Thursday, January 29, 2009

Poistion in Houston, TX

Assistant Production Editor

Texas Heart Institute Journal

Duties: Uses Editorial Manager software to monitor and control the flow of manuscripts through the review process; edits medical manuscripts; assists the Production Manager; and helps to assure accuracy, efficiency, and adherence to bimonthly publication schedule.

Qualifications: Bachelor's degree in the humanities (preferably English) or the basic sciences (preferably biology). Three years of editorial or professional writing experience. Strong English literacy and close attention to detail in all aspects of work. Strong computer skills. Must be willing to learn Editorial Manager.

This is a mid-level position with excellent advancement opportunities. To apply, view the job listing at

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

On Being a Medical Writer

One distinctive characteristic any medical or science writer should have is the drive to communicate scientific facts, not subjective ideas. In other words, we do evidence-based writing, not emotional I-feel-like-it stories that are not backed up by science.

This doesn't mean that our articles, books, or documents should not have a human side, but it means that we always go back to the data, to what the science says. Otherwise, there would be no difference between a medical writer and a novelist (I write fiction too, but I would never take the same artistic liberties I take then, when doing a medical writing piece).

All this rambling comes about because of an article I just read by CNN"s Dr. Gupta. Interestingly, it's about my topic of expertise, vaccine safety, so I have a good grasp of the scientific issues at hand. Here's an excerpt from Gupta's article:

Stories suggesting a link between vaccines and autism are very pervasive and proponents of the theory are vocal. But even though there is no scientifically sound research to support it, the speculation persists. Despite the emotion inherent in this debate, I am a medical writer who has read many studies finding no connection between autism and vaccines– including a recent one from California showing that the incidence of autism had actually gone up despite the removal of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal from most vaccines and an earlier study from Denmark.

Still, in the back of my mind, a little voice whispered, “What if one of my girls is genetically predisposed, and this is the environmental trigger…” Or “What if one of my girls receives one too many vaccines today, and it pushes her immune system over the edge.”

Okay. So he knows the science doesn't back up the alleged vaccines-autism link, but still he fears. Is that human? Well, yes, but most humans are not evidence-based. Science and medicine, however, must be. And so do medical writers.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Medical Writing Jobs

Job Title : Scientific Writer
Location : Montville, NJ
Duration: Full-Time

Job Title : Sr Medical Writer
Location : Northridge , CA
Duration: Full-Time

Job Title : Senior Medical Writer
Location : South San Francisco, CA
Duration: Full-Time

Requirement :

• Bachelor’s Degree

• At least 2 to 3 years of medical writing work experience.

Click here for more information.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Transferable Skills on a Graduate Resume

By Louise Garrett (Guest blogger)

College students and new graduates often feel they have nothing to include on a resume when conducting job search and for using with job applications. College students' work experience is often seemingly unrelated to their job targets, and aside from that, the only information left to include is education. However, while this may seem like the case, it simply isn't so!

Transferable Skills

One method of approaching a college student or new graduate resume is to focus on transferable skills. These skills are applicable to different situations. The ability to communicate well, for example, is a skill that is useful in any industry or position. Other transferable skills may include the ability to work well with numbers, sales skills, or an ability to solve problems by looking at the big picture. These are only a few examples.

How do you list transferable skills? There are a number of ways to include transferable skills in your resume, job application, and cover letter. The following are some tips for various sections of the resume.

The Summary or Profile

Objective statements are out. Profiles are in. Open with a brief introductory paragraph describing your most "sellable" points. Briefly list transferable skills here, or present them in a keyword summary list. This is exactly as it sounds: a list of keywords. Use those that show your transferable skills.


Depending on your college major, you likely had to write papers, complete projects, or both. What were the outcomes of these? Did you conduct comprehensive research on a subject? Design an engineering plan? Were these published or put into use in the "real world"? Use as much of your educational experience to your advantage. You can also include a summary of coursework, which often demonstrates transferable skills that are used in the educational setting and in the world of business.

Employment History

Many college students have a work history unrelated to their targeted field. If this is true for you, take heart. You can include many transferable skills on your college or new graduate resume. At the most basic, you likely gained professional skills such as dependability, working with others, collaborating on projects, communicating with clients or customers, and much more. Your work history may not be as unrelated as it first seems.

Additional Information

Any volunteer work or memberships may lead to transferable skills. Just as your employment history helps you learn transferable skills, so too does volunteer work. It also demonstrates a commitment to helping others. If you've fulfilled any roles in a professional organization, this too can show transferable (and sometimes directly related) skills.

When you take the time to thoroughly review your experience, education, and other related activities, you will discover a number of transferable skills. Use these to your advantage! Your resume, college application, job application, or cover letter will be much stronger for it.

About the Author: specializes in writing graduate resumes and college admission documents. With dozens of professional resume writers and education specialists, and some of the finest editing staff in the industry, we have effectively helped thousands of clients launch their post-graduate careers and successfully gain admission to their schools of choice. Article Source here.

AMWA Webinar Reminder

JoAnn Hackos, PhD, will present "Surviving and Thriving in a Flat World" from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm Eastern Time on Thursday, February 5, 2009. The cost is $50 (US) for AMWA members ($150 for nonmembers). More information here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Upcoming Courses Feedback

We're in the process of developing two new courses at, that will teach students how to write Clinical Trial Reports and Grants. Many people have asked me about training resources on these topics, so it's time to work on this.

What would you like to see in these courses? What other courses would you be interested in?

