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Live: Local Summer Networkers (June – August 2022)
Virtual: Patient Reported Outcomes (tentative, September October 2022)
Live: Chapter dinner at the 2022 AMWA Annual Conference (November 2022)

Past Events

AMWA-NY Chapter Virtual Membership Meeting

Dear AMWA-NY Members,

Thanks to those of you who attended the chapter's virtual membership/business meeting on Monday, June 21, 2021, from 7:30 to 8:30 pm.

At the virtual meeting, chapter leaders provided brief updates of chapter business, including election of chapter officers for the 2021-2022 term. This was followed by a networking session.

For those who were Zoomed-out, we held this meeting on a new, fun platform called Toucan that's almost as good as floating the room at an in-person gathering!


AMWA-NY Virtual Educational Program
Writing for the Sales Force

Dear AMWA-NY members,

On April 8, 2021, at 7:30 pm Easterm Time, AMWA-NY held a free virtual educational event entitled “Writing for the Sales Force”.

Our speakers were Amy Gandhi, Associate Scientific Director at Articulate Science, and Jennifer Nepo, Principal of Medparency LLC. Amy introduced relevant FDA guidance on promotional communications and discussed things to know and keep in mind when writing for the sales audience, such as including labeling restrictions and preparing for a launch. Jennifer discussed the potential roles of a freelance writer in sales training materials and shared insights and examples from her experience supporting medical communication agencies that prepare sales training materials. General principles and specific scenarios were discussed.

Please find the slides from the speakers at the link Sales Writing - Google Drive.

Presenter: Amy Gandhi, Jennifer Nepo

Amy Gandhi, PharmD is Associate Scientific Director at Articulate Science, one of the largest agencies within Nucleus Global. Amy partners closely with clients to communicate scientific information for launch and approved products by developing content for sales training materials, peer-to-peer slide decks, advisory boards, and steering committees. Her therapeutic experience includes oncology, hematology, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease. Amy received her PharmD from Rutgers University.

Jennifer Nepo, MS provides freelance medical writing services as Principal of Medparency LLC. She enjoys helping clients maximize the impact of clinical data for approved and late-stage products through her work on publications, strategic analyses, sales training materials, and advisory boards. Jennifer's experience covers a broad range of therapeutic areas, including oncology, neurology, hematology, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Jennifer has been an AMWA member since 2011 and has served on the Metro-NY chapter executive board as Secretary since 2012. She has organized several evening educational and webinar programs for the Metro-NY chapter. Jennifer holds a BS in biology from Tufts University and a MS in Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology from Harvard University.

Moderator: Bob Kirsch

Bob Kirsch is an experienced medical writer and editor, and a past president of the chapter. Most of his work has focused on clinical medicine and medical research. In addition, he has written on prevention for The Lancet, on palliative care for Scientific American, on how physicians view medical risk for The Washington Post, and on health disparities for City Limits. His website is


AMWA-NY Chapter’s New Year Networker

We kicked off the new year with an exciting virtual gathering, reconnecting with old and new AMWA friends at the AMWA Empire State and Metropolitan New York Chapters’ New Year’s Networker! This event was a virtual Zoom meeting at no cost. All were welcome to join.

Participants brought their favorite winter beverage and enjoyed small group discussions.

To add to the celebration, we continued our tradition of holiday raffle. Each attendee was entered to win one of three raffle prizes!

Happy New Year to all!

When: Thursday, January 21, 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm

7:30-7:40 Welcome
7:40-8:05 Geographic breakout group discussion
8:05-8:25 Random breakout group discussion
8:25-8:30 Closing remarks

Where: The Zoom link was sent to those who RSVPed.


Greetings from the AMWA-NY Chapter

Dear AMWA-NY members,

The chapter was glad to hold a FREE webinar entitled “It’s More Than the MSA (Master Sales Agreement): An Agency Perspective of Being a Preferred Vendor,” on September 23, Wednesday evening at 7:30-8:45 PM.

Our speaker Michael Platt, a seasoned medical communicator and industry insider, shared his experience and knowledge about how being a preferred vendor can influence the workstream and productivity of a medical writing or editorial business.

Whether you are a freelance writer or editor, or work for a medical writing agency, it is essential to establish solid working relationships with existing or new clients, especially clients who require a full menu of writing or editing. You will learn the ins and outs of the preferred vendor relationship. The more you and your company are able to service your clients, the greater the possibilities for a steady flow of substantial projects — and higher return on your time and talents.

This virtual event included a presentation by Michael and a Q&A session, and concluded with an informal virtual social gathering.

Michael Platt recently joined Wunderman Thompson Health as the Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Phase Five, one of the premier education divisions of WPP plc, a British multinational communications, advertising, public relations, technology, and commerce holding company headquartered in London, England.

Michael has more than 25 years of industry experience in areas such as biologics, oncology, hematology, rare diseases, cardiology, allergy and asthma, infectious disease, gastroenterology, urology and rheumatology. Prior to this role, he served as Managing Director of Virgo Health.

Throughout this quarantine, Michael has spent time with his family telling stories, discussing and debating current events, sharing meals and watching lots of movies on Netflix. Michael and his family have focused on growing flowers and vegetables and are making an oasis in the backyard In this unique summer.


Medical Communication and Publication agencies must establish and cultivate relationships with the procurement, med affairs, and publication teams at the manufacturer. The relationship starts with the CDA (confidential disclosure agreement) and is formalized with the MSA. Now you are on the list, what next? What is the reality for an agency who is on the preferred vendor list? What is the reality of being a preferred writer for an Agency and/or the Manufacturer?

Participants learned how to be able to:

  • Understand the process for an agency to become a preferred vendor with manufacturers
  • Understand the process for a medical writer to become a preferred vendor with an agency
  • Understand the process for a medical writer to become a preferred vendor with a manufacturer

Presenter: Michael Platt; Moderator: Marjorie Winters; Technical Manager: Anjani Shah


Webinar: Tools to Enhance Your Productivity as an Editor

Anyone writing, editing, or managing any type of communications for a living is feeling the crunch.

There is less time to create, review, and edit; more types and formats of content; and an increasing number of applications, software, and systems.

Participants learned how to become a more productive editor by learning how to better use the most ubiquitous office software, Microsoft Word, and by addressing a multitude of modern dilemmas with a relatively old-school hack, an editing checklist. The session showed how to make an Editing Tools tab in Word, customize the Spell Check to work harder, and automate some editing tasks using find and replace with wild cards and simple macros. Examples were shown in Microsoft Office 365 version of Word, but should be applicable to earlier versions.

When: Monday, April 20, 7:00-8:00 PM

Presenter: Kelly Schrank
Kelly Schrank has been in technical and medical communication for over 20 years. Her business, Bookworm Editing Services, has two focuses: formatting and editing formulary dossiers for pharmaceutical clients and editing policies and procedures for information technology departments. She also edits manuscripts, proposals, marketing materials, slide decks, websites, training materials, and many other types of technical and medical documents. Schrank is an Associate Fellow of STC and the current President of the STC Rochester Chapter, Co-Manager of the Technical Editing SIG, and the Marketing and Promotions Councilor for the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS). Schrank has spoken about checklists, side gigs, Word, editing, and networking at regional and national Society for Technical Communication (STC) conferences, in webinars, and at the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) national conference.

Webinar recording


Regulatory Writing Workshop with iJOBS at Rutgers University

After a successful joint program in 2018, the AMWA-NY chapter collaborated again with the iJOBS program at Rutgers University to bring to you another educational program on regulatory writing.

This workshop, mainly geared towards PhD students and post-docs in life sciences, was also a great fit for early-career medical writers who are interested in regulatory writing. Two established regulatory writers presented, and participants then learned about the Investigator’s Brochure (IB), a regulatory document summarizing relevant nonclinical and clinical data on a drug being evaluated in clinical trials. Our experienced panelists led an interactive workshop with hands-on exercises and ample opportunities for Q&A.

This event was open to AMWA members and non-members.

When: 6:00–9:00 PM, Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Where: Room B515, Rutgers University Medical Science Building, 185 South Orange Avenue, Newark, NJ 07103

Regulatory Writing Panelists

Aaron Bernstein, PhD 
Aaron Bernstein Consulting, LLC

Aaron Bernstein is a consultant Medical Writer supporting the strategic development of all clinical regulatory documents. Aaron has 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry leading the planning and writing of new drug applications to global health authorities. He has led departments of Medical Writing, Project Management, Quality Control, Publishing, and Strategic Communication in several international pharmaceutical companies. He is a founding member and past president of the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA). He is an active member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), where he frequently presents on topics of medical writing standards and processes, as well as, drug regulation and drug development. Aaron is a primary contributor to the development of the CORE Reference tool and website, a detailed companion to the ICH E3 guideline on Clinical Study Reports. He has recent publications in peer reviewed journals on the topic of clinical trial transparency and the production of clinical study reports.

