Blogs

Be the first person to recommend this.
Continuing medical education (CME) writers may be a minority membership category within AMWA, but hey, our gig is still pretty sweet. Where else can you earn money while learning about state-of-the-art drugs for scary diseases, telling stories about cool medical breakthroughs, and interacting with brainy thought leaders across multiple specialties? If you’re a freelance writer who has been thinking about entering the CME market, now could be a good time. As you can see from the chart above, commercial support is growing briskly. And, since every accredited CME program must begin with a needs assessment, learning how to write these basic documents would be ...
4 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Tamara Ball, MD Section Editor, Everyday Ethics After a long period of dormancy, a new ethics column, “Everyday Ethics”, premiered in Fall of 2017 ( AMWA Journal . 2017;32(3):120-123 ). “ Another Ethics Column?” described ethics as critical to the survival of our profession and introduced 2 foundational tools, the AMWA Code of Ethics and the RIGHT Model. Beyond the premier, I chose to focus less on how we work, and more on the bioethical issues inherent in the groundbreaking subjects upon ­ which we work. As skills to alter biologic processes are refined, methods for delivering health care are updated, and manipulations of the life’s building blocks ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
Grant reviewers can be finicky. They expect well-written proposals that are easy to read, and they are annoyed when proposals do not meet these expectations—they are only human after all. Unfortunately, investigators who are submitting grant proposals don’t always consider things from the perspectives of their reviewers. And this can quickly result in yet another unfunded proposal, even after spending countless hours writing the proposal and planning a methodologically-rigorous project. This scenario is common; funding rates are low for agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—a primary funding agency for biomedical research. Many investigators ...
1 comment
Be the first person to recommend this.
Laurie Endicott Thomas, MA, ELS Author of Not Trivial: How Studying the Traditional Liberal Arts Can Set You Free www.nottrivialbook.com My AMWA Journal column In the Service of Good Writing teaches you how to use some basic principles from grammar and linguistics to improve your writing. The first step in improving your writing is to learn how to choose the right words. To do that, you need to learn how to make full use out of your dictionary. In my article Definitions: How to Say What You Mean (Vol 30, No. 2), I explain the different kinds of definitions, such as dictionary definitions, stipulative definitions, and Socratic definitions. ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
As medical writers, we are responsible for aspects such as research, grammar, form, flow, context, and many other things. However, during our education, be it at school or on-the-job, we are seldom taught about the world of instructional design, even though it is something that is inherent to our writing. Instructional design takes medical writing one step further and focuses on the importance of the learner, the goals of a program, and the steps required to meet that goal. As writers, we must ensure that our pieces meet the goal of what we are trying to achieve. It is not enough to simply accept a job without asking the proper questions. We must consider the ...
0 comments
3 people recommend this.
By Monica Nicosia, PhD, and Kathy Boltz, PhD Would you like to find tools to help you work more efficiently? Are you leery of technology? Do you worry about cyber security? Do you see yourself in any of these statistics 1 about freelance medical communicators? For time tracking, 32% use spreadsheets and 40% don’t use any software/app For accounting/bookkeeping, 42% use spreadsheets and 20% don’t use any software/app If you answered yes to any of these questions, come to our Tools to Thrive in a Digital World session at the 2018 AMWA Medical Writing & Communication Conference . During this session, we are going to unpack the ...
1 comment
Be the first person to recommend this.
I always obtain some new ideas and tips for boosting productivity at the AMWA annual conference and other AMWA meetings. This year I’m illustrating the most effective 27 tips and strategies for efficiently writing a scientific or clinical manuscript on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 9 am to 10 am at the AMWA annual conference in Washington, DC. Many of the tips are applicable to writing other types of documents. Here’s a brief teaser: Efficiently writing any document, especially a scientific or clinical manuscript, reduces your stress and helps you provide the “on time, on target, and on budget” deliverable to your boss or clients. To make the most of your time, the ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
Kristina Wasson-Blader, PhD, ELS Editor-at-Large Can you believe it’s been 7 months since the Medical Writing & Communication Conference in Orlando, Florida? It was about this time last year that I sat down and read the Conference Brochure to start my plan of what I wanted to attend. As I was cleaning my office recently, I came across that list (we can talk about my paper hoarding later). Looking over this list, I realized that there were a lot of open sessions I wanted to attend but ended up at different sessions during those times. Fortunately, the AMWA Journal had volunteer reporters who attended most of the open sessions and provided summaries of ...
0 comments

