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The Indiana Chapter December 2008 Newsletter FROM THE PRESIDENT, AMWA INDIANA CHAPTER “The greatest leader forgets himself and attends to the development of others.” (Lao Tzu)

would love to have you contribute with us in the spirit of servant leadership. Julie Beyrer, President AMWA Indiana Chapter

UPCOMING EVENTS: AMWA Indiana Chapter Meeting Feb 4th, 2009

“I am the first servant of the state.” (Frederick II of Prussia) "And whosoever will be the chiefest shall be servant of all." (Jesus Christ) In the spirit of great servant leaders past, I welcome you to a new year of the AMWA Indiana Chapter. Chapter activities are in full swing. We recently made three $500 scholarships available to chapter members to attend the national conference in Louisville, KY. And we are making progress on our 2008-2009 chapter goals: „



Increase external focus (outside the Indiana Chapter): We are currently working through the details of next year’s chapter conference, which will possibly be held with another local chapter. Stay tuned for more details in early 2009! Enhance the Indiana Chapter website: We are evaluating several new features/options for the site, including a service that will allow members to directly update information on the site themselves by logging into the site. We hope to update the website early next year. “Riveting” chapter events: Our 1st event for 20082009 was a trip to Miami University (Ohio) for a free lecture by NY Times columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman. We have a couple more on the way… more news on upcoming chapter events within this issue of the newsletter.

None of these efforts could happen without the efforts and contributions of the Indiana chapter board (the other chapter officers, committee chairpersons, and volunteers). To them, I owe a tremendous “THANKS” and that’s not all! We are here to serve all of you—the Indiana Chapter of AMWA. If there is anything we can do to help you attain your professional and educational goals through AMWA, please let us know. And if you are interested in volunteering to support any of our 20082009 chapter goals, please let us know that too! We AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter December 2008

Presenting orally: It is more than just medical writing! -Tips and Techniques to Become Better Speaker and Leader Joe Giaconia, Eli Lilly and Company Dr. Durisala Desaiah, Eli Lilly and Company Jim Carper, Eli Lilly and Company While it could be daunting, making a formal speech in public or to a critical audience may be inevitable for any scientific communicator. As a medical writer whose training mainly focuses in the area of written communication, are you up to the challenge to deliver effective oral communication: a talk at a scientific conference to physicians, a presentation of project proposal to your clients, or even a briefing of project status to your team members? In this panel discussion, the three speakers will share with audience their tips and techniques of successful public speaking.

Location: Farm Bureau Building, Butler room, 225 S. East St., Indianapolis. (Evening parking is in the garage behind the building. Take Georgia St. off of East or College, and enter the open garage gate. Sign in with security, and you will be directed to the AMWA meeting.)

Meeting agenda: 5:15-6:00 6:00-6:10 6:10-6:15 6:15-7:15

Sign-in/Networking/Refreshments Chapter business Introduction of speakers Presentation and panel discussion Page 1 of 5

The Indiana Chapter Indiana Chapter at the National Conference Qing Zhou

AMWA’s 68th Annual Conference, held in late October this year at the lovely Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, was yet another success for AMWA. With 96 workshops and 38 open sessions, along with numerous roundtable sessions, the annual conference offered its attendees great educational and networking opportunities. I, among the more than 1000 conference attendees this year, thoroughly enjoyed these opportunities. Moreover, I brought home with me enhanced confidence in my profession, broader perspectives of medical communication, helpful tools and practical tips for daily writing tasks, and valuable friendship with fellow AMWA members. I especially enjoyed interaction with AMWA members from the Indiana Chapter. This year, 42 members from our local Chapter attended the national conference, which represent 35% of total memberships (120 as of December 2008) of the Indiana Chapter. A number of Indiana Chapter members were actively involved in the national conference by leading workshops, giving talks at open sessions, and sharing experience at roundtable discussions. In addition to participating in professional activities, chapter members also enjoyed opportunities to know each other at an informal and friendly gathering. At the Chapter Greet-and-Go event in the first evening of the national conference, 11 members of the Indiana Chapter, including several first-time comers to the national conference, gathered and had dinner at RIVUE, the rooftop restaurant in the Galt House hotel. While enjoying delicious food and panoramic views of Louisville as the city lighted up in the evening, the members shared stories of their background, their current work, and their plans and goals. For new members, talking to local members at Chapter Greetand-Go is a great way to form contacts with local writers and editors, so you can learn, much more effectively than on your own, about the profession in your local regions.

