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The Indiana Chapter June 2009 Newsletter FROM THE PRESIDENT, AMWA INDIANA CHAPTER

Indiana. If you are interested in volunteering for AMWA, let us know. We welcome new volunteers who would like to serve as officers, committee chairs, or simply want to help support a single activity or chapter goal! And if there is anything we can do to help you attain your professional and educational goals through AMWA, please contact us. Julie Beyrer, President AMWA Indiana Chapter

UPCOMING EVENTS: Time flies! My last message to you was in the December 2008 chapter newsletter. Since then, the Indiana Chapter has made good progress on its 2008-2009 chapter goals. I’d like to share some of that good news with all of you: 1. Increase external focus (outside the Indiana Chapter): We have been collaborating with the Ohio Valley Chapter to plan this year’s joint Indiana-Ohio Valley Chapter conference to be held Saturday, August 8 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The chapter conference registration brochure has been sent to members email and posted on our website (! 2. Enhance the Indiana Chapter website: We selected the vendor to create and host our new Indiana Chapter site ( This new site allows chapter officers to log in and revise site content at any time, enabling us to provide even quicker updates and information to members! For more information about the website renovation, see the article on Page 2. 3. “Riveting” chapter events: On Wednesday, February 4, approximately 30 members and guests attended a chapter event held in Downtown Indianapolis. At this event, “Presenting orally: It is more than just medical writing,” Jim Carper, Dr. Durisala Desaiah, and Joe Giaconia (medical communicators with Eli Lilly and Co.) offered advice on how to reach an audience by oral communication. This event was advertised in advance within Eli Lilly and Company, other local medical communications organizations, and in the Indianapolis Star newspaper, helping to meet one of our chapter goals of increasing external focus by reaching beyond our membership borders to the community as a whole.

AMWA Indiana Chapter Meeting June 9th, 2009 (Tuesday)

Leadership in Life, Love and Scientific Communications Keynote speaker: Laura Mendelsohn, PhD Panel speakers: Elcira Villarreal, PhD (Manager, Global Scientific Information and Communications, Eli Lilly and Co.) Michael Mihm, PhD (Manager, Medical Writing and Scientific Communications, i3 Statprobe) Defining leadership can be difficult, yet we all seem to be able to recognize a leader when we encounter her or him. At this meeting, participants will spend a few minutes diagnosing their leadership style and considering core competencies of a leader. The keynote speaker will then share her philosophical gleanings about living a full life, which should stimulate discussion and private reflection. The meeting will conclude with discussion from a leadership panel, followed by a question-and-answer session open to all participants. The leadership behaviors to be discussed have the potential to enhance relationships not only in your professional life, but also in your public and family lives.

Location: Van Gogh Salon, Eli Lilly Faris Campus, 450 South Meridian Street, Indianapolis. (You can park in the Lilly visitor’s

The Indiana Chapter also sponsored a teleconference/web conference line to the Joann Hackos webinar “Surviving and Thriving in a Flat World” on February 5. Approximately 20 people attended the webinar as part of the chapter-sponsored line. A huge “thanks” to the other officers, committee chairs, and other volunteers who contribute to the Indiana AMWA Chapter! They make possible AMWA’s mission of promoting excellence in medical communication here in AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter June 2009

parking garage on Henry Street. Enter the lobby of the Faris II Building and someone will be there to greet you and show you to the meeting area.)

Meeting agenda: 5:30-6:00 6:00-6:15 6:15-6:35 6:35-6:45 6:45-7:00

Sign-in/Networking/Refreshments Chapter business and introduction of speakers Presentation by the keynote speaker Panel discussion Question & Answer session Page 1 of 5

The Indiana Chapter Old Address but New Face: AMWA Indiana Chapter’s New Website Julie Beyrer

The web domain hasn’t changed ( but the look and features of the Indiana Chapter web site have! One of our 2008-2009 chapter goals – launch of a new and improved chapter website – has been accomplished. Our new website has several very useful features for the chapter: • Allows chapter officers and committees to log into the site and update site content at any time. This feature will improve the speed at which members can find information about events and news items on the site. • Chapter can keep chapter-related administrative records (such as chapter budgets and conference/event planning materials) in a central location (“Administrative” page), accessible via username/password login. This feature will facilitate transfer of officer records from year to year as members step into new chapter officer/committee roles. • Web stats allows us to track site hits, unique visitors, time on site, etc. to better understand the user’s experience and utilization of the site. The vendor selected is Webflexor ( The costs to build and host the site were reasonable and within our chapter budget for web technology. Check it out! If you have any questions about the new site, feel free to contact Julie Beyrer (

2009 Indiana Chapter/Ohio Valley Chapter Joint Conference: Date: Saturday, August 8, 2009

Location: Camargo Pharmaceutical Services, LLC 10151 Carver Road, Suite 200

Workshops: Advanced Writing (ADV) [Course #706] – Susan Aiello 8:30 – 11:30 am Essentials of Copyediting (EW) [Course #204] – Jim Cozzarin 8:30 – 11:30 am Introduction to the Renal System [SBS] [Course #1103] – Susan Aiello 1:00 – 4:00 pm Writing and Copyediting the Multimedia Project (EW/FL) [Course #223] – Jim Cozzarin 1:00 – 4:00 pm

