%
  • Child or youth-oriented organization or group: 3%
  • First Nations / Native / Aboriginal group: 1%
  • Private sector (lawyers, consultants, etc.): 5%
  • General public: 4%
  • Other: 13%

III Where do OHPE subscribers live and work?

A large majority – about 91% – of OHPE survey respondents are in Ontario. This isn't surprising, given the bulletin’s strong Ontario focus.

  • Ontario – North (Algoma, Muskoka, Parry Sound, Mantoulin, Nipissing, Kenora, Rainy River, Cochrane, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, etc.): 5%
  • Ontario – East (Stormont/Dundas/Glengarry, Prescott-Russell, Hastings, Prince Edward, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, Leeds & Grenville, Lanark, Ottawa-Carleton, Renfrew, etc.): 15%
  • Ontario – Central East (Durham, Haliburton, Victoria, Peterborough, Simcoe, York, Northumberland, etc): 10%
  • Ontario – Central South (Brant, Haldimand-Norfolk, Hamilton-Wentworth, Niagara, etc.): 8%
  • Ontario – Toronto (postal codes beginning with M): 32%
  • Ontario – Central West (Halton, Peel, Waterloo, Wellington, Dufferin, etc.): 14%
  • Ontario – South West (Bruce, Grey, Elgin, Huron, Kent, Lambton, Middlesex, Oxford, Perth, Essex): 8%

About 6% of survey respondents are from the rest of Canada, down from about 10% in 2006. OHPE has subscribers in every province except Nunavut and Yukon. There was one survey respondent from the Northwest Territories (hello!).

As well, 3% of survey respondents live or work outside Canada. As with our 2006 survey, Australia/New Zealand and Europe had more subscribers than did our immediate neighbour, the USA. We now have one subscriber in the Caribbean, one in Antarctica, and three in the Middle East, but none in Mexico, Central and South America, Russia, Africa, or India.

IV Topics of interest

We asked which topics people would like to see, or see more of, in OHPE. The more popular answers include:

  • Determinants of health (collectively and individually)
  • Evaluation
  • Specific populations: youth, men, seniors, racialized communities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, transsexual (LGBTT)
  • Harm reduction
  • Health advocacy
  • Health and policy
  • Global perspectives
  • Mental health, mental health promotion, and/or addiction
  • Social media and IT

If you know of any resources or events relevant to those topic areas, please write

If you are interested in writing a feature article on a topic of interest, or if you know of someone who might be interested, please write to discuss your idea with our features editor.

V Sharing

Of those who responded to the survey, 52% said they share OHPE with others. The number of people with whom OHPE is shared varied from 1 to 500 with a median of 3.

Thank you for helping distribute OHPE to those who might find it useful!

VI Mobile devices

Some 9% of survey respondents read, or attempt to read, OHPE on a mobile device such as a cell phone, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, etc.

Although we don't at present have the resources to produce a mobile site or mobile version of OHPE, we're interested in hearing about your experiences. If there's anything you'd like to tell us about how OHPE works (or doesn't work) on your mobile device, please write

VII Respondent comments: things people liked

We asked what people like about OHPE. Answers emphasized the weekly frequency; its concise, easy-to-navigate format, its timeliness, informative feature articles, and (as usual) the job postings.

VIII Respondent comments: things people would change

A surprising number of people said "nothing" but others had specific requests or peeves.

More French content

There is already an Ontario-based French-language health promotion bulletin, Le Bloc-Notes, produced by Health Nexus. It comes out approximately every three weeks. You can find it online at If you're interested in subscribing, write us at and we'll make sure you're signed up.

Please remove old job postings / events

Part of OHPE's purpose is to act as a knowledge base and historical record of health promotion in Ontario. It can be useful to be able to track the topics of conferences over the years, or for job searchers to be able to look at which types of jobs are available with which organizations and how often.

Both jobs and events are listed in reverse chronological order (newest first), so older information should keep itself in the background unless you search for it.

It's too Toronto-centric

OHPE relies heavily on reader submissions for its content. With nearly half of Ontario's population in the GTA, we recognize that we'll always include quite a bit of Toronto content. We do strive to represent all of Ontario – we welcome content submissions from everyone, but *especially* from those of you outside the GTA. We would love to run your announcements, events, and job postings! Please send any items – whether it's your own announcement, event, or job posting or something local to you that we may not know about – to

Others asked again for more national or international information. Our funding limits us to an Ontario focus at this time. However, we do include occasional events, announcements or jobs outside Ontario that would be of strong interest to Ontario health promoters. Again, is the place to send those items.

More images

Our latest website update now allows us to insert images. It is a time-consuming process, however, so for now we are limiting images to feature articles. It is up to the authors of the feature articles to provide any images they would like to include and to ensure appropriate copyright clearance for the images.

Information about books, articles, and / or reading lists

This is a knowledge-transfer role we would love to take on. Our limited funding unfortunately does not currently allow us to spend much time on producing this information ourselves. When we are able to do so, we post this kind of information as an announcement.

This is another area in which we would welcome reader input: if you see or read something you think would be of interest to OHPE readers please send the information (and your thoughts on it, if you have time to write them up) to

Information about organizations in the health promotion field

We post brief contact information about organizations now if feature article authors include it in their references. Survey respondents seemed to be asking for a more comprehensive profile of organizations and their activities, to give a better idea of who's who in health promotion in Ontario.

We agree this would be very useful and will consider whether and how best to provide this kind of information.

Your font offends my eyes

As many respondents like the current format as dislike it. However, those who dislike it seem to particularly dislike the font on the email, on the website, or both.

Fonts, as web designers will tell you, are tricky. We cannot know which fonts are installed on which computers (or cellphones now) so for the email newsletter we err on the side of choosing something we know will be readable even if it's aesthetically unpleasing.

Fonts on the website are a bit more straightforward to update. This will be part of our brief website review this year.

More job postings for volunteers, private sector, those with less experience, and students

We're more than happy to run job postings for volunteers, students, new grads, and the private sector. Many students, new grads, and career changers read OHPE and we'd love to see more jobs for them. Our only criterion is that job postings must be of interest to Ontario health promoters, broadly defined. If your job posting (or a posting you've seen elsewhere you think should be in OHPE as well) fits that description, send it to

Please include salaries on job posts

We agree job postings are much more useful when they include salary information. We strongly encourage anyone submitting a job posting to include salary information.

Your spam filter ate my submission!

This does occasionally happen and we're very sorry. If you ever think we've somehow missed something you sent to us, email or call 416-408-2249 x2226 / 1-800-397-9567 x2226 and we'll do our best to track it down.

IX Conclusion

Again, a big thank you to everyone who responded to the survey. Evaluations such as this one help ensure we fix what's broken, leave alone what isn't broken, and have data to guide future directions.

If you have any specific questions about the survey, write