Thanks for reading and for your comments!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Call for Papers on Medical Writing

The Editor and Editorial Board of Written Communication invite article submissions for a special issue on research in writing and medicine. Submissions from established and new scholars of writing theory and research are welcome. The special issue will be published as Volume 26, Issue 3, of the journal, in July 2009.
More info here.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Medical Writing Events

Here are a a couple of events I found advertised on the Web (I can't assure whether they're good or not):

Webinar: Drug delivery systems for medical writers. Thursday, January 22, 2009 from 7-8 pm ETS.

EMWA Seminar: Writing Protocols – collaboration and compromise or conflict and confusion? 24 February at Novotel London Paddington.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Note About Posts and a Freelance Opportunity

The new year has started with great changes for my family. We're moving out of the state in early March and the planning has adsorbed my thoughts and my time. That's why I haven't been posting to the blog more often in the past few days.

Anyway, I found this medical writing freelance opportunity that you may want to check out.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

News Release: Continuing Medical Education (CME) Expert Launches Training Program for Medical Writers has partnered with CME consultant, Johanna Lackner-Marx, MPH, MSW, to offer a training program that provides the knowledge, skills, and experience writers need to enter the continuing medical education (CME) industry.

“Writing for the highly regulated CME industry can be very lucrative,” Lackner-Marx says. “But few medical writers have knowledge of the specific requirements and guidelines set by the American Council on Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the American Medical Association (AMA), putting writers with competency in CME in demand.”

The program, Become a CME Specialist: Training for Medical Writers, is offered at three levels: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. The basic and intermediate courses are designed to teach the fundamentals of CME with varying degrees of depth, allowing medical writers to determine if CME is right for them and adding to their professional tool box. The advanced course goes beyond this, providing one-to-one coaching and resources that will be helpful to those who want to start their own CME freelance business.

Ms. Lackner-Marx has also developed a pilot program that places participants of the advanced course with medical writing companies in an internship situation.

Karen Overstreet, EdD, RPh, FACME, CCMEP, president-elect of the National Commission for Certification of CME Professionals (NC-CME), says the internship program is an excellent idea. “It’s a win-win. I anticipate education companies will line up for this opportunity. They get extra help, and writers get real experience they can put on their resume and a chance to make connections in the industry.”

Become a CME Specialist is an online, interactive course that does not require prior CME experience. Course content details and enrollment information are available at

As a CME consultant, Ms. Lackner-Marx has collaborated with thought leaders and medical experts to create over forty live and enduring CME programs. She also trains staffs of medical associations, hospitals, and specialty organizations to develop and implement CME that is compliant with ACCME standards and guidelines. She is the founder of InQuill Medical Communications, a medical writing and CME consultancy company. If you are a CME provider and would like to learn how to have an advanced student placed with your company through the internship program, please contact Ms. Lackner-Marx. is the leading online educational resource for medical and health writers.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

CME Course Update

Earlier this week I was reviewing the first module of Johanna Lackner-Marx's course, Become a Continuing Medical Education (CME) Specialist. I can tell you that it has great insider information and practical advice. She has been working hard on offering a great course and has added some more lessons since our first announcement in last month's teleseminar. Here's an update.

The course contains now eight modules. The first five modules are available to all three levels (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced) of the course. The sixth, seventh and eighth modules are for students in the Advanced Level only. No prior CME experience or knowledge is required.

Module I - The Evolving Environment of CME
Introduction to CME
History of the Accrediting Council for Continuing Medical Education
Definition of CME - what qualifies and what doesn’t
Stakeholders and their roles
History of CME regulation
Current state of CME regulation

Module II - Adult Learning Theory
Learning styles
How physicians learn
Adult learning theories and CME Learning styles
Variables affecting adult learning
12 Principles for Effective CME Learning

Module III - Planning CME
Introduction to CME planning
Gap Analysis
How to write Needs Assessments
How to write Learning Objectives
How to write effective Evaluations
Measurable outcomes in CME

Module IV - CME Content
Introduction to CME content
Regulations regarding commercial support of CME programs
Regulations common to all content formats
Regulations for print content and online content
Ensuring content validity
Creating PowerPoint presentations
Collaborating with faculty

Module V - Promotional Materials
Common promotional formats
Required language for promotional pieces
Copyright law as it applies to CME documents and content

Module VI - Compelling CME (Advanced Level Only)
Elements of effective CME
Principles of information retention
From learning to behavior change
Creating integrated CME
Techniques for creating compelling CME

Module VII - Building Your CME Business (Advanced Level only)
Developing a business model
Sources for finding clients
Protecting yourself from liability
Associations and networking
Staying organized

Module VIII - CME Internship (Advanced Level Only)

If you want more information about the course, click here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year Resolutions

Here's something I posted a year ago that may help you if you are thinking about some resolutions for 2009.

I want to encourage you to write your own medical writing resolutions for this year and to review them every once in a while. Below are some "sample resolutions" that you can fit to your needs.
  • Publish 5-10 health-related articles in consumer health publications
  • Attend the AMWA Annual Conference (or a chapter conference)
  • Enroll in a medical writing certificate or graduate program
  • Submit my CV to medical writing recruiters
  • Write a book in my area of expertise (or collaborate with an expert)
  • Increase my number of freelance clients by 20%
  • Leave my job and become a freelancer (or vice versa)
  • Create my own Web site and market my writing/editing services
  • Start a blog on my area of expertise
  • Go to medical school (not recommended for everyone!)
  • Increase my rates (for freelancers)
  • Obtain a salary raise (check out this article about getting a bigger raise)
If you are up to it, I suggest you add completion dates in advance to every goal and write down specific actions you need to take to accomplish them. Finally, share your goals with people that can help you achieve them. This will boost your success chances greatly.

Last year, I suggested a great book to help you with your personal goals, Jack Canfield's The Success Principles. An even better one that I'm reading right now is Utmost Living by Tim Storey.

Thanks for reading and happy new year!

Jobs for the New Year