At the National Conference: Professional Activities of chapter members: Teresa Armstrong, ELS, Indianapolis Workshop: Package Inserts Linda Wolka, MT, SH, Indianapolis Workshop: Basic Hematology for Medical Writers Julie Beyrer, MTSC, Indianapolis Open Session: How to Effectively Lead Your Team as the Medical Writer Martha Tacker, PhD, ELS(D), West Lafayette Open Session: Form and Function of Scientific Articles: Variations and Commonalities BethAnn Garni-Wagner, PhD, Indianapolis Breakfast Roundtable: Quality Control of NDA Submission Documents

Other facts: • • •

42 chapter members attended this year’s National AMWA Conference 11 chapter members gathered at the Chapter Greet-and-Go event 3 scholarships ($500 each) were given to chapter members who planned to attend the national conference and were funding their attendance themselves

We need YOUR help! Please let us know about your professional accomplishments and activities. And if you’d like to submit an article for the newsletter, contact Qing Zhou, at

If you would like to learn more about the AMWA National Conference, please feel free to contact Qing Zhou at

AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter December 2008

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The Indiana Chapter National Board of Directors Report Julie Beyrer

The most recent National Board of Directors (BoD) meeting of AMWA was held during its 68th Annual Conference at Louisville, KY, October 23 to 25, 2008. Julie Beyrer (Indiana Chapter President) attended as the Indiana Chapter delegate. Below is a summary of the major items that were discussed at the meeting. 1)

National AMWA Bylaws were amended: To consistently specify that full-year terms are meant in Article III—Officers (describes requirements for serving as a national AMWA officer). „ To incorporate the AMWA Code of Ethics language into membership application. „


medical writing. Credentialing among AMWA members is also being discussed. A Task Force on Ethical Standards is working on several items, including the recent November 2008 survey about writing/editing manuscripts prepared on behalf of authors.

If you would like to learn more about any of the items above or want to know more about the Board of Directors meetings, please feel free to contact Julie (

The process for management, oversight, and approval of the AMWA Code of Ethics will be discussed at the Spring Board of Directors meeting. The Education Department will also encourage incorporating discussion of ethical issues into every AMWA workshop. 2)

Financial report for FY2007-08: AMWA has approximately $1,041,000 in reserves, which exceeds its minimum target of $789,366. Excess revenue over expenses was $107,735.49. The Board voted to approve continuing to divide excess revenue in thirds (long-term reserves, Endowment Fund, short-term reserves & operating funds).


AMWA membership continues to grow: 5,487 members as of August 2008.


A task force made the recommendation (approved at the meeting) to allocate $1,000 from the AMWA Endowment interest to complete the searchable index of the Dear Edie column.


Several national task force committees are ongoing: „ A Medical Communication Profession Research Task Force is conducting quantitative and qualitative research to help determine how AMWA should evolve to be recognized as the foremost resource for medical communicators over the next 10 years. „ A Task Force to Explore Partnering Opportunities With Higher Education has several ongoing goals, including conducting a 3-year pilot program with students enrolled in Towson University’s biomedical writing track—AMWA will waive the enrollment requirement for the advanced certificate for qualified students. „ Additionally, funding/award money may be soon made available for student research in AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter December 2008

Chapter Conferences: More than Workshops Kristin Bullok

This year’s Indiana Chapter Conference found Conference Attendee enjoying the day at the relaxing and beautifully new Indianapolis Central Library. A total of 4 workshops and a business lunch comprised the 1 day Chapter conference. As is characteristic of all AMWA workshops, participants engaged in thoughtprovoking discussions of writing and editing medical documents. Though attendance was lower than expected, I still was able to meet diverse people, including employees from a vendor company with whom I have worked as well as AMWA members from outside of Indiana. To top off the Conference experience, participants thoroughly enjoyed breaks in the spacious and glass-roofed atrium by sipping on a drink of choice from the adjoining café or catching up on email. By the end of this year’s conference, I was reminded that, as Conference attendees, we would be remiss to limit our Conference experience to within the workshop rooms. So, as we begin preparing for our next Chapter Conference, I encourage us to consider a couple ways in which we can extend our experience beyond the workshop setting: intentional networking and proactive sharing of knowledge.

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The Indiana Chapter Chapter Conferences: More than Workshops (continued) As you know, when attending any conference, our opportunities to expand our professional network lay easily at our feet. So, instead of merely attending a workshop, getting our credits, and leaving, I encourage all of us to consider a new (or not so new) perspective on the activities of this medical writing organization – go beyond acquiring workshop credits. Each of us come from different backgrounds, with diverse approaches to writing/editing medical documents and managing the associated writing teams, and various levels of experience. Combined, the members of AMWA represent a wealth of knowledge and experience. So, the next time you find yourself sitting in a room full (or not so full) of workshop participants, remind yourself to tap into this knowledge. Then when you’ve reminded yourself of this, turn to the person and tap away! Consider asking such questions as, “On what kind of documents to do you work? What do you find most challenging about that particular document? What is a valuable lesson you’ve learned recently?” Of course, make sure you are ready to respond to these same questions, as well. In this way, we all will come away from each AMWA activity with a broader perspective of medical writing/editing and potentially a great new approach to motivating an unresponsive decisionmaker or pulling a definitive conclusion from your writing team. While engaging in these networking activities, let us remember that, as AMWA members, we also are responsible for sharing our knowledge. With the start of a new year, now is an excellent time to consider ways in which you could more formally share your knowledge with fellow AMWA members. If you do not know where to begin, start by reviewing the articles in this newsletter, particularly ones from our Chapter President (page 1 and page 3). Also, look at what your fellow members are doing (page 2). Finally, if you have other ideas for involvement, and are unsure whether such an activity would be of interest or would like to be involved at a more national level, simply contact a fellow chapter member or our Chapter’s President to obtain their thoughts on your suggestions. Once you start asking, you will better understand how your talents apply to the diverse activities of AMWA! In short, our Chapter Conferences can be made much richer by the activities we initiate before and after workshops. So, let’s not “sit back, relax, and enjoy the workshop”. Instead, let’s ensure we consistently are alert and poised for proactive engagement with the fellow writers and editors beside us.

AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter December 2008

Your Global Audience is Already Here -Report from the June Chapter Meeting Elaine Crabtree

Figuring out how to get communicate with non-English speakers (when English is the only language you can use), might seem impossible, but Ann Zdunczyk gave us some ideas at the 24 June 2008 chapter meeting. She was in Indianapolis to speak at the Documentation and Training (DocTrain) Life Sciences 2008 Conference, and came to the chapter meeting to give a short version of her presentation “Your Global Audience is Already Here: How to Create Content that Communicates with non-English Speakers at Home and Abroad.” As a professional translator, technical writer, desktop publisher, and owner of a2z Publishing, Inc., Ann is wellqualified to discuss the fine points of getting ideas across to non-English speakers. Whether you do business locally or internationally, nonEnglish speakers are potential customers, Ann said. In this country, large numbers of city hospital staffs are non-native English speakers, and training programs designed to prevent post-Baby Boomer labor shortages are bringing immigrants into more medical and technical jobs. For example, a 2005 study of California’s immigrant workers showed that 62% of medical scientists, 35% of nurses, and 33% of dental assistants were immigrants. To ensure that these professionals get all the information they need to do their jobs, Ann recommended, among other things, using Simplified English, “a controlled language...[that] offers a carefully limited and standardized subset of English” words. This improves understanding for non-native speakers, and helps them learn the language more easily. Two types of software that can help you produce texts in Simplified English are Acrolinx ( and MaxIt ( Check her web site ( under “Tips and Tricks” and “Links” for help with design and information on useful software and ideas for translation, Word tricks, and PDFs.

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The Indiana Chapter Writing Competition

-2009 APEX Awards for Publication Excellence APEX Awards for Publication Excellence is sponsored by the editors of Writing that Works, a newsletter for communicators who write, edit, and manage business publications. Writing that Works is published by Communications Concepts, Inc., providing problemsolving information to professional communicators since 1984. APEX Awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content, and overall communications effectiveness. They are a way for writers to gain the recognition and respect that their work deserves.

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: Newsletter Editor:

Qing Zhou

2009 APEX Awards Competition is now open to communicators in corporate, nonprofit, and independent settings - including companies, freelancers, advertising and communication agencies, government agencies, and other public and private institutions.

Website Manager:

Heather Miller

Program Committee:

Anne Wolka

Awards are given in 122 communications categories, including several specifically for health and medical writing:

During the chapter meeting on June 24, 2008, Julie Beyrer (then President-Elect) announced the slate of nominees for chapter officer roles. Voting on chapter officers occurred at the Indiana Chapter Conference on August 22, 2008.

Category #41: Brochures, Manuals, and Reports – Health and Medical Materials Category #71: Campaigns, Programs, and Plans – Health and Medical Category #91: Writing – Health and Medical Writing Category #115: One-of-a-kind Publications – Health and Medical Publications ƒ



You can enter materials produced or dated from January, 2008 through March, 2009, even if they carry a later date. There is an $89 entry fee for each entry. ($69 per entry for subscribers of the Writing that Works newsletter). The (postmark) entry deadline for APEX 2009 is March 17, 2009.

The above information about the APEX Awards Competition is provided by Anne Wolka. For more information about the award, please visit

AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter December 2008

Education Committee: Past President:

Diana Fisher

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

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.

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December 2008  
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