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March 2012 OHPE Subscriber Survey: Who, Where, How? (And responses to your comments!)


I Introduction
II Where do OHPE subscribers live and work?
III Who subscribes to OHPE?
IV Topics you want to see
V OHPE on mobile devices
VI Respondent comments
VII Conclusion
VIII Resources

--submitted by Robyn Kalda, Health Promotion Specialist - Technology Specialization, Health Nexus

I Introduction

In 1997 the Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse (OPC) and The Health Communication Unit (THCU) began to produce the Ontario Health Promotion E-Bulletin (OHPE) as a venue for information and knowledge exchange between community leaders, researchers, students, intermediaries, and others with an interest in health promotion. Since then, OPC has become Health Nexus and THCU has become part of Public Health Ontario, but OHPE continues. The Bulletin is emailed to subscribers each Friday. Our searchable website at holds all content from current and past bulletins.

In March 2012, OHPE ran the latest iteration of our subscriber survey. Every two or three years we survey OHPE newsletter subscribers to assess how we’re doing, spot any developing issues and guide possible improvements.

OHPE had approximately 6,500 subscribers at the time of the survey in March and 1,613 of you were good enough to take an average of 3 minutes 37 seconds to answer the survey. (Thank you!)

In today’s feature we’re pleased to share some of the more interesting results with you.

II Where do OHPE subscribers live and work?

Eighty-five percent of OHPE subscribers are within Ontario, spread among all regions. We were pleased to note that Toronto is not over-represented: about 22 percent of respondents were from Toronto, roughly in line with Toronto’s share of the Ontario population. To serve the needs of this fairly even geographic spread of subscribers OHPE posts events and announcements from across Ontario -- please do send us your postings, whether you are in Ottawa, Dryden, Windsor, Sudbury or anywhere else. Seven percent of respondents’ work has a cross-Canada focus. Five percent were from provinces and territories other than Ontario, and the last 3 percent were international.

III Who subscribes to OHPE?

A slight majority (53 percent) of respondents were in the health and health promotion sectors: public health, community health centres, Healthy Communities Partnerships, health care providers, hospitals, and others in health, nutrition or recreation-related fields.

Other major sectors were government, education, and non-profit/non-governmental/volunteer-based organizations.
There were a few (3 percent of respondents or fewer) in the private sector, child/youth groups, First Nations, community coalitions, environmental groups, media and the general public. Trends in the answers from those who said “other” included researchers, military, students, and consultants.

IV Topics you want to see

Trends in answers to the question “Are there topics that you have not seen covered, or would like to see more of, in the OHPE Bulletin? If so, what are they?” included

  • Profiles and practical examples of new or innovative programs, practices and organizations
  • Health equity
  • Social determinants of health
  • Infectious disease / vaccine-preventable diseases / infection control
  • Health promotion in northern / rural / remote Ontario
  • First Nations health / cultural competency
  • Immigrant health
  • More links to resources
  • Knowledge exchange / knowledge translation / research and evaluation. (OHPE is not currently funded to do knowledge translation work. We would be very interested in doing so should funding permit.)
  • Mental health / mental health promotion
  • Social media / social networking
  • Professional development
  • Oral health

We’ll keep this list in mind as we plan feature articles and scan information sources for announcement and event information. If you’d like to write a feature on one of these topics (or on anything else), you can reach our Features Editor at

Some people asked for more information about topics which are within OHPE’s mandate but which are well covered elsewhere, for example:

V OHPE on mobile devices

A full 25 percent of respondents read (or attempt to read) OHPE on a mobile device such as a Blackberry, iPhone, or iPad. In 2010 this number was only 9 percent.

We asked how user-friendly it felt to read OHPE on a mobile device. Results here were divided: 41 percent of respondents found it not very user friendly or not at all user friendly; 51 percent found it somewhat user friendly and only 8 percent found it  very user friendly.

As was the case in 2010, we do not have funding to provide a separate mobile site or mobile version of OHPE, but we will do what we can to mitigate difficulties for mobile users.

VI Respondent comments

Respondent comments: things people liked

People particularly liked the job postings (which are always popular), the weekly frequency, the current information, the brevity of the email (easy to scan), the diverse topics covered, the event postings, and our Ontario focus.

Respondent comments: things people would change

Many people said “I wouldn’t change a thing” but many others had definite opinions.  Quite a few comments were similar to comments made on previous surveys. See our 2010 survey feature ( for our comments on the following:

  • More French content
  • Please remove old job posts / events
  • Too Toronto-centric
  • More images
  • Information about books, articles and reading lists, or about organizations
  • Your font offends my eyes
  • More job postings for volunteers, private sector, those with less experience and students
  • Please include salaries on job posts

I’ll repeat one important one here:  our spam filter ate my submission! This does occasionally happen and we're very sorry. OHPE gets a LOT of spam -- sometimes our filters catch things they shouldn’t and we don’t always manage to spot it in time.  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.

There were some new trends in comments too.

Not enough time to apply for things

Over the past couple of years we have noticed a definite trend in job posts: in the past they were typically open for about three weeks; now it’s closer to one week. We post jobs and events as soon as we can but sometimes this does lead to extremely short deadlines.

We apologize, and would encourage those posting jobs to consider whether a longer deadline would be possible. It does take time for postings to reach the right people, and for them to put together a solid application.

Need an archive feature for previous bulletins

Done -- they’re on the website! Look for the archive links toward the top left-hand column on the website, or for the full archive list see

Cross-Canada content

We’ve had people ask this before but it was particularly strong in this year’s comments. We’d love to post more cross-Canada content, but our funding is Ontario-based at this point.

Make the website prettier

The word “archaic” was used more than once. Ouch! Yes, we agree it needs updating, with an eye to beauty, modernity, and functionality. We’re looking for some funding that would allow us to give the site a facelift.

Several people wanted us to adjust the font size on the website either up or down. You can do this in your browser:

  • Ctrl+ or Ctrl-on Firefox or Chrome
  • Page button then click Text Size in Internet Explorer

More interactive

An interesting thought. People were not specific about what aspects of interactivity they might find useful, but that will be something for us to explore perhaps in our next survey. In the meantime, if you have ideas you’d like us to hear feel free to write

RSS feed

The site feed is at (Don’t click that link unless you’re using an RSS reader. It’s not meant to be human-readable.)

VII Conclusion

Thanks again to everyone who took time to answer the survey. Your comments help us assess how we’re doing, see technological trends before they bowl us over, and provide you with the most useful newsletter we can produce.

If you have any specific questions about the survey, write

VIII Resources

View the 2010 OHPE survey results at

View past OHPE issues at