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Targeted survey of the IHP newsletter: “A bit more of ‘less is more’ will take you to the next level…”

By Kristof Decoster
on June 17, 2015

Recently we did a ‘targeted survey’ of the IHP newsletter among 100 subscribers we consider as more or less representative of the (multiple) target audiences we aim for with the weekly IHP newsletter.  The response rate was more than decent (47 out of 100 filled in the survey). By now we duly wrote a proper, short & “action-oriented” report. But let’s not bore you with that.

In this short blog post, we just want to list a few key messages, drawing upon some quotes and other feedback we received from the respondents, without trying to be exhaustive (we leave that for the newsletter itself).

Thanks again to all respondents who filled out the survey. And be sure that we’ll try to implement many of your suggestions.


  1. You won’t be surprised much but the newsletter is still considered TOO LONG. (one particular respondent used capital letters to get his/her message across – rest assured, we HEARD YOU!!!)
  2. People use the newsletter in very different ways. Most scan the newsletter, click on a few links & read some parts and/or articles they like immediately (or put it off a bit till there’s a ‘procrastination moment’). At least one respondent, though, a Braveheart, “immediately reads it to the bitter end”.
  3. Alternating intros by the editor and EV short reflections seem to be preferred by most respondents. Most people enjoy the diversity of perspectives and the ‘breath of fresh air’ from young scholars from all over the world (also in the Featured articles).
  4. Opinions on the ITM editor (euhm, that would be me) differ. Political stances and a bit of IHP camp tend to be appreciated, though not by all (some remarks are considered “borderline offensive” ). Others seem to “enjoy the lighthearted and undisguised way in which the editor presents his political philosophy”, even if they consider it often as “hopelessly naïve”. ( well, it’s a difficult art, as Tim Hunt and many others can testify. No doubt I get this balancing act wrong sometimes, but the intention is never really to offend people, in case you’d wonder. But if I do happen to go “over the line” for some, let’s not blame the fact that I’m a man, fail to pass the ‘posh test’, or  am a non-native speaker …   – in true IHP fashion,  let’s just blame Big Pharma!)
  5. Respondents understand that we tend to focus in the newsletter on ‘what’s in the global health news’, but at least one person mentioned loud and clear (s)he’s “had enough of Ebola now, thank you very much!”. (so do we, but that damned virus just won’t go away)
  6. Some respondents feel that influential global health voices from the North (enter Richard H and the rest…) are too prominent in the newsletter. Let’s just admit here, for once and for all: we’re hard core fans of Richard (especially when he laments the dire state of the planet, science, … ). And yes,  ‘UHC for all’ does seem to  imply “Tim Evans 4 all” too,  apparently, especially in this all-important year 2015. Some people really are omnipresent on the global health scene.
  7. The ‘Highlights of the week’ section is considered key, in order to be able to digest & manage the information overload. As for the rest of the newsletter, at least one subscriber noted – aptly – that he/she doesn’t really get the structure of the rest of the newsletter (neither do we, but we’ll try to do something about it, once the web designer is back)
  8. Better coordination with HS Global (including HS Global thematic groups) is encouraged by some. ( We’ll consider this, but here we don’t want to overlap with HS Global’s own newsletter, which is doing a fine job.)
  9. “A bit more of ‘less is more’ will take you to the next level.”  (we wholeheartedly agree, but easier said than done…)


On this final note, we hope you do read Friday’s IHP issue!

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