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March 2006 OHPE Subscriber Survey: Overview of Results

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I Introduction

The Ontario Health Promotion E-mail (OHPE) Bulletin is a free weekly
electronic news and resources publication produced by the Ontario
Prevention Clearinghouse and The Health Communication Unit. Current and
past OHPE Bulletins are also available on our searchable website,
http://www.ohpe.ca.  Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health
Promotion, the OHPE Bulletin serves as a venue for information and
knowledge exchange between community leaders, researchers and
practitioners with an interest in health promotion.

To ensure that the Bulletin continues to meet the information needs and
health promotion interests of its subscribers, in March 2006 we
conducted an evaluation survey of newsletter subscribers. A total of
1,018 subscribers responded.  Thanks to each of you!  Your
comments and feedback are helping us to determine the usefulness and
the effectiveness of the OHPE Bulletin  and improve the structure,
content, and accessibility of the Bulletin and its website.

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II Who subscribes to OHPE?

Nearly a third of OHPE subscribers work in Ontario public health
units.  Many other subscribers work in non-profit organizations;
in health, nutrition or recreation settings; in education settings; or
for various levels of government.  List 1 is a full list of
organization types and response frequencies.

List 1:  What type of organization do you work at (or represent)?

  • OHPRS member organization / 3.3%
  • Ontario Public Health Unit / 30.5%
  • Ontario Community Health Centre / 4.6%
  • Health, nutrition, or recreation setting (defined
    broadly--includes public health settings outside Ontario, all health
    care and allied settings, doulas, personal trainers, etc.) / 15.6%
  • Government (all levels of government/public service) / 14.5%
  • Community coalition, council or network / 4.3%
  • NGO / non-profit / volunteer organization / 18.7%
  • Education (students and educators from kindergarten to university level) / 15.3%
  • Environment-focused organization / 0.6%
  • Media, library or allied information settings / 1.4%
  • Child or youth-oriented organization or group / 2.9%
  • First Nations / Native / Aboriginal group / 0.8%
  • Private sector (lawyers, consultants, etc.) / 8.6%
  • General public / 7.0%
  • Total Respondents / 100.0%

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III What roles OHPE do subscribers have?

We also asked what role OHPE readers play within their
organization(s).  To minimize responses of "Other," we derived the
list of options from our 1999 survey.  Health promoters, various
types of managers, researchers/evaluators, nurses, and consultants were
the most common roles.  List 2 has a full list of roles and
response frequencies.

List 2: Describe your role within your organization

  • Health promoter/educator / 27.9%
  • Manager/ Supervisor / 18.2%
  • Consultant / 14.2%
  • Public health nurse/Nurse / 14.5%
  • Researcher/Evaluator / 16.2%
  • Nutritionist/Dietitian / 4.8%
  • Coordinator/Project manager / 17.6%
  • Student / 6.7%
  • Faculty/Teacher/Instructor / 6.4%
  • Planner/Policy / 8.6%
  • Communications / 8.1%
  • Community development / 8.3%
  • Information services / 5.6%
  • Other health professional / 4.2%
  • Advocacy/lobbying / 4.5%
  • Board member / 1.9%
  • Editor / 2.5%
  • Administration / 3.5%
  • Volunteer / 3.8%
  • Public health inspector / 0.3%
  • Other (please specify) / 8.4%
  • Total Respondents / 100.0%

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IV Where do OHPE subscribers live and work?

Over 85% of OHPE subscribers are in Ontario.  This is no surprise,
as OHPE has a mandate to cover Ontario.  About another 10% are
elsewhere in Canada, and the final 5% are international. Interestingly,
OHPE has more subscribers in Australia and Europe than we have just
over our southern border in the United States.

OHPE has no readers in Canada's north (Nunavut, Northwest Territories
and Yukon), Mexico, the Caribbean, Russia, the Middle East, or
Antarctica.  List 3 gives a full breakdown of subscribers'
locations.

List 3: Where is your organization or home located?

  • Ontario--North (Algoma, Muskoka, Parry Sound, Manitoulin,
    Nipissing, Kenora, Rainy River, Cochrane, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, etc.) /
    6.2%
  • Ontario--East (Stormont/Dundas/Glengarry, Prescott-Russell,
    Hastings, Prince Edward, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, Leeds &
    Grenville, Lanark, Ottawa-Carleton, Renfrew, etc.) / 11.6%
  • Ontario--Central East (Durham, Haliburton, Victoria, Peterborough, Simcoe, York, Northumberland, etc.) / 7.8%
  • Ontario--Central South (Brant, Haldimand-Norfolk, Hamilton-Wentworth, Niagara, etc.) / 7.8%
  • Ontario-- Toronto (postal codes beginning with M) / 32.1%
  • Ontario--Central West (Halton, Peel, Waterloo, Wellington, Dufferin, etc.) / 15.0%
  • Ontario--South West  (Bruce, Grey, Elgin, Huron, Kent, Lambton, Middlesex, Oxford, Perth, Essex) / 5.9%
  • Canada--British Columbia / 2.8%
  • Canada--Alberta / 1.8%
  • Canada--Saskatchewan / 0.7%
  • Canada--Manitoba / 1.2%
  • Canada--Québec / 0.9%
  • Canada--Nova Scotia / 1.5%
  • Canada--New Brunswick / 0.4%
  • Canada--Newfoundland & Labrador / 0.1%
  • Canada--Prince Edward Island / 0.2%
  • United States / 0.6%
  • Central or South America / 0.1%
  • Europe and Greenland / 1.3%
  • Africa / 0.1%
  • India / 0.1%
  • Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, etc.) / 1.5%
  • Asia / 0.3%
  • Total Respondents / 100.0%

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V Respondent Comments: Things People Liked

Survey respondents liked many things about the e-mail OHPE
Bulletin.  Frequent qualities identified  were
concise/condensed/short/easy to scan, well-organized, and up-to-date,
weekly frequency, job postings, and wide range of topics.