Marjorie Winters
Freelance medical writer and editor

Marjorie Winters received her BA from UCONN (1963) after switching her major from mathematics to English. She went on to be a definer for a college dictionary. During a stint as a stay-at-home mom, she honed her editing and writing skills by working on volunteer newsletters and publicity and photos. Returning to work, she started checking and copy-editing various medical/scientific documents—from ad copies to medical journal articles. She progressed from obtaining book production permissions to becoming a full-time medical writer for Hoffman-la Roche. Since that time, she has worked as a medical writer for other big pharma companies, CROs, and as a freelance writer and editor, working on peer-reviewed medical articles and allied topics. Documents she wrote or edited included IBs, protocols, clinical study reports, regulatory agency responses, manuscripts, abstracts, and communication materials for medical professionals and sales force.

Marjorie's volunteer history with the AMWA Empire State Metropolitan New York Chapter (AMWA-NY) includes serving on the chapter board as Secretary and Chair of the Program Committee. At the AMWA national level, she served as a round table leader at the annual conference several times, a member of the Education Committee, and currently a member of the Communications Committee. She was delighted to be honored as AMWA Fellow in 2018 and plans to continue her service to the AMWA community.

Event Organizer

Janet Alder, PhD
Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology
Assistant Dean of School of Graduate Studies
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers University

Janet Alder is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Assistant Dean for Graduate Academic and Student Affairs at School of Graduate Studies, Rutgers University. She is also a Program Executive Director for iJOBS, an NIH funded program intended to support bold and innovative approaches to establish and broaden new paradigm for graduate and postdoctoral training.

For any questions, please contact Qing Zhou.


Chapter Dinner at the 2019 AMWA Annual Conference

AMWA-Metro NY members attending the 2019 AMWA Annual Conference in San Diego met at our chapter dinner on Thursday, November 6. A tradition at the annual conferences, this was a great opportunity for members to spend a delightful evening with colleagues enjoying good food and great conversations.


Plain Language in Medical Communication

As medical writers and editors, we deal with communication challenges posed by both poor health literacy and circuitous, confused, or pretentious writing. This is true whether we work directly with patients or write for regulatory or health care professionals.

Health literacy is essential to the success of patient education, health care planning and delivery, and health policy strategy and execution. Yet, the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey found that 50 percent of adults surveyed performed at or below level 2 on a five-level general literacy assessment—and health literacy measures are usually lower.

Plain language is an important tool for communicating with less literate or health-literate adults. Plain language also matters for a professional audience, whether professors of medicine or physician assistants, medical residents or community health workers, nurses or hospital administrators.

This evening featured a discussion of (a) the cognitive and social issues that affect health literacy in the general population, (b) principles of plain language, (c) examples of health communications that fail to meet readers’ needs, (d) ways to improve our own writing and that of physicians and other healthcare experts, and (e) additional actions we can take to help improve health communications.


Amy Stephenson Amy led AMWA’s Plain Language workshop, which will be offered again at this year’s Annual Conference in San Diego. She is principal of Wordacious LLC, a content strategy contractor working with clients in technology, health care, and other fields. Before becoming an independent contractor, Amy spent more than 15 years at WE Communications (formerly Waggener Edstrom), where she provided editing, writing, and content strategy services for a range of agency clients. She has an M.A. in English Literature and Composition from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and a B.A. in English from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington.

Moderator: Bob Kirsch, medical writer and editor, past president of the chapter

When: 5:30-9:00 PM, Tuesday, September 17
5:30-7:00 Welcome, mingling, dinner
7:00-9:00 Program and Q&A

Where: Hotel Beacon, 2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (at Broadway and 75th St on the Upper West Side)

Dinner was included.


Summer Networker and Annual Membership Meeting

AMWA Empire State Metropolitan New York (AMWA-NY) Chapter held a summer networker and our Annual Membership Meeting in Manhattan .

The chapter leaders hosted a short membership meeting to share governance and program updates, and welcomed questions and suggestions throughout the evening.

When: 6:00-8:00 PM, Tuesday, June 25

Where: Bar314 (We have a back room to ourselves!) 1260 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY, between 122nd and 123rd streets


Real-World Data and Evidence

The AMWA-NY chapter presented an FDA speaker and other expert panelists at our dinner program on real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWE).

No longer are randomized controlled trials (RCTs) the only game in town.

According to a US National Academy of Medicine Initiative, accelerating real-world evidence constitutes a “vital direction” for the US health care system: “The potential to analyze large amounts of health-related data from actual patient care holds immense promise for improving medical care by better informing care decisions, increasing drug and medical device safety, more accurately evaluating treatment effectiveness, and accelerating scientific discovery.”

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) document explains: “Under the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act), FDA is directed to develop a regulatory framework to evaluate how RWE can potentially be used to support approval of new indications for approved drugs or to support or satisfy post-approval study requirements.” Real world data (RWD) and real world evidence (RWE) have also become an important focus of discussion and research for medical researchers at leading medical schools, professional physician organizations, and major pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

As a team of FDA authors pointed out in a New England Journal of Medicine article, “the term ‘real-world evidence’ is widely used by those who develop medical products or who study, deliver, or pay for health care,” yet “its specific meaning is elusive.”

Can you navigate well among the nuanced meanings of RWD and RWE found in the literature? Do you have a solid sense of how to use and understand findings that are described as being RWD or as constituting RWE?

Distinguished Panel of Speakers

Kenneth Quinto, MD, MPH
Medical Officer, Office of Medical Policy, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Quinto discussed the framework for FDA’s Real-World Evidence (RWE) Program. He will touch upon the legislation and background of FDA’s RWE program, list FDA considerations for the use of real-world data (RWD) to generate RWE for regulatory decisions, explain program items (guidances) FDA plans to address in RWE program, and describe the different demonstration projects the FDA is involved in that will help inform the use of RWD and RWE.

Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO
Chief Executive Officer of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO); CEO of ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation; and Chairman of the Board of Governors of ASCO’s CancerLinQ.

Dr. Hudis discussed the use of real-world evidence to improve cancer care and the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) work in this area. These efforts include: 1) the Targeted Agent and Profiling Utilization Registry (TAPUR) Study, an ASCO-led non-randomized clinical trial that aims to describe the performance of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved, targeted anticancer drugs prescribed for the treatment of patients with advanced cancer with potentially actionable genomic alterations, and 2) CancerLinQ, a health IT platform that collects and analyzes real-world data from patients at practices nationwide to rapidly improve care.

Joseph A. Sparano, MD
Vice Chair, Medical Oncology, Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care, and Associate Director, Clinical Research, Albert Einstein Cancer Center.

Dr. Sparano shared parallels of real-world evidence and clinical trials, focusing on molecular biomarkers and prognosis in breast cancer.

Chris Boone, PhD
Vice President and Global Head of the Real World Data & Analytics Center of Excellence at Pfizer, and adjunct professor in the health informatics program at the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Boone discussed the challenges and opportunities with using real-world evidence for drug development and access of innovative therapeutics. The abundance of real-world health data is growing in significance and has great potential to be used for clinical and observational research. Biopharma companies are increasingly relying on it to convey the value of therapies, drive commercial strategy, speed up the drug development process and distinguish their brand in the health care industry. This presentation included an overview of real-world data and the challenges and solutions with secondary use of existing data to generate real-world evidence that supports the medicine lifecycle. It also highlighted the requirements on FDA, established by the sixth reauthorization of PDUFA and the 21st Century Cures Act, to consider the use of real-world evidence.

Panel Moderator: Bob Kirsch, medical writer and editor, past president of the chapter []

When: 5:30-9:30 PM, Wednesday, March 27
5:30-7:00 Welcome, mingling, dinner
7:00-9:30 Program and Q&A

Where: Hotel Beacon, 2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (at Broadway and 75th St on the Upper West Side)


AMWA-NY Chapter Holiday Party

It is that time of the year! Join us at the AMWA-NY annual holiday party, the chapter's last event in 2018. Come and enjoy a great evening with colleagues and friends and make new connections.

We have chosen Two Door Tavern, conveniently located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. They have great food and ambiance that is conducive for socializing and networking. We will have a private room to ourselves!

To add to the holiday cheer, the chapter will sponsor some hearty and tasty appetizers. Each participant will receive one ticket for a free drink. We will be hosting a raffle, so bring your business cards - you may win a prize!

When: 6:00–9:00 PM, Monday, December 3, 2018

Where: Two Door Tavern
1576 3rd Ave (between E 88th St & 89th St)
New York, NY 10128

AMWA members $20, please register here.
Non-members $25, please register here.
Special student rate $10, please register here.

