I had a good trip to the national meeting of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). In a few days I learned a lot, and I want to share some of the highlights of the meeting with you. The best thing about AMWA is the number of people I met and networked with.

The meeting started off well. The opening session of AMWA began with Jay Ingram, who reported the amazing statistic that only 10 to 25% of the American public can read and understand a science article in the NY Times. His talk focused on how to discuss science with the lay public, which is to tell a story and help people understand the science behind the story you are conveying. This is the focus of the Banff Science Communications Program, whose goal is to build a network of professionals committed to educating people about science.

For my professional development this year I took Art Gertel’s “Fundamentals of Ethics and Practical Applications” workshop. The workshop was fascinating as we debated real life cases including the Youtube documentary “The Price of Life” on the price of health care and the difficult decisions that need to be made. I found this case fascinating and encourage you to view the film, which was nominated for the Munich International Documentary Film Festival.

As I networked and met the exhibitors, I learned about another meeting with professional development opportunities in medical writing: Medical Affairs and Scientific Communications Annual Forum.

At my roundtable on the Do’s and Don’ts of Medical Writing the discussion focused on how to help clients formulate their manuscripts. The idea of making checklists for clients was helpful and providing clients with a list of questions to answer will move manuscript development forward. For help writing manuscripts, a free series of articles are available from Clinical Chemistry. These articles represent a guide to scientific writing and a guide to manuscript review and are FREE. They have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian Turkish, and Japanese.

I taught the workshop entitled “Ethical Standards in Medical Publication” with Ann Davis. The “hot topics” this year were authorship and especially the definition of “substantial contribution.”

The best networking event I attended was Speed Networking! When I returned home, I connected with all of my new contacts, both via email as well as on LinkedIn. I hope you did the same. It helps build your very important network!

I invite you to share your highlights of the AMWA meeting also.

Best regards,

Andrea Gwosdow, Ph.D.

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