A “Pretty Good Miracle” Turns 5

Happy 5th Birthday, GHN!
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Happy 5th Birthday, GHN! (Image: pexels)

Five years ago today, I got up early and pounded out the first issue of what was then called “Global Health eNews.”

Black and white and text only, Issue No. 1 was a very rough approximation of an idea. That first email covered the winner of the $1 million Caplow Children’s Prize, an NEJM article on the global effects of smoking, the 120,000 people fleeing fighting in South Sudan, Bill Gates’s favorite global health graph of 2014, a tribute to the late global health legend Tim Baker, and our very first batch of Quick Hits.

From today’s vantage, that first issue is—as my kids might say—a bit “cringey” but we were trying something new. We were also trying something patently impossible: To synthesize the most important global health news and deliver it every weekday. As you know, global health encompasses a stunningly diverse enterprise that affects the lives of billions of people worldwide. Good luck keeping up with that!

We weren’t the only ones struggling to find the latest news in global health. As word spread of the newsletter, others subscribed and recommended it to friends and colleagues. Today, tens of thousands of you in more than 100 countries receive Global Health NOW every weekday.

We’re honored that so many of you make it a valuable part of your workday, your morning coffee, your post-lunch reboot or part of your evening ritual.

In truth, I sent that first email as a bit of a lark. When I hit send to my colleagues in the Office of External Affairs at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, I had no idea if there would be an issue 100, much less an issue 1246. The reason it continues is because of you, our dedicated readers who send us ideas, correct us when we’re wrong, and share GHN with friends and colleagues. GHN also reached the big 5-year mark thanks to the support of the Bloomberg School’s previous Dean Michael J. Klag and current Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie; previous associate dean Josh Else and current associate dean Heath Elliott; my boss Susan Sperry; and a rather amazing team of talented people. First of whom is GHN’s secret weapon, managing editor Dayna Kerecman Myers. Dayna leads every day’s hunt for the most critical news, writes and edits each issue with astonishing speed and supreme grace under pressure. Without Dayna, I doubt GHN could have made it to its 5th birthday.

Working with Dayna each a.m. is writer and snappy headline guru Annalies Winny. Lindsay Smith Rogers writes daily for us, and Melissa Hartman and Jackie Powder provide regular, essential help. If you see a tweet or Facebook post, you can almost always thank Nick Moran who runs GHN’s social media efforts. Katherine Connolly is our organized and effective outreach coordinator. (If she hasn't been in touch with yet, she soon will be!) And J.L. DeBakey and Erika Juengst have been best-ever partners in launching GHN’s live events. Look for our third later this spring. Special thanks go to Neiman Outlen who keeps our website current and to Keri Barnes and Yolanda Tillett who keep up with our budget.

What does 2019 look like? First, we’ll be delivering GHN to your inbox. That never stops (except for weekends and holidays!). We’ll also celebrating the 5-year mark throughout the spring. Look for a GHN 5th anniversary social media celebration, GHN 5 swag and other projects.

One of our earliest supporters, Dave Cundiff, once called GHN “a pretty good miracle.” I always liked that description.

That you’re still reading us after 5 years is a pretty good miracle in itself. Thanks.

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1 comment

Robert Blystone
January 2, 2019

Thank you for five years of GHN enrichment. This information source has become a vital part of my understanding of the global health field. Many of my undergraduate students use the GHN service as a gateway to the global health profession. I trust the next five years will be even more productive than the first five years. Thank you again.

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