Your PayPal payment serves as event registration.

Hope to see you there!

For any questions, please contact Lloyd Zimmerman.


AMWA-NY Chapter presented an evening program on:

AMWA Authors Share Stories of Their Published Books

A great achievement in the career of a medical writer is to publish books. In this evening program, published AMWA authors shared first-person stories and tips. Each of our accomplished speakers has several publications, many of which were books, either self- or published professionally. Their wealth of information and encouraging tips were shared with program attendees. Questions were taken by the speakers.

When: 6:00-9:30 PM, Thursday, October 4
6:00-7:30 Welcome, mingling, dinner
7:30-9:30 Program and Q&A

Where: Hotel Beacon, 2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (at Broadway and 75th St on the Upper West Side)

Panel of Speakers

Left to right: Laurie Thomas, Sheila Buff, Marjorie Winters, Stephen Gutkin. Photo by Pricilla Gutkin.


Stephen W. Gutkin is a medical communications professional with 30 years of experience in medical writing, editing, editorial management, and publication planning and execution. A coauthor of 14 papers in peer-reviewed journals, Mr. Gutkin served as President of Rete Biomedical Communications Corp. for 23 years, during which the organization consulted widely with industry and academia.

A summa cum laude graduate of Duke University, Stephen served as arts critic for the Brooklyn Paper; research scientist for a toxicology laboratory that also assayed psychiatric biomarkers; and as copy chief and medical writer with McGraw-Hill Healthcare (New York). He has delivered invited lectures on medical writing at Johnson & Johnson and the Center for Business Intelligence (now CBINET). Stephen is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Medical Writers Association, International Society for Medical Publication Professionals™, International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research, and The Phi Beta Kappa. He resides in Midland Park, NJ, with his wife, son, and colorful pet menagerie.

Stephen has put his experiences in the book form to assist other would-be medical writer authors and shared his experience and expertise to aid and encourage anyone who might be contemplating writing and publishing a paper in peer-reviewed journals or a book.


Laurie Endicott Thomas, ELS, has worked as an editor in medical publishing for 30 years. She is the author of five books about medical and social conditions, including some that were self-published. She has also worked as a writer of clinical documentation and has edited many types of material for medical professionals and the lay public. Several of her articles on science topics and medical writing have appeared in the AMWA Journal for the past several years. She, her husband, and beloved dog live in Madison, NJ. She has been a member of AMWA for much of her professional life.

Laurie shared her experience on many practical aspect of self-publishing: Microsoft program tips and tricks such as using style sheets (how to avoid local formatting) and creating table of contents and an Index; Working with a book designer; Essentials of copyrights & permissions; What is an ISBN Number; Uploading your ebook into Amazon using Createspace; Convert a Word document into Calibre for self-publishing an ebook.


Sheila Buff is a highly experienced writer, editor, and book doctor. Sheila is the writer behind eight national bestsellers and more than a dozen other highly successful trade titles. Many of her books have been Amazon bestsellers and top sellers. She has special expertise in helping independent authors self-publish their books in print and as ebooks. Working with doctors and others to write consumer-oriented books for trade publishers as a co-author or, increasingly, for self-publication, she has been writing and editing about health, nutrition, wellness, and consumer-oriented medicine since 1990. Sheila held several positions in book publishing and was managing director of a book packaging company - experience that gives her a thorough understanding of the publishing process. Details of her work can be found at and at

As a writing coach, developmental editor, and book doctor, Sheila has helped many authors prepare successful book proposals and complete their book projects and magazine articles on schedule. She is also an active health journalist writing on dietary supplements, nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, fitness, and many other topics.

Her other writing and personal interests include birding, natural history, gardening, and the outdoors. She is the author of Insider’s Guide to the Hudson Valley (Globe Pequot Press, 2009) and Birding for Beginners, second edition (Falcon Guides, 2010), as well numerous other titles on hiking, birding, and gardening.

Sheila shared her experience of working with clients and authors, on topics such as: Rescuing manuscripts; Handling emergency assignments; Skill sets required for assignments; Helping an author avoid giving bad medical advice; When credit is important; Client sources; Negotiating a deal yourself or using an agent.


Writing for Advisory Board Meetings

In the healthcare world, advisory board meetings are used by pharmaceutical companies to attain strategic advice from a group of consultants or “advisors.” Unlike promotional meetings, advisory board meetings are closed-door gatherings that allow for open dialogue. Findings from these meetings are used to help guide key decisions in how pharmaceutical companies proceed.

As medical writers, our role in these meetings are complex and instrumental in helping our clients get the answers they need. We assembled an outstanding panel of experienced medical writers, Jennifer Chang, PhD, and Dennis Chang, PhD, to address how to:

  • Navigate the strategic writing process involved in meeting preparation
  • Successfully fulfill the onsite role as a medical writer
  • Complete the project with an insightful executive summary


Jennifer Chang, PhD, is a Senior Associate Scientific Director at The Lockwood Group. Jennifer received her PhD from St. John’s University in molecular biology and completed postdoctoral training in cell biology/urology at NYU Langone Medical Center. She has worked across publications, medical affairs, and promotional medical education in a variety of disease areas, such as diabetes, ophthalmology, and epilepsy. She is actively involved in speaking forums around New York City, educating PhD students and postdocs about medical writing career paths, and is currently a mentor in the NYAS Member-to-Member Program.



Dennis Chang, PhD, is a Principal at Clarion Healthcare, a strategy consulting firm focused on the life sciences. Dennis leads the Oncology business at Clarion, overseeing projects that blend cancer-related science, medicine, evolving policies, and biopharma best practices. Dennis received a PhD from the Neurobiology Department at Harvard Medical School and held positions as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brandeis University and as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Wellesley College.



When: 6:00-9:00 PM, Wednesday, June 20
6:00-7:30 Welcome, mingling, dinner
7:30-9:00 Program and Q&A

Where: Hotel Beacon, 2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (at Broadway and 75th St on the Upper West Side)


AMWA-NY’s April Mixer

We celebrated the end of tax season with our Spring Mixer!

When: Thursday, April 19, 6:00-8:00 PM

Where: Two Door Tavern, 1576 3rd Ave, New York, NY (between E 88th and 89th St) in the Upper East Side


Rochester AMWA Networking Gathering

Who: Current AMWA members and Medical Communicators/Writers interested in AMWA membership from the Central/Western NY area.

What: An introductory networking event to connect the local AMWA community. Hors-d'oeuvres were served.

When: 6:00 to 8:00 PM, Monday, March 19, 2018

Where: Writers & Books at 740 University Ave. Rochester, NY 14607-1259

  • Writers & Books is a literary center that fosters and promotes reading and writing as lifelong activities, bringing words and people together in Rochester, NY.
  • Free parking is available at the rear of the building.
  • The facilities are fully wheelchair accessible.


Regulatory Writing Workshop by iJOBS at Rutgers University

AMWA-NY Chapter was pleased to offer our members an opportunity to participate in a regulatory writing workshop organized by the Rutgers Interdisciplinary Job Opportunities for Biomedical Scientists (iJOBS program).

This workshop, mainly geared towards PhD students and post-docs in life sciences, was also a great fit for an aspiring or early-career medical writer interested in learning more about regulatory writing. A panel of established writers relayed their stories and perspectives on regulatory writing careers. Participants learned how to write an Investigator’s Brochure (IB), a regulatory document summarizing relevant nonclinical and clinical data that are essential for a clinical trial investigator to know. Attendees were divided into teams to work on a mock IB.

When: 5:30–8:30 PM, Tuesday, January 30, 2018


5:30 PM Introduction to Regulatory Affairs Program at Rutgers BioPharma
5:45-6:30 PM Panel discussion of regulatory writing careers
6:30 PM Dinner, including an introduction to AMWA
6:45 PM Introduction to regulatory writing
7:15-8:30 PM Hands-on session on Investigator’s Brochure

Where: Deans Conference Room 123, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Google Address: 675 Hoes Lane West, Piscataway, NJ 08854
Driving directions can be found here
Mass Transit: NJ Transit into New Brunswick. Taxi service is available from the New Brunswick train station, approx. 2.5 miles to RWJ Medical School Piscataway Campus

Regulatory Writing Panelists

Arthur Gertel
Principal at MedSciCom, LLC
Arthur Gertel
is the principal at MedSciCom, LLC, an agency providing independent and collaborative strategic regulatory consulting and medical writing services, as well as Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB), SOP preparation, and Bioethics expertise. Arthur has more than thirty-five years of increasingly senior-level positions in the pharmaceutical industry, where he had an extensive history of overseeing preparation of large, complex corporate and regulatory documents, with particular expertise in developing strategic approaches to developing and registering new therapies at companies such as Schering-Plough, Hoffman-La Roche and Revlon. Arthur has held leadership positions in many professional organizations, including CDISC (Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium), ACRES (Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety), AMWA (American Medical Writers Association), GAPP (Global Alliance of Publication Professionals). He attended graduate school at NYU, New York Medical College and Temple University.

