From the founding editors: Beginners' luck, pluck, and conviction

From the founding editors

Beginners' luck, pluck, and conviction

The appearance of the Harvard Health Letter (initially titled the Harvard Medical School Health Letter) 30 years ago represented the triumph of conviction over amateurism.

The conviction, shared by both of us, was that it was high time for a leading medical school abounding in clinical and research expertise to engage a public hungry for reliable health information.

Our amateurism can be best appreciated in the way we set about to launch the newsletter. There were no business or publication consultants, no focus groups, no financing arrangements, no production facility or mailing house. An impulsive decision was made to prepare material to be printed up and distributed monthly to "bulk subscribers," with single-destination shipments (minimum of 50 copies) at a charge of a dollar a year per copy. Somehow the word got out that a real bargain was to be had. Enough small businesses, schools, and other organizations were interested to get us going. There was no thought of salaries for our effort. Indeed, Tim coughed up $400 to enroll his church congregation.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »