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The Indiana Chapter January 2010 Newsletter FROM THE PRESIDENT, AMWA INDIANA CHAPTER Coming Soon: Expansion of Development and Networking Opportunities The 2009-2010 year for the AMWA chapter had a strong beginning in October with an enthusiastic board. I welcomed back our previous board members, many now taking on additional roles, and enthusiastically welcomed our new board members Michael Mihm and BethAnn Garni-Wagner. Within a couple months, all positively impacted our chapter through organizing our Chapter meet-and-greet in Dallas, a new networking event at Jillian’s, and making solid strides in preparations for our Chapter Conference – a conference which will again forge new territory by collaborating with the Ohio Valley Chapter for a day of learning at the zoo. In creating our goals for this year (right column), I built upon the chapter’s strong foundation of developing our members through enrichment activities and the need to strengthen our networking opportunities. Development of new enrichment activities is the focus of Mike Mihm, Program Chair, and Anne Wolka, Education Chair, who already have proposed many ideas for stimulating enhancement events. Expansion of our development and networking activities into the biotechnology community has already begun through David Caldwell, Secretary, and his current network. In addition to connections within Indy, other future activities will involve connecting with members outside of Indianapolis and with members of surrounding chapters. To ensure you do not miss any of these future activities, check out this newsletter and frequently visit our website ( for the most current information. In closing, I encourage you to continuously take charge of your career development and strengthen your professional network. I, personally, find it easy to become comfortable in my current job and begin neglecting these important activities. I suspect others of you may be tempted in the same way. So, to help keep ourselves better informed, we have some new additions to our chapter newsletter and website. Firstly, our newsletter now features a “The Best Of” column, with brief notes of what our editor considers of interest from the AMWA Journal and AMWA website (page 4). We also now include a list of nearby chapter events, as AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter January, 2010

we become aware of them (page 2). Finally, in light of uncertain times and the need to stay updated on the job market, our website now includes a job post page, initiated under our immediate past-president’s watch. Please let me know if you hear from employers who would like their job posting placed on our website. I will ensure the post is uploaded to our website. All the best and much success to you in this new year and decade. Kristin Bullok, President AMWA Indiana Chapter

Indiana Chapter Goals for 2009-2010: 1. Grow the profession/Grow the chapter -Develop external connections with Indiana academic and biotechnology communities -Formalize roadmap for not-for-profit status application 2. Enhance members’ professional skills Execute 2-3 stimulating chapter events 3. Provide members with networking opportunities Foster inter-chapter communications through multi-chapter events

Completed Chapter Events in 2008-2009: December 2, 2009: A networking event at Jillian's (Indianapolis, IN) August 8, 2009: Indiana/Ohio Valley Chapters- joint chapter conference (Camargo Pharmaceutical Services, Cincinnati, OH) Participants attended workshop sessions facilitated by Susan Aiello and Jim Cozzarin. A chapter business meeting was held over lunch to confirm the new Indiana Chapter officers for 2009-2010. Karen Heraty rounded off the lunch period with a discussion on “Outsourcing Best Practices.” On August 9, a number of members from the Indiana and Ohio Valley chapters took the BELS exam, proctored by Jim Cozzarin. June 9, 2009: Leadership in Life, Love, and Medical Communications (Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN) Laura Mendelsohn provided the keynote address, providing philosophical discussion about life and the importance of communication. Following these reflections, Laura, Elcira Villarreal and Mike Mihm Page 1 of 5

The Indiana Chapter provided answers to probing questions related to leadership and qualities that are desirable in a leader. The event ended with a drawing, where 3 lucky participants walked away with an insightful book on leadership, recommended by the panel themselves. February 4, 2009: Presenting Orally: It's More than Just Medical Writing (Farm Bureau Building, Indianapolis, IN) The Indiana Chapter also recently made two $500 scholarships available to chapter members, randomly drawn from the 11 members who entered for a chance to win and who were independently funding their attendance to the Annual AMWA Conference (eg, no employer support). The announcement was sent to the chapter via email mid-July and the scholarship awarded.

Upcoming: 2010 Indiana-Ohio Valley Chapter Conference April 10, 2010 (Saturday), 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Indianapolis Zoo, 1200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46222 This joint conference features 4 AMWA Credit Workshops led by Susan Aiello and Art Gertel. It also offers 4 Career Enrichment Open Sessions (new!), which are being offered free with conference registration. AMWA Credit Workshops (morning): Introduction to the Cardiovascular System (SM/SBS) Course #1102 – Susan Aiello, DVM, ELS Electronic Regulatory Submissions (RR/PH) Course #406 – Art Gertel, PhD AMWA Credit Workshops (afternoon): Writing Abstracts (CP/EW/PH) Course #221 – Susan Aiello, DVM, ELS Strategies for Improving Document Quality for Pharmaceutical Communication Managers (ADV) Course #722 – Art Gertel, PhD Career Enrichment Open Sessions (morning): Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies 101 8:30-9:40 a.m. Health Outcomes and Patient-Reported Outcomes 9:50-11:00 a.m.

BELS Certification Exam in Indianapolis April 11, 2010 (Sunday), 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Farm Bureau Building Offices of inVentiv Clinical Solutions 225 S. East St., Suite 200 Indianapolis, IN 46202 Please visit for details on applying for candidacy and registering for the exam. You should have received the AMWA chapter conference registration brochure and BELS exam announcement recently, so go ahead and register!

Upcoming events at nearby chapters Nearby Chapter Conferences: (for more information visit

Mid-Atlantic Chapter: March 20, 2010 Location: North Bethesda Marriott. North Bethesda, MD The Electronic Common Technical Document (RR/PH) Peggy Boe, RN IND in eCTD Format (ADV) Peggy Boe, RN Ethical Standards in Medical Publication (CP/EW/PH) Cindy Hamilton, PhD, ELS Business Aspects of a Freelance Career (B/FL) Cindy Hamilton, PhD, ELS Michigan Chapter: May 14, 2010 Location: Dahlmann Campus Inn, Ann Arbor, MI Organizing the Medical Paper (CP/EW/FL) Susan Aiello Effective Paragraphing (ES/G) Susan Aiello Journal Submissions Other than Research Articles (CP/EW) Barbara Gastel Medical Journalism: From Choosing a Topic Through Polishing the Piece (CP/EW/FL) Barbara Gastel

Career Enrichment Open Sessions (afternoon): Navigating the Current Medical Publications Environment 1:00-2:10 p.m. Unexpected Places Medical Writers Work 2:20-3:30 p.m. AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter January, 2010

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The Indiana Chapter

Upcoming events at nearby chapters Other events Mid-America Chapter events (for more information, visit March 5, 2010, 11:30 a.m. Tools for Evaluating Clinical Study Reports Presenter: Linda A. Landon, PhD, ELS, President, Research Communiqué, Jefferson City, MO Place: Pi Pizzeria, 10935 Manchester Road, Kirkwood, MO May 5, 2010 Writing for Blogs: Is It Worth it? Presenter: Lisa M. Balbes, Ph.D., Balbes Consultants Pacific Southwest AMWA chapter is asking for entries (medical articles or essays published in 2009 for a lay or a professional audience, not including journal articles) for the 2010 Frances Larson Memorial Award. This competition is open to all members of AMWA. The winner of the Frances Larson Memorial Award receives a $100 honorarium and a plaque. Entries must be postmarked by 01 May 1, 2010. For more information please visit

Leadership in Scientific Communications -An interview with Mike Mihm Qing Zhou, PhD Leadership is an essential quality for success in about every career. On June 9, 2009, the AMWA Indiana Chapter held a chapter meeting to explore how this quality matters for those who work in the field of Scientific Communications. This event, “Leadership in Life, Love and Scientific Communications,” took place at Eli Lilly’s Faris Campus in Indianapolis and attracted a record high attendance with more than 30 participants. Following a keynote address by Laura Mendelsohn, PhD, who shared her philosophical reflections about being a good leader and living a full life, the topic of leadership was further explored by a lively discussion between the audience and a leadership panel, joined by Laura and two seasoned medical writers, Elcira Villarreal, PhD (Manager, Global Scientific Information and Communications, Eli Lilly and Co.) and Mike Mihm, PhD (Manager, Medical Writing and Scientific Communications, i3 Statprobe). AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter January, 2010

In order to share with our members the insights from this engaging discussion, I interviewed one of our panelists, Michael Mihm, about his thoughts about leadership in medical writing and scientific communications. Here are my questions and his answers: 1. What are the most important qualities you see in a leader in scientific communications? Any qualities unique to this field? I think the most important qualities for leadership in scientific communications are very similar to important leadership responsibilities in other fields –- having a clear vision for what you want to accomplish, effectively communicating that vision to your team members, and then providing clear expectations on what each team member can do to make that vision a reality. In my experience, medical writers tend to be very organized and clear thinking about how they can help a team achieve its goals, and they are really innovative about how to improve efficiencies and get things done. So sometimes, after sharing your vision for what you want to achieve, the best thing you can do is get out of their way and let them do what they do best. There is a need to balance your focus on clearing obstacles in front of your team versus analyzing their daily activities and how they are getting their work done. Finding the right balance can be tough, but I am finding that working "out in front" of your teams (rather than focusing back on what they are doing), and empowering them to make local decisions (within required SOP's and procedures, of course) can really free them up to do their best work. This also tends to make each person feel more invested about what the team has accomplished and appears to make them more productive in the long term as well. Tied into that focus is Trust. At the panel discussion, this was a word that came up over and over again – ensuring that you facilitate a working environment where your team members can trust you and each other with information and learnings, where they can back each other up, and where they can share in each other's successes. These are all, in my opinion, crucial responsibilities of a leader. This all starts with the example that you set in trusting your team, and with the expectation that your team members trust and rely on each other. It continues with following through on commitments to your team and your customers, openly admitting mistakes and taking responsibility, and sharing information whenever you can. Talking about trust as a necessary and tangible commodity and a critical factor in your business success is key – I think Stephen Covey's book The Speed of Trust sets a great framework for how to begin to do this, which is why it was my recommendation as a great book for the event.