Diane Petrovich, PhD
Head of Medical Writing Infectious Diseases and Vaccines
Merck & Co.
Diane Petrovich
is the Head of Medical Writing, Infectious Diseases and Vaccines at Merck. In this role, Diane works with the global head of Medical Writing and has established a Medical Writing unit for the Infectious Diseases and Vaccines therapeutic area. She takes leadership responsibilities for medical writing support of 100+ regulatory documents a year, including clinical study reports (CSRs), clinical summaries for registration dossiers, briefing books, and other clinical documentation. Before joining Merck, Diane had worked at PRA Health Sciences, Novo Nordisk, and Wyeth-Ayerst Research. Diane received her PhD degree in Pathology from Temple University of Medicine at Philadelphia and completed her postdoctoral training in Biophysics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Ketna Volcy, PhD
Medical Writer Consultant
Ketna Volcy
is a medical writer providing medical writing deliverables for the development of clinical efficacy programs and for the management of product safety while working in cross-functional teams. Her responsibilities include development of module 2 summaries and product labeling to support new drug application (NDA) submissions. She had previously worked as a regulatory medical writer at Indivior, where she developed clinical study protocols and investigator's brochures according to ICH and GCP guidelines, and company SOPs. Ketna received her PhD degree in Microbiology from University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and completed her postdoctoral training at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Rupal Patel
Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs
Chugai Pharm
Rupal Patel
is a Senior Manager of Regulatory Affairs at Chugai Pharm. In this role, she supports and provides regulatory strategy inputs for multiple development projects in different therapeutic areas, facilitating phase transfers. Rupal is also an adjunct assistant professor at Rutgers in the Master of Science in Clinical Trials Sciences Program. She has 10 years of regulatory affairs experience and 20+ years of professional experience in pharmaceutical industry including Bayer Schering, Sanoi-Aventis, Celgene, Novo Nordisk. Rupal received her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Rutgers University and later obtained MBA in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

AMWA Speaker

Qing Zhou, PhD
President, AMWA Empire State – Metro New York Chapter (AMWA-NY)
Qing Zhou
grew up in China and came to the United States for her PhD study in Molecular Pharmacology at Purdue University. Qing found her passion for scientific communication and joined Cook Research Incorporated, a medical device company, as a scientific communications scientist. She has written regulatory and scientific documents on a wide range of medical devices, and her current main responsibility is to plan and develop scientific publications arising from clinical studies of innovative endovascular therapies. Qing has been an AMWA member since 2006 and has volunteered in various positions at local chapters as well as at the national organization level. She currently serves as the president of AMWA-NY.


Janet Alder, PhD
Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology
Assistant Dean of School of Graduate Studies
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers University
Janet Alder
is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Cell Biology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Assistant Dean for Graduate Academic and Student Affairs at School of Graduate Studies, Rutgers University. She is also a Program Executive Director for iJOBS, an NIH funded program intended to support bold and innovative approaches to establish and broaden new paradigm for graduate and postdoctoral training.

Doreen Lechner, PhD
Program Director and Assistant Professor, Clinical Trial Sciences
BioPharma Educational Initiative, Rutgers University
Doreen Lechner
is the Program Director of the Master Science in Clinical Trial Sciences Program at School of Health Professions (SHP), the Program Director of the Biopharma Educational Initiative, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Informatics at Rutgers. She brings over 30 years of pharmaceutical industry experiences in all areas of clinical trial, regulatory, and drug safety to the program. Doreen holds the recognition as “One of the 100 Most Inspiring People in the Life-Sciences Industry” by PharmaVoice. She received her doctoral degree in Pharmacology from Rutgers University - Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Yunbing Ma, PhD
Postdocteral Associate
Waksman Institute of Microbiology, Rutgers University
Yunbing Ma
is a Postdocteral Associate at Waksman Institute of Microbiology, Rutgers. She obtained her PhD degree in Biological Sciences from Louisiana State University. She has conducted research in areas of metabolic regulation, including sustainable agriculture and renewable energy, and iatrogenic hypoglycemia etiology in diabetic patients. Passionate for life-long learning and for serving a broader community, Yunbing is transitioning into the field of medical communication. She joined AMWA in June 2017 and is excited about the opportunity to help coordinate this event between AMWA-NY and Rutgers iJOBS. For any questions, please contact Qing Zhou.


AMWA-NY Chapter Holiday Party

The 2017 AMWA-NY annual holiday party was held at Isola on Columbus, a friendly local spot featuring classic Italian cuisine.

When: 6:00–8:30 PM, Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Where: Isola on Columbus, 994 Columbus Ave. (between 108th St. & 109th St.), New York, NY 10025

$10 members
$15 non-members


Chapter Dinner at AMWA 2017 Annual Conference (Thursday, November 2)

Dinner was at Bongos in Disney Springs.


AMWA-NY was delighted to host an evening meeting (October 11, 2017) on an exciting and rapidly advancing field of medicine:


Unlike conventional therapies that aim to kill cancer cells directly, immunotherapy harnesses the human body’s inherent immune responses to fight cancer. Novel immuno-oncology agents such as PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors, with their remarkable clinical profile and approval for multiple cancers, have transformed cancer treatment. Unprecedented opportunities, though not without challenges, exist for drug developers, clinical researchers, and clinicians to develop more effective and durable cancer therapies.

Our expert panel discussed opportunities and challenges in immuno-oncology from several important perspectives such as translational science, clinical trial design, and patient care, and audience members were able to ask questions. A buffet dinner was included.

When: October 11, Wednesday, 6:00-9:00 PM
6:00-7:00 Welcome, mingling, dinner
7:00-8:55 Program and Q&A

Where: Hotel Beacon, 2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
(Upper West Side, Broadway and 75th Street)

Program and Panel Bios

The program consisted of presentations by each panelist, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Israel Lowy, MD, PhD, a leader in drug development, will give an overview of immuno-oncology and discuss opportunities and challenges in developing immuno-oncology agents. Liz Kuney, MS, CCRP, a seasoned medical writer and clinical research professional, will discuss immunotherapy-specific response criteria (eg, iRECIST, iRANO) and the influence of medical imaging in designing and conducting clinical trials. Songchuan Guo, MD, PhD, a cancer researcher and attending oncologist, will speak on clinical uptake of immunotherapy, with a focus on treating patients with GI cancers.

Israel Lowy, MD, PhD
Vice President of Global Clinical Development, Head of Translational Science and Clinical Oncology, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Lowy leads Regeneron’s efforts to advance a broad portfolio of new antibody-based immuno-oncology (IO) therapeutics to patients. Joining Regeneron in 2010, he has guided Regeneron’s first IO agent into the clinic – a PD-1 antibody known as REGN2810. REGN2810 is currently in multiple clinical trials for two non-melanoma skin cancers and a form of lung cancer, as well as exploratory combination trials. Additional investigational candidates include REGN1979, a CD20xCD3 bispecific antibody being studied in CD20+ B cell malignancies, and REGN3767, a LAG-3 antibody being studied as monotherapy and in combination with REGN2810. Prior to Regeneron, Dr. Lowy led pioneering clinical efforts in IO at Medarex where he designed and implemented multiple early anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1 and anti-CTLA-4 studies, among them the landmark combination study of the antibodies now known as ipilimumab (YERVOY®) and nivolumab (OPDIVO®). Dr. Lowy graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with an AB in Biochemical Sciences, and from Columbia University with an MD and PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics.

Liz Kuney, MS, CCRP
Sr. Medical Writer, BioTelemetry Research (VirtualScopics and CardioCore)

Liz has been involved in developing central review paradigms and writing imaging charters for scores of oncology trials for over 12 years, as well as leading other clinical, regulatory, and published materials for diverse disease indications and investigational therapies. Liz believes that meticulous medical writing and creative thinking are crucial aspects of rigorous clinical research. She is an enthusiastic member of AMWA and eager to see where new developments in immuno-oncology will take us. Liz works from her home-office in Syracuse, NY, where she lives with her husband and their two merry hounds!

Songchuan Guo, MD, PhD
Attending Physician in Hematology/Oncology, NYU Langone Medical Center

Dr. Guo obtained his PhD degree at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, where he trained in Molecular Virology and Targeted Cancer Therapy and conducted research on a novel nanotechnology platform for targeted cancer therapy. He published the research findings in academic journals including Nano Letters, Human Gene Therapy, and Gene Therapy. His research findings also formed the technological foundation of a startup biotechnology company at Purdue Research Park. After gaining research experiences in basic science, he transitioned back in clinical medicine and received his residency training in Internal Medicine at Montefiore Mount Vernon Hospital of New York, and subsequently, his sub-specialty training in Hematology and Oncology at New York University Medical Center (NYUMC). His research on methylation profiling of colorectal cancer was presented at the 2016 GI ASCO Meeting. He is currently a faculty member of Perlmutter Cancer Center of NYU. He also works as an attending physician at the NYU Langone Medical Associates - Canal Street where he strives to serve the Asian community with the state-of-the-art cancer care.

