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Reflecting on 400 Issues of the Ontario Health Promotion Email Bulletin

I Introduction

Welcome to the 400th issue of the OHPE Bulletin! Below, a collection of team members, some past, some present, reflect on the past eight years of the OHPE: where it came from; what it does, does not, and will do; and where we dream it can go.

I would personally like to thank all of our contributors, writers, and subscribers. When I meet readers in person, they often say "N. Gadon? You send me an email every Friday!" It seems that our readers feel a personal connection with us, and to me this means that the OHPE is doing its job.

Let us know what you think! Email with your thoughts on this issue and the OHPE in general.

Noelle Gadon


II The Team Reflects

A. OHPE Reflections and Dreams

Keep it simple, dream big, welcome new and old, be flexible, and learn from the unexpected.

These aphorisms apply to the 400 issues and eight years of the OHPE Bulletin as much as they do to individuals. This weekly newsletter has always had a simple commitment to be a bridge to a wealth of information about health promotion. It's succeeded by staying simple in format and technology, rich in content offering many perspectives, and flexible in structure.

Job postings, news, articles, and suggested resources have come from an ever-broader body of contributing organizations and people. In response, OHPE has introduced new features: letters to the editor, comings and goings, special alerts and issues from the editors, and links to online job postings.

There have been limits to the structural flexibility; changes such as new columns and content, a doorway to the Francophone e-bulletin Le Bloc-Notes, interactive features on the website, and different newsletter formats have not yet been possible. Thanks to recent financial and creative supports, these changes will be realized throughout this year!

My big dream of OHPE becoming a national health promotion e-bulletin with regional news and features has also not come about as expected. A national framework, network, or collaboration for health promotion does not yet exist that could support such a venture through financing or partnerships. But in the electronic world is "national" enough? OHPE reaches far more people around the world than I had imagined it would and holds promise of greater achievements.

I have high hopes for OHPE and it inspired my own pursuit of a knowledge base for health promotion information and resources. I've gone back to university this year to learn how to organize and structure that wealth of information that OHPE links to. I look forward to coming back to OHPE and being part of its welcome transformations, be they simple, big, flexible, or unexpected.

-- Alison Stirling, Health Promotion Consultant Consultant (on leave), Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse, OHPE Team Member

B. From Click4HP to!

OHPE began in May 1997 with 110 subscribers -- the Ontario participants of Click4HP -- to deliver Ontario-specific and time-sensitive information to an interested audience. In 2002 we hit 2,000 subscribers, and just last week 2005, we added our 4,000th: welcome to all the recent newcomers!

The OHPE website ( also continues to rise in popularity. In January, people from 57 countries visited the OHPE website and viewed over 1,200 pages each day. Our current feature articles and job postings are always popular with website visitors and older feature articles (which go back to 1997!) are still in demand. While we send out timely information each week, the online, searchable database of past issues is proving equally valuable as an information source on health promotion in general.

To some degree we've come full circle: while we still have an Ontario focus and majority of OHPE subscribers are in Ontario, we have subscribers and online interest from all over the world, just like Click4HP!

-- Robyn Kalda, Health Promotion Consultant, Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse, OHPE Team Member

C. Mind-Meeting and Health Promotion Memory

Health promotion informatics, OHPE among them, grew in an environment where there was hunger for connections between people and the projects having an impact. The future of OHPE is determined not so much by emerging technology but by emerging expectations of the new generation entering the health space.

Whether considering health promotion as a profession or as a personal and community concern, they expect to connect with each other, with critical facts, and with inspirational ideas. Consider every communication channel, every theme, every surface as potential for engaging the younger generation. As health promotion increases its success with public and policy consciousness, it will find new demand for its messages, services, and even its media.

Even now, the challenge for OHPE is to fairly encompass the breadth of health promotion. In my view, this effort would be impossible without a network of the programs and practitioners. That network is still within direct reach of the OHPE editorial group and many health promotion pioneers. The future challenge is to facilitate both a network and a scope of health promotion information that is beyond the immediate connection to any editorial group.

What OHPE now provides is a regular, scheduled, mind-meeting: we scan the contents, read or leave. OHPE is also a major store of health promotion memory.

The OHPE of the future should include more diverse contributors and content. It will tailor to the on-demand needs of specific interests and individuals. OHPE delivery will go to the surface of your choice in your preferred format. Its immediate, current, and past messages and contributors will be integrated with the content and networks of emerging alliances. Through deliberate deployment, it can self-monitor, analyze, and report the trends in this re-construction.

-- A. Simon Mielniczuk, Solutions Architect, itscooperative, Former OHPE Team Member

D. The Little E-Bulletin That Could

OHPE came into fruition in the spring of 1997, a time when things were not looking so promising for health promotion in Ontario. Health promoters were struggling to cope with a rise in smoking among young people in the wake of major tobacco tax reductions; the core concepts and values of health promotion were being challenged by the alternative population health paradigm; and, with the "'Common Sense Revolution" in full swing, advocacy on the social determinants of health was relegated, like Lord Voldemort, to "must not be named" status.

Yet through it all, OHPE persevered and grew, slowly but steadily. I now consider it to be an invaluable repository of knowledge about health promotion. When people approach me with questions about health promotion strategies or relevant case studies illustrating health promotion practice, I invariably refer them to the OHPE bulletin's searchable archive.

I'm not sure what the future has in store for OHPE, but if the next 400 issues are as well-written, thorough, and informative as the first 400, I will be more than pleased.

-- Brian Hyndman, Consultant, The Health Communication Unit, OHPE Team Member

E. Coming Soon

The OHPE Editorial team has lots of ideas for new content in upcoming issues. Here is a sneak preview:

* "OHPE talks to," where we interview key people in health promotion

* Reading Circle Booklists for health promoters, including summer reading!

* Health promotion travel guides

* Top ten lists on issues, trends, strategies, etc.

* Health promotion in the news

We'd love to hear *your* ideas about new articles and features. Please email your suggestions to!

-- Suzanne Schwenger, Consultant, Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse, OHPE Team Member

F. Surveying the Subject Searches

I am very pleased that the Subject Search terms ( have been applied in so many ways. They represent a view of health promotion--establishing boundaries, connections, high points just like other maps. We use it widely to assess our coverage of various issues. Over time, I hope we continue to expand the content map, to make it more complete and more engaging.

I am proud to say that in the numerous times I have used the Guided Search in live demos, it never fails to generate a lengthy list of resources, organizations, web sites, etc. But as the issues grow, the danger of having too much information will grow larger: "More than 20 search leads is no leads at all!"

We want to improve the search capacities. As the technology grows and becomes more accessible to us, we can add new dimensions to the search engine: more Boolean operators, more visual, more focused. We are also interested in creating different sorts of output for searches, such as reading lists for courses and print-ready article collections.

I am also very grateful for having OPC as our managing partners over the last few years and to the many contributors who took the time to develop such high quality, comprehensive, and wide-ranging content. I hope that the list of contributors continues to grow, increasing the participation of Ontario Health Promotion Resource Centre members and ever-widening our network of health promoters.

-- Larry Hershfield, Manager, The Health Communication Unit, OHPE Team Member

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III How to Contribute

We welcome submissions of events, announcements, job postings, feature articles, resources and letters to the editor.

In addition, we always welcome your comments on what we do and how we do it. Let us know how you use the newsletter and the website!

Please read the following carefully and let us know if you have any questions by emailing or calling us at 416-408-2249 x265 or toll free at 1-800-263-2846.

A. Editorial Policy

* The Ontario Health Promotion Email (OHPE) bulletin is committed to sharing information about health promotion in a fair, non-partisan and ethical manner. Content for the OHPE is provided by the health promotion community and supplemented by the editorial team.

* OHPE aims to reflect the variety and diversity that is health promotion in Ontario. Accordingly, the selection of content for the bulletin is guided by a framework of health promotion subject areas, including generic strategies, priority populations, issues, settings and determinants of health (to view the framework, go to This framework is reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that it remains a current and relevant template for selecting OHPE content.

* Content is edited for grammar, sense and structure only. The accuracy of the information presented in our feature articles is the responsibility of the original author. Corrections or additions to past content are noted in the OHPE News and Summary section or in our Letters to the Editor column and made to the archived version of the affected issue.

* All content is provided as an information-sharing service and inclusion does not represent endorsement by OPC, THCU, or their funder.

B. General

* Please send us unformatted documents. The OHPE Bulletin is sent in plain text and we cannot include graphics, bold or italics.

* We reserve the right to edit notices for length, consistency and correctness.

* We reserve the right to exclude announcements at the editors' discretion (for e.g., due to space and time constraints or if deemed inappropriate to our audience).

* All submissions can be emailed to

* There is no charge for posting items in our newsletter.

C. Deadlines

* Events, announcements and job postings must be sent by 5:00 p.m. Thursday for inclusion in the next day's issue.**As of October 1, 2004, the deadline will be Thursday at noon.**

* Feature articles and accompanying resources must be submitted nine full days in advance: i.e., 5:00 p.m. Wednesday the week before publication.

* Letters to the editor are welcome at any time.

D. Events, Announcements and Job Postings

* Please keep it short and simple.

* Events and announcements are limited to 150 words.

* Job postings are limited to 200 words and must include location and submission deadlines. The email version of the newsletter will include the title, organization, location, deadline and a brief description with a link to the full posting on our website.

* For all of the above, we recommend submitting a brief description with a link to a website or an email address where people can obtain more detailed information.

E. Letters to the Editor, Comings & Goings, and Other Occasional Columns

* We welcome your comments on anything we publish. Send your letters to

* We are particularly interested in your feedback on our feature articles: did we miss a relevant program, a resource, a point of view?

* While we can't guarantee that your letter will be featured we do promise that all our correspondents be asked for permission before we post.

* You can also say farewell to old colleagues and welcome new ones. We gather your news and compile a monthly round up of who's who and who's where in our Comings & Goings column. Email your news to

* We occasionally compile special columns that collect web resources on such issues as SARS, West Nile, and elections. If you have an idea for such a column, let us know at

* There is no submission deadline for these special items.

F. Feature Articles and Resources

* Feature articles should be approximately 1,000 to 2,000 words and should include an introduction or overview of the issue (including the writer's perspective or context); steps, process or key points; an example or tips for practical application; a conclusion or next steps; and references.

* Articles should be accompanied by key resources for further investigation. The resources can be, for example, organizations, print or electronic articles, journals, websites, listservs or events, and we recommend including about three of each type. Please provide a comment, review or annotation about each resource.

* Please allow up to six weeks for a response from our part-time editorial team.

* More detailed writer's guidelines are available on request.

G. Reprinting and Payment

* The OHPE Bulletin permits reprints--electronic and print--as long as both the author and the OHPE are credited.

* We regret that we are unable to pay our contributors.