Saturday Lunch Meeting: Presentation: Outsourcing Best Practices Karen Heraty, Eli Lilly and Company 12:30 – 1:00 pm

BELS Testing: Sunday, August 9, 2009 Camargo Pharmaceuticals 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Conference Registration: The registration is now open. The deadline to register is July 3, 2009. You can find more details about the chapter conference as well as the registration information in the conference registration brochure. The brochure has been sent to your email. You can also download the brochure from the Indiana Chapter website or the Ohio Valley Chapter website

AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter June 2009

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The Indiana Chapter Reaching Our Audience by Oral Communication David Caldwell

Delivering speeches, whether publically to a large audience at a medical conference or one-on-one to clients or colleagues on writing projects, is a built-in function of a medical writer’s profession. How can we touch the heart of someone in our audience? Our ability to achieve effective communication as medical communicators and leaders depends on doing so. On February 4, 2009, Jim Carper, Dr. Durisala Desaiah, and Joe Giaconia (medical communicators with Eli Lilly and Company) offered advice on how to reach the whole person, in a riveting event organized by the Indiana Chapter of American Medical Writers Association (AMWA): “Presenting orally: It is more than just medical writing! Tips and Techniques to Become Better Speakers and Leaders.” Mr. Giaconia illustrated three steps to better public speaking. First, imagine what your audience needs to hear. Then practice writing and delivering your speech until you can meet this need. Finally, relax! If you can’t, pretend you can, and you will start to believe yourself. Relaxation and humor help make us approachable. Dr. Desaiah guided us with “Tips on Presenting Data at a Medical Conference”. 1) Use uncluttered slides that are easy to read from the back of the presentation room (or roughly 9 feet from a 15 inch monitor). 2) Know your audience. How many are experts? Establish your credibility and rapport by reminding even experts of some fundamentals of your topic. 3) Be clear about what you want people to remember. Connect emotionally, maybe with a joke, and keep constant contact with your audience. 4) Attract attention: stand tall, be alert and enthusiastic, walk, avoid nervous motion, and dress one level nicer than your audience. 5) Don’t weaken your influence by apologizing for cluttered slides or lack of knowledge or of preparation. 6) Don’t lose your focus by talking about information you could have included on your slides but didn’t. Mr. Carper suggested that we base professional one-onone conversations on our medical writing foundation and on finesse. Our foundation lets us provide information that matters to our partner. Know the latest information on diseases and drugs. Know and document relevant references. Adhere to protocol and procedure. Finesse helps us convey our foundational knowledge. It comprises focus (“Did I answer your question?” elicits instant feedback and is a sign to move on), confidence (attracts attention), courtesy (smooths rough spots), pace (changes for emphasis), and especially empathy (a person who AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter June 2009

thinks you care may tell you what is really going on) and tone (variation shows your interest). Good communicators tend to be good leaders. If you would like to get help in becoming a better speaker, you may consider joining Toastmasters International, a nonprofit organization that helps people become more competent and comfortable in front of an audience. At Toastmasters meetings, participants practice and learn skills by giving a prepared or an impromptu speech. Their speeches are critiqued in a positive manner by a member with a focus on what was done right and what can be improved. You can learn more about Toastmasters International at

Two $500 Indiana Chapter Scholarships Available to Attend the National Annual AMWA Conference! Two $500 chapter scholarships are available to assist any Indiana AMWA Chapter member to attend the annual AMWA Conference in Dallas, TX in October, 2009. The scholarships cover expenses associated with attending the annual conference, including registration/workshops costs, hotel, and travel expenses. Criteria: - Must be a current dues-paying member of AMWA and a member of the Indiana AMWA Chapter. - Must not be receiving financial support for conference expenses from an employer or other means. However, if other financial support is covering only part of the conference costs (e.g., paying for registration/workshops but not for hotel/travel-related expenses), a member may still apply for the scholarship. To Apply: Simply contact Anne Wolka ( to request a scholarship any time between June 1 and July 14, 2009. Please ensure during this time that, if selected as a scholarship recipient, you will be able to attend the annual AMWA Conference (e.g., you have permission from your employer). Two entries will be drawn at random and the scholarship recipients announced on July 15, 2009. Registration for the annual AMWA Conference opens on July 20, 2009. Scholarship recipients will be asked to identify any sources of financial support to attend the conference and the amount being provided. Scholarship recipients will receive the chapter scholarship after sources of financial support have been provided and receipts for conference expenses have been submitted and reviewed.