Moderator: Qing Zhou, PhD, ELS, CMPP, President of AMWA Empire State - Metro New York Chapter
Qing has more than 10 years’ experience as a medical writer in the medical device industry. After obtaining a PhD degree in Molecular Pharmacology from Purdue University, Qing joined Cook Research Incorporated where has gain writing experience in clinical and regulatory documents, as well as scientific publications. In her current role, Qing works closely with study investigators, clinical scientists, biostatisticians and other stakeholders to develop publication plans for clinical studies of medical devices, primarily in the area of endovascular therapy for cardiovascular diseases. Qing also regularly conducts literature searches to support clinical study design, clinical evaluation, and risk benefit analysis of medical devices.

Any Questions? Please contact Qing Zhou.


A Summer Networker in Buffalo, NY

Our Membership Regional Liaison, Anand Devasthanam, organized a networker for fellow medical writers in his area.

Also a note for all chapter members -- if you would like to organize a networker in a region outside of Manhattan, please contact Anand so he can help you get the ball rolling. AMWA-NY will likely be able to contribute to some of the costs.

When: Friday July 28 at 6:00 PM

Where: Pan American Grille and Brewery, 391 Washington St. Buffalo NY 14203


An AMWA-NY Summer Networker in the City

A summer networker hosted by the AMWA New York chapter was held in Manhattan to talk shop, develop new connections, and have a great night of "make your own tacos" together.

We also had a very special guest for this event: Lori Alexander, the AMWA National President.

When: Wednesday August 23,  5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.

Where: Blockheads, the Upper West Side location, 175 West 90th (& 91st) at Amsterdam Ave., NYC.


AMWA-NY Evening Meeting

At the May 24, 2017, AMWA-NY evening meeting, we learned from a distinguished panel of experts about

Epidemiology and Health Disparities

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Heart Association, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Hospital Association, and the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine [NAM]) -- all urge us to join the effort to eliminate health disparities. In a joint statement, the American Hospital Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges recently explained: “Addressing disparities is no longer just about morality, ethics and social justice: It is essential for performance excellence and improved community health.”

Medical writers and editors often encounter topics on health disparities and social determinants of health. It may be an article here and there. It may be a few sentences tucked into the discussion section of a study or review article. It may be in a segment of a website. It may be in a newsletter, whether of a medical center, a professional organization, or an association advocating for patients and families coping with an illness. The focus of the program is to advance medical writers’ and editors’ understanding of critical issues related to health disparities and social determinants of health.

When: May 24, Wednesday, 6:15 PM – 9:00 PM
6:15-7:00 Welcome, mingling, dinner
7:00-8:55 Program and Q&A

Where: Hotel Beacon, 2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
(Upper West Side, Broadway and 75th Street)

Panelists and topics

Epidemiology -- Jhumka Gupta, ScD, Assistant Professor, Department of Global and Community Health, College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University
Medical writers and editors encounter epidemiological findings frequently -- in the introduction and discussion sections of studies and reviews, in editorials and perspectives, in guidelines, at websites. At the May program you will learn:

  • How to evaluate the reliability of epidemiological data and associated information.
    Examples of both reliable and less-than-reliable published epidemiological data.
    Examples from health disparities studies of how to interpret epidemiological findings.
  • Sources of reliable epidemiological data on the web and elsewhere. Additional sources.
  • Three things to keep in mind about understanding epidemiological data.
  • How to communicate epidemiological data. Tools useful for medical writers: A Guide to Reporting and a Numbers Glossary.

Health Disparities -- Rachel Shelton, ScD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Whether you are writing or editing about hypertension or lung cancer, about epigenetics or epidemics, health disparities remain apparent and relevant. Understanding the nature of health disparities and what shapes them in medical care and public health are essential. At the May program you will learn:

  • What are health disparities? How moving to eliminate or reduce disparities fits in with national goals of federal/state/local agencies. Examples of disparities that are striking and of great impact.
  • Reliable sources of data on health disparities.
  • Understanding the framing of messages about health disparities. The contrast between a social-determinants-of-health frame vs. behavioral/personal- responsibility frame. The example of health disparities and obesity framing in the media, how that has shifted over time, and how the framing of obesity impacts how it is understood.
  • Some challenges in writing about health disparities for clinicians and in writing for the public. Examples of effective ways of framing disparities.

Health Disparities -- Karen Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, Deputy Commissioner, NYC Health Department’s Center for Health Equity

  • Exploring social determinants through the lens of racial and social justice. How to expand the narrative to account for factors that create and exacerbate health inequities. How institutions perpetuate racism. How to raise awareness and give voice to communities experiencing inequities in health.
  • How does racism impact health? What responsibility do medical writers and editors have to bring attention to health inequities being experienced in and across neighborhoods? How to include important elements of context when writing about health outcomes. How to communicate findings to communities experiencing injustices in health. Using storytelling.
  • Relying upon well-designed research studies, we must push open conventions defining the boundaries of what is considered to be directly relevant to health. We must identify the root causes of injustices that hinder people’s health. These injustices have been fostered through historical and tenured systems of racism and oppression. We must work to nullify and rectify, to save lives, and to advance health equity across our country.

Moderator: Bob Kirsch, medical writer and editor, and past president of the chapter

Panelist bios

Jhumka Gupta, ScD, is an Assistant Professor, Department of Global and Community Health, College of Health and Human Services, George Mason University. She is a social epidemiologist whose research focuses on gender-based violence against women and girls (e.g. intimate partner violence, sex trafficking). Specifically, she investigates the mental and reproductive health implications of gender-based violence, and conducts intervention studies aimed at reducing violence against women. Her primary focus is with vulnerable populations, both within and outside of the United States, and includes refugees, immigrants, and communities impacted by conflict. She has authored or co-authored over fifty peer-reviewed publications on these topics. Dr. Gupta has served as Assistant Director of a women’s health program in rural Haiti and she has also been involved with several immigrant advocacy organizations.

Rachel Shelton, ScD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and a social and behavioral researcher with expertise in cancer prevention and control and health disparities. Dr. Shelton has training in social epidemiology, community-based participatory research, and intervention development, and uses both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Her current research largely focuses on understanding aspects of social context to improve population health and addresses racial/ethnic and socioeconomic-based health disparities. Specific areas of inquiry relate to: (1) how interpersonal, structural, and sociocultural factors influence preventive health behaviors (e.g. physical activity, cancer screening behaviors) associated with cancer and obesity; and (2) developing, disseminating and sustaining community-based and health systems interventions to reduce the risk of cancer and obesity. The overarching goal of her research is to advance social science research and interventions/policies to promote health and reduce health disparities among underserved populations. She recently completed a study investigating the personal and community impact of lay health advisors in African-American communities, and factors that contribute to the sustainability of these programs in community settings.

Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH, currently serves as a Deputy Commissioner in the New York City Department of Health. Further, she is the Founding Director of NYC’s Center for Health Equity. The Center’s mission is to bring an explicit focus to health equity in all segments of the Department’s work by tackling such structural barriers as racism, ensuring meaningful community engagement, and fostering interagency coordination in neighborhoods with the highest disease burden. Dr. Maybank is Vice President of the Empire State Medical Association, the NYS affiliate of the National Medical Association. Previously, she was an Assistant Commissioner in the NYC Health Department and Director of the Brooklyn Office, engaging in a place-based approach. From 2006 to 2009, Dr. Maybank successfully launched the Office of Minority Health in the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and was the Founding Director. She appears frequently in the media and on the lecture circuit, and has served as an advisor on the award-winning documentary Soul Food Junkies and on Black Women in Medicine. For her accomplishments, she has won numerous awards. Dr. Maybank holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University, a MD from Temple University School of Medicine, and a MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is pediatrician board certified in Preventive Medicine/Public Health.