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The Indiana Chapter 2. Many medical writers do not act in an actual leadership role at work. For those who handle more technical tasks, how are leadership skills relevant for success at work? In medical writing, there is a significant need for leadership without a leadership "title": leading teams through effective project kickoff and document review meetings, leading writing teams to final decisions within a document, and just the skill of bringing people from various backgrounds with very different roles and ways of thinking together to meet common goals –- these all require a lot of leadership. Documents are almost never written in isolation anymore, and you need input and content from many different people. Integrating all of that information into a single document requires a lot of leadership, and these are the skills that separate effective medical writers from those who may struggle with more complex documents or situations. The framework of what makes an effective leader is the same as I described before –- investing the time and the effort to have a clear vision of what you need to accomplish in a document, effectively communicating that vision to the writing team (and making sure you have their input where required), and then establishing and following up on the expectations to get that document written, with highest quality, on time. 3. Do you see different leadership skill sets for "leaders of projects/tasks (specialist)" versus "leaders of people (supervisor)"? I think the skill sets overlap, but there are some skills that are specific to managing people in a business environment. Some skills are universal to project leadership and managing a team: effective communication, setting clear project goals, really listening to and understanding the needs of a diverse set of people, motivating them towards a common purpose, and working to establish and earn trust. The skills more pertinent to supervisors really center around performance management and conflict resolution. Supervisors have specific responsibilities to set business goals for employee performance, and then measure an employee's performance towards those goals. They also tend to get more heavily involved in mediating conflicts between team members. Evaluating performance in an objective and informed manner and resolving conflicts between team members that can’t move forward alone are activities that take a great deal of time and energy to do, and a lot of thought and experience to do well. But successes in those areas can be really rewarding. Assessing one's desire to develop those skill sets (and to spend a lot of time and effort in those areas) can be a good exercise in making the decision as to whether managing people or managing projects is a good career choice for a medical writer. AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter January, 2010

4. What is your advice for early-career medical writers to develop leadership skills? Find people that you respect as leaders, and pay attention to what they do (and don’t do). Ask them questions about how they would work with particular challenges that you face. Observing an experienced medical writer conducting a project kickoff meeting or team online review can teach you more about leadership in a day than you could get from an entire book on project management. Find ways to get involved and accomplish new work in teams. Accepting a role in a process improvement initiative or joining your homeowners' association or local AMWA chapter as an officer or volunteer gives you a chance to work on your leadership skills in an environment where your project work and business success are not "at risk," but the skills you develop will be almost completely transferable. Finally, think about and actively seek new ways to help your team get its work done more effectively...and then try them! Leadership at its core is really about helping groups of people get important things done, and the best way to do that is by focusing on common goals and serving each other. (Michael John Mihm, PhD, is currently a Medical Writing Manager in Strategic Alliances at i3 Statprobe (Indianapolis, IN). Dr. Mihm has authored more than 100 publications in the areas of diabetes and cardiovascular medicine.)

The Best Of -Notes from the AWMA Journal and AMWA website ♦ AMWA expands certificate program—AMWA is updating its educational program with more workshop offerings and certificates. The new certificate program forms on the foundation of the Essential Skills (ES) certificate, which will replace the old “Core” program. In addition, 4 specialty certificates are now offered, each focusing on an area of key interest: Composition and Publication (CP), Regulatory and Research (RR), Business (B), and Concepts in Science and Medicine (SM). For each certificate, you will need to complete 8 workshops (including 1 certificate-specific ethics-related workshop) within 6 years of enrollment. You can enroll in and pursue multiple certificates at the same time. However, you will need to complete an Essential Skills, Page 4 of 5

The Indiana Chapter Core, or Advanced certificate before you can earn a specialty certificate. During the transition time, you can be assured that no workshop credits will be lost. You can complete the original certificate, or transfer your credits to the new system. If you have already earned a current Core or Advanced certificate, you can enroll in a specialty certificate program immediately. All advanced workshops will also still be offered, and new programs for advanced specialty certificates will be added in the upcoming months. For more information please visit the AMWA website

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.

♌ MD Consult—A reminder that AMWA offers MD Consult as a membership benefit. MD Consult is a premier subscription-based service offering a number of full-text journals (a list of available journals is at urnals.pdf) and a large collection of health and medical texts online. To assess MD Consult, you need to log in to your AMWA account and then click the MD Consult link located at Members Only > Publications and Resources > MD Consult. AMWA's access to MD Consult is limited to 2 members at a time. Additional members trying to access the service will have to wait to gain access until after one of the users signs off. Therefore, please perform your searches as quickly and efficiently as possible once you are logged on.

2009-2010 AMWA Indiana Chapter Board: President:

Kristin Bullok


Pam McClelland


David Caldwell


Julie Beyrer

Membership Chair:

BethAnn Garni-Wagner

Program Chair:

Michael Mihm

Education Chair:

Anne Wolka

Scholarship Chair:

Elaine Crabtree

Newsletter Editor:

Qing Zhou

Past President:

Julie Beyrer

AMWA Indiana Chapter Newsletter January, 2010

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January 2010  
January 2010