Finding Your Happy

1 person recommends this.
PhD, postdoc, professor. Secure funding, publish results, repeat. If you would have asked me 13 years ago what my career path as a blossoming research scientist was going to look like, it probably would have been something along those lines. I definitely would not have told you that I was going to be a medical writer. As many experience, PhD students are often presented with one career path: research. Maybe a foray into government or industry, but always at the bench; that’s what PhDs are supposed to do. Somewhere in my third year I realized that, although I loved learning and talking about science, I didn’t necessarily love doing science. I loved teaching ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
Ruwaida Vakil, MSc Freelance Forum section editor Freelance medical writers often work from home and miss out on the daily interactions that benefit many onsite medical writers. Networking both in person and online, intelligently sourcing online information, and attending conferences can help overcome these barriers. The Freelance Forum of the AMWA Journal is a section dedicated to the issues frequently faced by freelances. In each issue, your fellow AMWA freelances provide their expertise on the most common questions that freelances face. In the Spring 2018 issue ( Vol 33, No 1 ) of the Freelance Forum several experienced freelances participated in ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Mary E. Knatterud, PhD is the founder and coordinator of the North Central Chapter Book Club With apologies to Shakespeare for the title of this blog (a genre he no doubt would’ve found both playful and useful), this 12th year of my chapter’s Book Club can be summed up in the following equation: 3 books on medicine/communication per year + a mean of 4 to 5 non-mean AMWA colleagues = immeasurable professional, intellectual, and social growth A dozen years ago, after conversations with half-a-dozen fellow longtime North Central Chapter members also seeking to animate and regularize our programming, I organized a Book Club, which first met in January 2007. ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
Dominic De Bellis, PhD Section Editor, AMWA Journal Science Series As a music lover and musician I remember ( key word here! ) when Paul Simon’s Graceland album was released on CD (1986, Warner Bros. Records, Inc.). And, yes the play on words with the song title above should become evident as you continue reading. The song title describes “a kind of South African funk/dance groove,” explained Paul Simon in the liner notes to this CD; and it’s a catchy groove too! But, more poignantly for me, it reminds me that remembering this song title, or any other past fact no matter how new or old, is something more precious than we realize. Let’s take a look at ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Here at AMWA, we know our members are our most valuable benefit. Each and every one of you is professional, ethical, and incredibly generous with your time and expertise. Thanks to you, AMWA is known for being a warm and welcoming community that shares a common purpose to promote excellence in medical communication. With your support, AMWA can expand this amazing community and add more value to your membership experience. Invite a medical writing colleague to join AMWA today! For every member who joins AMWA thanks to your referral, you will be entered into a raffle to win a free registration for the Medical Writing & Communication Conference . As ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
It’s 2018, and women in America still have to work until Tuesday to earn what men earned by Friday of the previous week. If you’re a woman you should be outraged. And if you’re a man, you should also be outraged. Today, April 10, is Equal Pay Day. I support Equal Pay Day, and the efforts of the National Committee on Pay Equity . Note that I don’t “celebrate” Equal Pay Day. That’s because, unfortunately, there’s not much to celebrate. When the Equal Pay Act was signed in 1963, women earned 59 cents on average for every dollar earned by men. According to a 2003 report, the US General Accounting Office noted a 20% gap in earnings between women and men that couldn’t ...
0 comments
2 people recommend this.
Kimberly Korwek, PhD Around the Career Block section editor AMWA is well known as a valuable resource for new medical writers, but it offers a wealth of career-building tools for every stage. I have selected 3 articles that have some great insight for your career, whether you are just starting out, looking for your next move, or just want to keep yourself competitive. Whether you are booking your first client or your fiftieth, a little inside perspective from a hiring manager never hurts. In her article, Getting Noticed, Hired, and Rehired: Tips from an In-House Freelance Hiring Manager , Linda Rinehart shares her advice for landing a job—and keeping ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
Jennifer Bridgers, MS, MWC Regulatory Insights Editor, AMWA Journal The AMWA Journal Winter 2017 issue offered a diverse selection of articles about clinical trials. In conjunction with this issue, I want to share some resources from the AMWA Journal that discuss ways to plan ahead in clinical trials. As with any project, good planning helps achieve better results when conducting clinical trials.   At their most basic, clinical trials seek to answer the research question with meaningful results while minimizing the burden on participants. In Hypothesis Testing in Clinical Trials , Thomas M. Schindler discussed hypothesis testing, including ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
Cyndy Kryder, MS Social Media Section Editor The fourth week in January is already underway. Have you kept your 2018 resolutions? The AMWA Journal has. Throughout the year AMWA Journal section editors will be curating articles from past issues around selected topics and sharing that content with you. We’re kicking off the year with a focus on social media. Have you resolved to build your brand through the use of Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms? If so, then these 3 AMWA Journal articles can help guide you. Click here to download the compilation. The first article, Using Social Media for Marketing: Harnessing the Power of Twitter, ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Welcome to 2018! The beginning of a new year is always a wonderful time to revisit the themes and stories that caught our shared attention in the past year. Over the course of 2017, AMWA members explored new research, guidelines, and technological advances that affect the dynamic profession of medical communication. Medical Communication News , AMWA’s bimonthly e-newsletter for members, provides an executive summary of noteworthy articles of interest to the medical communication industry. In 2017, the three most popular Medical Communication News article themes were Predatory journals Open-access publishing Policies and procedures for peer review ...
0 comments
1 person recommends this.
The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) is deeply concerned about the controversy surrounding an article that appeared on Friday, December 15, in The Washington Post, “ CDC gets list of forbidden words: fetus, transgender, diversity .” Although the CDC has not yet released its own statement, many national health organizations have issued strong statements in response to The Washington Post article, including the American Medical Association , the American Association for the Advancement of Science , the Center for Plain Language , the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy , the HIV Medicine Association , the Pediatric Infectious ...
0 comments
Be the first person to recommend this.
Danny Benau, Director of Biomedical Writing Programs The Master of Science in Biomedical Writing program at The University of the Sciences is unique because it is a fully online academic program that incorporates all three general areas of medical writing: regulatory, promotional, and education as an integrated curriculum granting academic credit. The two certificate programs: Regulatory Writing and Marketing Writing, are specialized subsets of the MS program. The certificate programs are recommended for people who are already in the medical writing industry, want the knowledge from a select set of courses, and don’t want another degree. One of the things ...
0 comments