Bob Kirsch, is an experienced medical writer and editor, and a past president of the chapter. Most of his work has focused on clinical medicine and medical research. In addition, he has written on prevention for The Lancet, on palliative care for Scientific American, on how physicians view medical risk for The Washington Post, and on health disparities for City Limits. His website is For questions about this program please contact him:

Examples of health disparities:

  • During 2009-2010 the prevalence of smoking was 46.4% among 12th grade-aged youth who had dropped out of school compared with 21.9% among youth who were still in the 12th grade.
  • The rate of premature death (death among persons aged < 75 years) was higher among non-Hispanic blacks than their white counterparts (65.5 versus 43.2) [per 100,000 population]. Similarly, the premature death rate from CHD and stroke continues to be higher among black adults than their white counterparts.
  • American Indians and Alaska Natives born today have a life expectancy that is 4.4 years less than the U.S. all races population.
  • The rate of cancer death among African American men is particularly alarming at 269.3 per 100,000.6, as compared to 209.8 for white males and 150.1 for Hispanic males.
  • Life expectancy of 40-year-old men in the poorest 1% of the income distribution is 14.6 years shorter than for men in the richest 1%, and for women, the difference is 10.1 years.
  • According to 2011-2014 data released by the CDC, rates of obesity differ among populations, with 48.2% of African Americans, 42.6% of Hispanics, and 34.6% of whites affected.

Examples of social determinants of health:

  • According to the CDC, the estimated percentage of the population living within 150 meters of a major highway ranged from 3.1% for non-Hispanic whites to “a high of 5.0% for Hispanics and 5.4% for Asians/Pacific Islanders.”
  • According to a 2017 study in Obstet Gynecol, Hispanic compared with non-Hispanic white mothers are more likely to deliver at hospitals with higher risk-adjusted severe maternal morbidity rates and these differences in site of delivery may contribute to excess morbidity among Hispanic mothers.”
  • According to a 2016 study in Am J Obstet Gynecol, “Black mothers are more likely to deliver at higher risk-standardized severe maternal morbidity hospitals than are white mothers, contributing to black-white disparities.”
  • According to an article in NEJM, “Environmental and policy approaches (e.g,. taxation and restrictive policies) that reduce the rate of risky behaviors and that increase access to treatment are particularly important for tobacco control at the population level. However, the current federal excise tax on tobacco, $1.01, is low as compared with the average of about $3.15 per pack in high-income countries worldwide."
  • According to The Institute of Medicine, as minority patients encounter health systems even the administrative and clerical staff may be expected to mirror social attitudes and trends regarding race and ethnicity.
  • According to The Institute of Medicine, “Traditionally, states have paid physicians very poorly for treating Medicaid patients” and so “most studies” have shown “Medicaid patients are less likely to have access to physicians in their outpatient practices, as well as to specialists and others who may be perceived as more qualified.”
  • According to the CDC, “Many disadvantaged, disenfranchised persons not only distrust the government, but they may also fear it,” (where “government” refers to local health departments).
  • According to an article in NEJM, “Organizations that serve communities with limited economic resources, such as safety-net health centers, have a particular role to play in ensuring equitable access to cancer-prevention programs. However, given limited resources and high demand, it can be difficult to integrate new [prevention] practices into such organizations.”

A recent review in Ann Rev Public Health summarizes research indicating that for populations with limited financial and social resources, “recent evidence implicated chronic stress in the causal pathways linking multiple upstream social determinants with health, through neuroendocrine, inflammatory, immune, and/or vascular mechanisms. Stressful experiences – such as those associated with social disadvantage, including economic hardship and racial discrimination – may trigger the release of cortisol, cytokines, and other substances that can damage immune defenses, vital organs, and physiologic systems.” [bold added]

In communicating about health disparities, it is essential that that we explain very, very clearly that a portion of these disparities, a large portion, are rooted in factors beyond the realm of “personal responsibility.” If someone lives near the city incinerator in a part of town where the air is much polluted, billboards advertising brands of alcohol much to be seen, and rodents and cockroaches abundant; where children attend schools in shabby, dilapidated buildings while seeing new, shiny schools when traveling to other schools for sporting events; where the person who wanders into a different neighborhood may face hostility coated with bias; and where few stores sell fresh produce – such circumstances are beyond the reach of “personal responsibility.” Yet many Americans face such circumstances. Personal responsibility matters, but it is a gross distortion to picture it as the whole canvas. We all must brush our teeth and watch our weight and purchase sunscreen and exercise regularly and appear at a doctor’s office when needed. At the same time, the factors that support the taking of personal responsibility and the factors that undermine the taking of personal responsibility remain influential. Leaving these structural factors that shape our health out of the picture is not helpful.

As James Baldwin says in conversation with Margaret Mead in the book, A Rap on Race (1971), people might look at someone like Harry Belafonte and then at “those people rioting on the South Side” and conclude “that if those people on the South Side washed themselves and straightened up they could all be Harry Belafonte.” Since that time an enormous store of research has started to elucidate the multiplicity of social factors impacting each person’s, each family’s, and each community’s health. As a National Academies of Medicine initiative wrote in March, 2017 in JAMA, decades of research have shown that “the leading health determinants are outside of healthcare.” Documents issued by the NAM, NIH, the CDC, and the World Health Organization have summarized the research; and all of these organizations are urging us to work to reduce health disparities and address social determinants of health where they are inequitable, unfair, or oppressive. Medical writers possess a talent for entering into published conversations and helping to steer these conversations in an ethical and sensible direction. Health disparities and social determinants of health define a terrain in which we have the power and should have the will to make a difference.

A sheet containing the full references for the statements included above was distributed at the May 24 meeting.

Any Questions? Please contact Bob Kirsch.


AMWA-NY Chapter Networking Dinner and Business Meeting

After a long winter, it was a great occasion to catch up with old friends, make new connections, and learn about what is happening at the chapter.

At the roundtable dinner, our board members moderated discussions on popular topics such as breaking into medical writing, running your freelance business, and advancing our careers in the medical writing field.

It was an opportunity to share thoughts and experience – the real power of AMWA is coming together and learning from each other.

At the business meeting after the dinner, there was a brief update of chapter governance and finance, as well as the chapter’s goals for 2017. Ideas about educational and networking events were discussed, as well as questions about the chapter. Volunteer opportunities were also discussed.

When: March 29th, Wednesday, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

6:30-7:00 Welcome, mingling
7:00-8:00 Roundtable dinner
8:00-8:30 Business meeting
8:30-9:00 Q&A

Where: Hotel Beacon, 2130 Broadway, New York, NY 10023
(Upper West Side, Broadway and 75th Street)

Any Questions? Please contact Qing Zhou.


Holiday Party 2016

When: Monday December 5, 2016, 6:00 - 9:00 PM

Where: Bernheim & Schwartz, 2911 Broadway, New York, NY 10025 (Broadway between W 113 & 114 St)

AMWA-NY evening program, "Writing in the Realm of Opioid Epidemic"

An AMWA-NY Chapter Evening Program sponsored by AXON

Opioid misuse has grown to be an epidemic today. It is at the heart of medical, government, and media discussions and has prompted policymakers to respond. With these rapidly evolving changes, medical writers and healthcare practitioners need to be well informed of both laws and language that are used to convey these messages.

When: Wednesday October 26, 2016, 5:30-8:30 PM
Where: 800 Westchester Ave, Rye Brook, NY 10573

Directions: Public transportation: take the MetroNorth New Haven line to Rye or Port Chester Stop, and hail a taxi
Driving: I-95 or Hutchinson River Parkway; free parking available onsite

Dinner was served.

Please contact Kiran Ghouri if you need more information.

A panel of experts discussed the current climate of writing about the opioid epidemic.

The panelists included:

Christine Rhodes, Medical Education Specialist
Rhodes Communication Strategy

Christine Rhodes is an experienced medical writer and editor with 15+ years’ experience in account services and program direction in the medical communications field, preceded by experience as an editor for several medical publications. Her experience in the pharmaceutical industry coupled with her knowledge of nutrition and passion for integrative health provide a rich background from which to draw in developing targeted communications that address the needs of today’s healthcare professionals and consumers. She takes complex scientific material and turns it into relevant, articles, needs assessment documents, digital programs, etc. for a variety of health professionals. Recent experience includes publications, curriculum development, CME proposals, digital communications, slide presentations, and advisory board summaries. For the last seven years, she has served as clinical editor of The Pain Practitioner, the official publication of The American Academy of Pain Management. In this role, she has researched and written extensively about chronic pain and opioids. In addition, her expertise includes GI disorders, metabolic disease, infectious disease, men and women’s health, and mental health disorders.