Respondents also commented about the OHPE website,
http://www.ohpe.ca.  Frequent qualities identified were easy to
access, easy to search, ability to search for items in past issues, and
friendly navigation.

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VI Respondent Comments: Things People Would Change About the E-mail OHPE Bulletin

A I'm having trouble with the email links / the website asks me for a password

That "not authorized" message appears when the links break -- typically
because they're long and sometimes wrap onto a second line in the email
message.  It all depends on what email program you're using, what
browser you're using, and how those two things together handle long
links.  Sometimes it's necessary to copy and paste URLs into your
browser in two parts.  We hope our next website update will reduce
this problem (it produces much shorter links).

B I preferred the old plain-text format

We still offer a text-only format, where you get the full text of each
item.  To switch to the plain-text list, write us at info@ohpe.ca.

C Better layout

We heard a lot of suggestions about the layout of the newsletter.  We're considering various options!

D Annotate the links

Many people have said they'd like more than just links and deadline
dates in the HTML newsletter.  We're working on it, in conjunction
with our next website update.

E More opportunities for discussion

We welcome Letters to the Editor on any previously published comments,
as well as all of your announcements, events, and job postings. 
While OHPE is not set up to be a two-way discussion forum for health
promoters, there are many other listservs that fill that niche. 
Click4HP, which is co-facilitated by OPC (one of OHPE's partner
organizations), is one such listserv.  You can subscribe through
the list's webpage: http://www.click4hp.ca.

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VII Respondent Comments: Things People Would Change About the OHPE Website

A More user-friendly/better search functions

We're working on this.  As many people loved the usability of the
site as hated it, so we're focusing more on small tweaks than on a
major overhaul.  The next website update does include
much-improved search features.

B Calendar of events

Health Canada has a calendar that lists health-related days (at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/conferences/calend/index_e.html)

On the OHPE website, the events listings are chronological and can be read as a sort of calendar.

C More edgy stuff!

We'd love to include edgy material!  However, many of OHPE's
readers are in large organizations with very sensitive spam and
vocabulary filters.  For example, every time we post something
about S__ual Health we receive many bounced messages; people simply
don't get that OHPE delivered to their mailboxes.  We need to
strike a balance between providing a good picture of what's happening
in health promotion and what will get through people's filters at
work.  As most of our content is reader submitted, we also cannot
publish what we are not sent. If you aren't sure if something is
suitable, just send it in and if for some reason we cannot include it,
we are always willing to discuss the reasons.

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VIII Respondent Comments: Things People Would Change About OHPE Content

A Bilingual / French version

There is already a French-language health promotion bulletin, Le
Bloc-Notes, produced by OPC.  If you're interested in subscribing,
write us at leblocnotes@ohpe.ca and we'll make sure you're signed up.

B Too Toronto-centric!

We share your concern and we do what we can to extend our reach beyond
the GTA. OHPE readers send many of the events, announcements, and job
postings to us.  We encourage all readers, but particularly those
of you who are outside Toronto, to email your listings to us at
info@ohpe.ca.

C Better notice for events

We post events as we find out about them.  If an event's
organizers tell us about the event, it's  usually posted well in
advance.  If we just happen upon a notice of the event, sometimes
it's only a few days away.  We err on the side of posting events
regardless of date.

D Include salaries on job postings

We agree that job postings are more useful when they include salary
information.  We encourage employers to include such information
in their job postings.

E More national/international content

This was a common request.  We are funded to provide provincial
coverage at the moment.  We would certainly consider expanding to
provide national or international coverage should an appropriate
funding opportunity appear.

F More for students!

We agree!  We encourage student- and entry-level job postings and other items of interest to students.

G Get Noelle to cross the Don Valley!

There be dragons. We do not want our Editor eaten.

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IX Topics of Interest

We asked about topics that have not been covered, or that respondents
would like to see more of, in the Bulletin.  Popular categories of
answers included

  • Mental health
  • Environmental health
  • Sexual health
  • Violence and injury prevention (including domestic violence)
  • Determinants of health
  • General health promotion topics, issues, and settings (capacity
    building, workplace health, school health, policy/advocacy, health
    promotion theory, community development, best practices, etc.)
  • Evaluation and research
  • Career issues
  • Healthcare system: what's happening at the various points within
    the healthcare system (primary care, hospitals, LHINs, Ministry of
    Health and Ministry of Health Promotion, Health Canada, etc.)
  • Specific populations:  seniors, families, youth, nurses,
  • Tobacco, alcohol and other substance use

Have a look, and if you'd like to write on these topics, or know
someone who'd be a good person to ask, let us know by writing
editor@ohpe.ca.

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X Conclusion

This is just a brief overview of some of the survey results. 
We're still deep in data analysis, so if you have any questions about a
survey question that was covered (or not covered) here, please write us
at info@ohpe.ca.

Thank you again to everyone who answered the survey--your answers and
suggestions have both reassured us that OHPE is on the right track, and
given us many suggestions of ways we could change OHPE to improve its
usefulness to you.