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The Indiana Chapter Messages from the National Board of Directors (BOD) Meeting Kristin Bullok

As the delegate to the April Board of Directors (BOD) meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, I had the privilege of representing the Indiana Chapter on various matters relating to the overall AMWA organization and hearing first hand of some exciting updates and changes coming in the next couple of years. One exciting initiative beginning to unfold is an update and reorganization of the education programs and certificates. More information will come in the next year or so but, overall, AMWA members will see a restructuring of certificate programs, additional self-study courses, and finalization of the new science fundamentals program. Some other changes in the coming year or two will originate based on ideas of how to spend the accumulated interest on the Endowment Fund. A very fruitful discussion of potential new initiatives brought out such ideas as establishing an AMWA national speakers bureau, which chapters could use when organizing activities throughout the year, and setting up a year-round mentor program for members new to medical writing. How does AMWA decide which initiatives to adopt? Lili Velez, Administrator for Special Projects who led this lively meeting, will bring the delegate’s ideas to the Special Projects Committee for further consideration. So, stay tuned! Finally, one ongoing discussion item is whether AMWA should endorse a checklist published by Peter Gøtzsche, et al, which was created for use by medical writers to discourage ghostwriting. This list was published within the final article of a 3-part series in PLoS Medicine, February 2009. An endorsement of this list by AMWA would be consistent with a previous statement by AMWA, published in a 2007 AMWA Journal (Volume 22, Issue 4, page 186, posted on the AMWA Web site), in response to a PLoS Medicine Article on ghostwriting. So, again, stay tuned for a decision on this topic within the next month or so. Many other stimulating conversations occurred during this one and a half day BOD meeting but limited space necessitates brevity. In the coming months, I hope our chapter will benefit from the networking, new chapter activities, and increased interconnection with our nearest chapter neighbors that occurred during this spring BOD meeting. Kristin Bullok is the President-elect of the Indiana Chapter and will assume presidential duties in August for the 2009-2010 year. Please feel free to contact Kristin (BULLOK_KRISTIN@LILLY.COM) if you want to know more about the national BOD meeting.

AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter June 2009

AMWA’s Annual Conference Student Scholarship AMWA offers two generous student scholarships each year to enable full-time students to explore a career in medical communication through attending its Annual Conference. If you are a student in a technical writing or medical writing major, or if you come from a science background but are considering medical writing as an alternative career, you don’t want to miss this great opportunity. As many previous scholarship winners agreed, this experience is very memorable and helpful, and may mark a critical point in one’s professional career. 1 The scholarship will cover: ƒ Ground or air transportation to Dallas ƒ Lodging for 4 nights at AMWA’s conference hotel ƒ Conference registration fee ƒ Complimentary ticket to the awards dinner ƒ Fees for as many as 3 core certificate workshops ƒ A complimentary 1-year student membership in AMWA Application requirements: ƒ Applicants must be enrolled full time in an accredited institution of higher learning, preferably in a medical writing, technical writing, or journalism program. An official transcript must accompany the application. ƒ A letter of recommendation from the applicant’s academic advisor or program professor must be enclosed. ƒ Applicants must describe (in 1 to 3 paragraphs) their reasons for being interested in the field of medical communication and for wanting to attend AMWA’s annual conference. ƒ Applicants must submit a 1- to 3-page essay on 1 of the following topics: 1) Using a current medical or scientific event as an example, explain how writing style affects communication of the complex data associated with this event to a specific audience. 2) Using a current medical or scientific event as a background, write 3 versions of the event for 3 different audiences. (Please describe the audiences for which your versions have been prepared.) There is still time to apply! Applications are due by June 8, 2009. Awardees will be notified by July 8, 2009. Please visit to learn more about the scholarship. You can also contact Shari Lynn at AMWA headquarters for any questions. Phone: (301) 294-5303, e-mail: 1

AMWA Annual Conference Student Winners: Where Are They Now? AMWA Journal. 2009;24(1):9-12 Page 4 of 5

The Indiana Chapter 2008-2009 AMWA Indiana Chapter Board: President:

Julie Beyrer


Kristin Bullok


Elaine Crabtree


Ingrid Edgemon-Hensley

Membership Chair:

Karen Heraty

Program Chair:

Phadungchom (Pam) McClelland

Education Chair:

Kit Solotkin

Scholarship Chair:

Anne Wolka

Newsletter Editor:

Qing Zhou (Supported by David Caldwell)

Program Committee:

Anne Wolka

Education Committee: Jennie Jacobson Past President:

Diana Fisher

Contact any Board member with questions or ideas for the chapter. See the website for contact information:

We need YOUR help! We are thinking of adding a new column, Members’ Corner, to the newsletter. This column will be a place for members to share their thoughts about medical communication or about life and work in general. This would also be a place to showcase members’ creative writing on non-work-related topics. Essentially, articles, essays, or stories on any topic (less than 500 words in length) are welcome! We hope that this column will open up the opportunity to get to know our fellow members more! If you are interested in submitting an article for the new column, please feel free to contact Qing Zhou at

About AMWA: The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) is a national organization for writers, editors, and other professionals in medicine and science. The association was founded in 1940 and has regional chapters throughout the United States and Canada and members in 26 countries throughout the world. Through an extensive educational program, various publications, and unparalleled opportunities for networking, AMWA encourages and enables its members to extend their professional expertise. AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter June 2009

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April 2009  
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