Susan A. Craig, Director, Public Information and Communication
New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

Susan A. Craig, MPH, is a communications, media relations, social media, and all-around public relations strategist with a proven track record at top-brand international and national institutions, including large government agencies, academic medical centers and Fortune 500 corporations. She is passionate about communicating to target audiences to improve public health, inspire informed healthcare choices, prevent disease and illness, and advance knowledge and understanding of health, science, and medicine. Currently, she is the director of public information and communications at the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. Susan oversees the agency’s press outreach and directs communications aimed at curbing the heroin and prescription opioid public health crisis facing New York State and increasing public awareness about the disease of addiction, under Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s leadership. Susan has also served as senior public affairs and science communicator for Weight Watchers International, Inc., as press secretary for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and in senior media relations/communications positions at Columbia University Medical Center and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Leighland Feinman, Scientific Affairs Associate and Medical Writer
AXON Communications

Leighland Feinman, PhD, is a Medical Writer and Scientific Affairs Associate at AXON Communications in Rye Brook, NY. Leighland obtained his PhD at Mount Sinai in the Microbiology department under the training of Dr. Megan Shaw, and his undergraduate degree at Caltech. Concurrent with his scientific training, Dr. Feinman published works of nonfiction and fiction under the pen name John Skylar. His work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Mashable, and many other venues, generating millions of reads and thousands of shares. In medical writing, Leighland has found opportunities to combine his love of science with his ability to communicate and is happy to offer any guidance that may be needed for those interested in his line of work. In his time with AXON, he has worked on oncology, immunology, allergy, asthma, opioid analgesics/pain management, health economics and opportunities research, and a variety of other areas.


AMWA and STC Summer Mingler (Upstate)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016, from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EDT)
Towpath Cafe, 6 North Main Street, Fairport, NY 14450

An informal networking event.
Appetizers were provided by AMWA; nonalcoholic drinks were provided by STC.


A Summer Night's Networker (NYC)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016, from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM
Han Dynasty, 215 West 85th Street, New York, NY 10024

Our summertime networking event in Manhattan.
Delicious Chinese appetizers were provided by the chapter.



Sponsored by SWINY and AMWA-NY

Tips from the Experts

As freelancers and contractors who work in medical communications, we know how to write successfully. But freelancing is also a business—and running the business end successfully requires a very different knowledge base and skill set. And it’s not taught in school.

AMWA-NY and SWINY assembled a panel of experts to do this for us. A highly knowledgeable freelance medical writer and a specially experienced lawyer and accountant discussed central issues and answered questions to help participants cope productively with the business of freelancing.

Panel Moderator: Lloyd E. Zimmerman MD, MPH—AMWA-NY Chapter President

As the head of Zimmerman Medical Communications (, Dr. Zimmerman has written extensively in both promotional and medical educational capacities for both domestic and international clients. His work has included a variety of print and interactive-based programs in multiple therapeutic health care disciplines, including cardiovascular medicine, gastroenterology, metabolic disease, neurology, obstetrics/gynecology, oncology, psychiatry, pulmonology, rheumatology, and urology. He is professionally active in the medical communications field, both as the Chapter President for the Empire State-Metropolitan New York Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and a board member of Science Writers in New York (SWINY).

Our speakers included:


Anjani Shah has a Ph.D. in cell biology and over 15 years of experience in the science communications field. Her diverse portfolio includes writing both technology and media backgrounders, press releases, patient materials, technology review articles, poster abstracts, website content, business plans, advisory board summaries and CME programs for audiences ranging from lay people to business professionals to scientists and physicians.

LAWYER: David Leichtman

David Leichtman is a partner in the Intellectual Property Litigation and Business Litigation Groups of Robins Kaplan LLP and has tried a variety of complex matters in federal and state courts across the country. He handles matters that include patent, copyright, trade secret and trademark cases, as well as a spectrum of litigation involving antitrust, environmental, contract, fraud, and other business torts. David also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Volunteer Lawyers For The Arts, Inc., as Vice-Chair of the IPO Committee on Copyright Practice, and on the NYIPLA Committees on Patent Litigation and Inventor of the Year.


Juda Kallus graduated from Baruch College in 1973 with a major in accounting. After an interim of part-time and seasonal work as a tax accountant, he began a 15-year tenure with the U.S. Defense Department as a contract auditor for their Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA). During this time he moonlighted as a tax accountant, then established his own practice and also earned his Enrolled Agent certificate from the IRS. Juda’s practice thrived, and he left the DCAA in 1990 to pursue it full time. His single most important area of concentration and expertise has remained tax preparation and planning with freelancers and small-business professionals. Juda is a guest speaker at professional meetings.

WHEN: Thursday June 16, 2016, 6-9 PM

WHERE: Beacon Hotel, 2130 Broadway (at W. 74th Street), Manhattan, NYC

COST (included dinner)

$25—AMWA and SWINY members



Boost your productivity and improve the quality of your Microsoft Word documents!

Advanced Microsoft Word 2010 for PCs

Click here for a PDF of the seminar.

Microsoft (MS) Word is ubiquitous in the publishing industry, medical or otherwise. Yet, many medical writers and editors use the program as little more than a glorified typewriter. In this interactive seminar, we introduced participants to the back-end of the program—through preferences and macros—to create consistent, readable documents and proofread efficiently. Through a combination of instruction, hands-on tutorial, and test driving, participants learned how to wring the most out of MS Word to expedite their workflow and create impeccable documents.

When: Wednesday March 16th, 6:00-9:00 pm

Where: Barnard College, Barnard Hall, Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd floor (3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, between 116th and 120th Streets). For map, see here. For parking, see here.

Cost included dinner.

$25.00 for AMWA members
$35.00 for non-members

Speaker: Melissa Bogen, ELS
Melissa L. Bogen, owner of Bogen Editorial Services, graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in Psychobiology. She has been in medical publishing since 1987 and a full-time freelance editor since 1997. A board-certified Editor in the Life Sciences since 2001, Melissa also holds core, advanced, and composition & publication certificates from the American Medical Writers Association. Melissa’s expertise is in editing, copy editing, fact checking, and proofreading in a wide range of therapeutic areas, most prominently (but not limited to) cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, obstetrics & gynecology, pain, and urology.

Meeting Organizer: Jennifer Nepo, MS

Jennifer Nepo is a freelance medical writer based in Westchester County, NY and is the Secretary of the AMWA Metro NY chapter. Jennifer holds a master's degree in biochemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in biology from Tufts University. Drawing on her strong scientific background and passion for medical science, Jennifer converts complex information into clear, accurate and engaging documents for lay and professional audiences.


Webinar: EndNote—Become an Advanced User With These Tips and Tricks

Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 7:00pm - 8:30pm, EST

Click here for a recording of the seminar.

EndNote is not always intuitive to use. It's time to end your frustration and to learn how to put the power of EndNote to work for you. Discover the ins and outs of EndNote from a true expert. Donna Kirking has been providing EndNote training and support for Thomson Reuters for 16 years. This class covered the basics of using EndNote and provided tips and tricks to streamline using EndNote to gather and organize references, manage PDFs, and cite while you write in in Microsoft Word. The webinar included a Q & A session.

Presenter: Donna Kirking, Product Trainer, Researcher Solutions, Science and Scholarly Research, Thomson Reuters

This webinar used a WebEx platform.


AMWA-NY Holiday Party

Monday December 7, 2015, 6-9 pm

Bernheim & Schwartz
2911 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

The party included a full buffet dinner and two free drinks to celebrate the season.
Vegetarian and gluten-free selections were available.
A raffle featured prizes, including an AMWA webinar, donated by other members and the chapter.


$30 AMWA members
$35 Non-AMWA members


AMWA-NY Dinner Meeting

Thursday November 5, 2015, 6-9 pm

Beacon Hotel
2130 Broadway (W 74th/W 75th Streets)
New York, NY 10023

"Intersection: Medical Writers, Journalists and Artists"

It's a small world when it comes to medical writing!

Two of our panel members—Renee Lucas, illustrator and production manager for the Nature Group, and Michael Talbot Peterson, president of his own private graphic design company and three-time recipient of the Rx Club Design Award—are former colleagues of AMWA-NY Chapter members. Our third panel member, medical and science journalist Steve Mirsky, has written the feature column, "Anti-Gravity" in Scientific American for years and produces podcasts and blogs for social media. He has been a radio personality as well and uses wit and humor to aid in communication. The fourth panel member, Irene Wielawski—an independent writer and editor specializing in health care and policy topics—has earned two team Pulitzer Prizes and a Pulitzer finalist citation for medical journalism.

All four of our panel members have enthusiastic praise for teaming up writers and artists, citing how together they are able to create superior content and messaging. Each shared insights about how to synergize these relationships and their relevant career experiences. Participants had the opportunity to ask them questions during the extended Q&A session following the presentations.


$25 AMWA members
$35 Non-AMWA members


AMWA-NY Upper East Side Networking Event

August 12, 2015, 5:30-8:30 pm

The Uptown Restaurant & Bar
1576 Third Avenue, NY, NY 10128
Phone: (212) 828-1388

A lively networking event in a convivial environment, complete with tempting appetizers. Cash bar, with one free drink.


