2004 AMWA Regional Conference, Southeast Chapter
The 2004 AMWA Southeast Chapter Conference drew the largest attendance this chapter has had in 3 years. The 23 participants traveled from 10 states to study with guest instructor, Joan Nilson, MA, who conducted two excellent courses on Grant Writing: NIH and non-NIH Resource Options and Strategies [#206] and Bibliographic Resources for Medical Communicators [#102]. Nilson earned outstanding reviews from all the participants. On the evening before the conference, Southeast chapter board members welcomed Nilson and the participants to Decatur, where they gathered at the Sage restaurant for a friendly meet and greet. Travelers to Atlanta enjoyed the ease of taking the MARTA directly from the airport to Decatur for the conference. Participants had a wide range of medical writing experience from the novice to the career medical writer.
The Business of Medical Writing
The panel discussion presented by the Southeast chapter of the American Medical Writers Association, “The Business of Medical Writing,” was held on Saturday, April 24, 2004, at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. The Saturday meeting was well attended by members and colleagues from outside Atlanta and guest organizations.
Our panel of experts shared a wealth of experience and advice for those colleagues just getting started in medical writing, developing new prospects for their medical writing career, or for those colleagues needing some extra freelance work tips.
Four speakers gave various angles of the business of medical writing:
- Dan DeNoon-Medical writing from a staff writer’s perspective: conference coverage, regular features, deadlines, developing sources, etc.
- Emma Hitt-Medical writing from a freelance/sole proprietor perspective, which includes getting clients, how to turn new clients into regular clients, keeping the freelance records straight, using technology to enhance your freelance business.
- Margaret Clark-Medical/technical writing in different mediums: television, Web, CD ROM, CME, books, consumer writing, and beyond.
- Marti Hagan-What editors/clients want or expect from a medical writer, including different styles of writing, academic vs. technical, etc.
Daniel J. DeNoon is senior medical writer for WebMD, where he researches and reports dailynews stories and health features. Before joining WebMD in 1999, DeNoon was senior editor for CW Henderson publications and a freelance medical writer, editor, and communications consultant. He began his career as a daily newspaper reporter. DeNoon became a full-time medical journalist in 1985. A charter member of the International AIDS Society, he was founding editor of the newsletters AIDSWeekly and VaccineWeekly and is the author of AIDS Therapies, a 1,500-page encyclopedia of AIDS treatments and vaccines. DeNoon is the recipient of several professional awards, including a commendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for his work during the 2001–2002 bioterrorist attacks. DeNoon earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology and religion from Emory University.
Emma Hitt, PhD, is a medical writer and journalist and has been freelancing since 1997. She writes for a diverse range of clients, including The Scientist, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Medscape, Allure Magazine, and others. Hitt’s writing includes continuing medical education, medical news, feature writing, and press releases. She has an active Web site presence at: http://www.emmasciencewriter.com. Hitt graduated from Emory University in 2001 with a PhD in Nutrition (molecular biology/cancer emphasis) and more recently earned an MS in technical communication from Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta. She is the location coordinator for the AMWA-SE chapter.
Margaret Varnell Clark, RN, RRT-NPS, is a best selling author and is an award-winning writer for Advance News since 1990, a Division of Merion Publications. She is known for her work with Reuter’s Health, Medscape, CBS News, and PBS television. Clark is the 1996 recipient of the Bird Lifetime Achievement Award given by the American Association of Respiratory Care. She serves on several boards for the American College of Chest Physicians, and has worked extensively in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Central America. Among her clients are Percussionnaire, Inc.; Glaxo Wellcome; Schering-Plough, Inc.; The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts – UK; The American periOperative Nurse Association; Cine- Med, Inc.; and Shaw Science Partners. Clark attended St Mary’s Dominican College in her hometown of New Orleans and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is the program director/president-elect of the AMWA Southeast chapter.
Martha (Marti) Hagan founded Word Wizards in 1982 after having managed two opera companies — Lake George Opera Festival in upstate New York and the Atlanta Opera (then Atlanta Civic Opera). She has lived in Atlanta since 1973. In Word Wizard’s first decade, Hagan worked with authors and editors, small business owners, candidates for master’s and doctoral degrees, and university professors. Services ranged from the transcription of oral histories and psychologists’ therapy notes to desktop publishing and the preparation of manuscripts for submission to universities and publishers. Today her company manages two divisions of the American Psychological Association, has a major contract with the CDC’s Division of TB Elimination, and continues working with authors and psychologists.
A Prescription for Laughter
Carole Katz, a medical social worker and PhD student at UGA, gave us a prescription for laughter while we ate dessert at Violette Restaurant. A native New Yorker, Katz teaches an 8-step program in humor development for medical professionals. Several local hospitals, hospices, and professional organizations are among her clientele. Katz knows how to find the funny side of life, and she shared with us how to use humor as a tool for dealing with stress.
Living on the Dry Side of the River
Applying Cultural Sensitivity in the International Classroom
R. Elliott Churchill, MS, MA, having just returned from a 6-week jaunt through Ethiopia, the Philippines, and Central Asia, guided us in an enthralling adventure of how she applies cultural sensitivity when setting up public health communications in foreign countries
Her globe-trotting presentation was given at the Villa International Atlanta, a home-away-from-home for international visitors near Emory University and the CDC. A sumptuous international buffet was enjoyed.
Writing & Animation: a Medical Perspective
Michael Shaw, MD, MBA and his team of animators from Shaw Science Partners presented an inside look at the world of medical animation. Over the past 15 years, no other group has won more major national and international awards for their clients than the Shaw Science Partners team. They are particularly proud of the fact that no other group has won more CINE Gold Eagle Awards. This prestigious award is considered the “Academy Award” of non-theatrical films.