Insights from AMWA's Annual Conferences

Wednesday, June 17, 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm

Beacon Hotel (Broadway Room)
2130 Broadway (W 74th/W 75th Streets)
New York, NY 10023

Moderator: Marjorie Winters, Program Chair, AMWA-Empire State-NY Metro Chapter

Prior to AMWA's 75th Annual Conference, we shared some insights we've learned and experiences we've had With the multitude and variety of learning opportunities offered at AMWA's Annual Conferences. This popular roundtable format featured four speakers from our own chapter sharing their insights.

Session One: Choice of one roundtable, 7:00 PM-7:45 PM

Presenter 1: Lloyd Zimmerman, MD, MPH

Topic: Do Your Homework to Make the Most of Your AMWA Annual Conference Experience: Work Track Decisions, Completing Homework, and Managing Your Networking and "Down Time"

Lloyd Zimmerman, MD, MPH, received his MD from Ross University School of Medicine and his MPH from New York Medical College. Dr. Zimmerman is an active member of several professional medical writer associations, including the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) and Science Writers in New York (SWINY). Presently, he is the Chapter President and previously was the Treasurer for the Empire State-Metropolitan New York Chapter of AMWA (AMWA-NY). As the head of Zimmerman Medical Communications (, he has written extensively for both domestic and international clients on a variety of critical therapeutic disciplines, including cardiovascular medicine, gastroenterology, metabolic disease, neurology, obstetrics/gynecology, oncology, psychiatry, pulmonology, rheumatology, and urology. Dr. Zimmerman has been a keynote conference speaker at a conference at a continuing education, publishing and consulting company at which he discussed opportunities in medical writing for healthcare professionals.

Presenter 2: Qing Zhou, PhD, ELS

Topic: Becoming a Board Certified Editor in Life Sciences: What is BELS Certification? How to Study for the Test

Qing Zhou, PhD, ELS has more than 10 years' experience in scientific writing and editing. Growing up in China, Qing learned English as a second language and was drawn to its clarity and universality in communicating scientific information. After obtaining a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Wuhan University in China and a PhD degree in Molecular Pharmacology from Purdue University in Indiana, Qing decided to pursue scientific writing as a career. Qing is currently a full-time scientific writer at Cook Research Incorporated, where she writes and edits scientific publications and regulatory reports on clinical studies of medical devices for the treatment of cardiovascular and gastrointestinal diseases. Qing has been an AMWA member since 2006 and became a BELS certified editor in 2014. She currently serves as Treasurer of AMWA-NY.

Session Two: Choice of One Roundtable, 8:00 PM-8:45 PM

Presenter 3: Anjani Shah, PhD

Covering a Scientific Conference: From a roundtable session
Advisory Boards: From an open session
Writing Case Studies for Medical Education: From an open session
Manuscript Writing: From an open session by Brian Bass

A former president and current board member of the AMWA-NY Chapter, Anjani earned her Ph.D from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the area of signal transduction and her undergraduate degree in biology from Princeton University. For the past eight years she has mostly worked for Cambridge Healthtech Institute as a Conference Director, producing drug discovery conferences for scientists in pharma and biotech. However she also occasionally takes on other freelance projects such as writing technology backgrounders, review articles and CME programs for audiences ranging from lay people to business professionals to scientists and physicians. Clients include pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies (often via a communications agency) and non-profit, disease-related patient advocacy groups. Previous positions were Director of Scientific Affairs for Targent Pharmaceuticals, a start-up cancer specialty pharmaceutical company and Account Executive for Noonan/Russo Communications (now Russo Partners), a public relations company specializing in the biotech industry.

Presenter 4: Tressa Chung, RPh, CMPP

Lesser Known Opportunities Within Medical Writing: Experience From 2 Roundtable Discussions: 1) International Editing and 2) Writing for Medical Devices (vs. Pharmaceutical Products)
Ethics: Report on Two Ethics Workshops Required for Certification

Tressa Chung, RPh, CMPP, is currently serving as the AMWA-NY Program Coordinator. As a longtime AMWA member who only recently joined the AMWA-NY Board of Directors, Tressa is an example of how interested members are welcome to become active contributors to AMWA-NY! Tressa is a graduate of the Rutgers College of Pharmacy. With over 13 years of experience in medical writing and communications, Tressa has worked on a wide range of projects for various audiences within the medical and nursing communities. In her current position as a Scientific Solutions Portfolio Team Lead at Envision Pharma Group, Tressa is focused on publications and medical affairs-related initiatives.


$25 AMWA members
$35 Non-AMWA members


Career Development: It's No Longer One-Size-Fits-All

Tuesday, March 10, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Beacon Hotel (Broadway Room)
2130 Broadway (W 74th/W 75th Streets)
New York, NY 10023

A panel discussion on the changing landscape of medical writing careers

The employment options for professional medical writers have changed to reflect the recent turbulence in the world of pharmaceutical R&D. The past 5 years have seen Big Pharma consolidation, scrutiny of medical and scientific publications, increased transparency and disclosure requirements, and reliance on subcontractors to provide services that were once integrated into the corporate infrastructure. In light of these changes, there has been a broadening of the spectrum of opportunities for medical writers.

Traditionally, there were mainly two pathways: Big Pharma and Clinical Research Organizations (CROs), with an emphasis on regulatory writing. Publications were handled either in-house or outsourced to agencies with an emphasis on publication planning and editorial services. We are now seeing changes in this landscape, with agencies showing an interest in expanding into regulatory writing, and “down-sized” medical writers establishing medical writing specialty consultancies.

The panel, comprising hiring managers from prospective employers, examined the state of the business, with respect to career opportunities and development for professional medical writers. We explored desirable experience and expertise, and discussed whether there are differences in expectations and opportunities among employer types. The discussion covered a broad spectrum from Big Pharma (Art), Big CRO (Wendi), small CRO (Art), to emerging enterprise (Michael). A full buffet dinner and wine and non-alcoholic beverages were included.


6:00 - 6:30 Mingling, appetizers, announcements
6:30 - 7:00 Buffet dinner
7:00 - 8:00 Speaker introduction and program
8:00 - 8:45 Audience questions
8:45 - 9:00 Wind-up

The Panel:

Art Gertel chaired the panel. After nearly 40 years of experience in many of the phases of drug research and development, Art has established an independent strategic regulatory and medical writing consultancy, and currently serves as a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Innovation in Regulatory Science (CIRS). He has held management positions in large, multinational pharmaceutical companies, CROs, and an eDC innovator. Art has also been active in professional organizations, including AMWA (President and Fellow), EMWA (Fellow), DIA, ISMPP, and TIPPA (Advisory Board). He holds BS (Biology) and BA (Psychology) degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, an MS in Neurophysiology and Behavioral Medicine from NY Medical College, and completed doctoral studies in Pharmaceutics at Temple University. Art has a strong interest in Biomedical Ethics, currently serving on an IRB Advisory Board, and co-chairing the Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES) Global Ethical and Regulatory Innovation (GERI) Steering Committee. He has participated in the establishment of standards of authorship for AMWA, EMWA, and ISMPP, as well as data transformation standards for protocols, registries, and health records, under the auspices of Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC). He is a founding member of the Global Alliance of Publication Professionals (GAPP), with a remit to clarify the contributions of professional medical writers.

Wendi Pallozzi currently holds a role of Manager, Medical Writing at Quintiles in RTP, NC. [] Before joining Quintiles in August 2014, Wendi was a Clinical Development Scientist at Merck & Co., Inc. for approximately 10 years. In this role, she was responsible for all medical writing activities in addition to scientific and operational oversight of her late-phase clinical projects. Prior to her clinical experience and during the first 5 years of her career, Wendi was a supervisor/line manager in the preclinical toxicology laboratory at Merck & Co., Inc. Wendi earned her MS in Animal Science from Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA) and her BS in Biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, PA).

Michael L. Platt is the President of MedVal Scientific Information Services, LLC. Michael has over 19 years of industry experience and a broad knowledge of the pharmaceutical, biotechnological, and healthcare fields. His background includes pre-launch, launch, and post-launch activities, including publication planning, advisory boards, sales training, e-digital and other web-based initiatives, and prior to 2003, live and enduring continuing education programs, including symposia. Michael manages a team of professional writers, scientific managers, editors, meeting planners, and designers at MedVal who develop compliant medical and clinical communications, including publications. []

Bob Kirsch, moderator, is a freelance writer and editor, and past-president of our chapter. He has written for The Lancet, Journal of Cardiac Failure, Scientific American, Mayo Clinic Health Letter, Medical Tribune of Japan; written more than a thousand articles for over 40 publications plus CME, CE, newsletters, websites, training materials, manuals, books; and edited, edited, edited. []


$25 AMWA members
$35 Non-AMWA members


AMWA-NY 2014 Holiday Party

Thursday, December 4, 2014, 6:30-9 pm

Kaia Wine Bar
1614 3rd Avenue (between 90 and 91 Sts), New York, NY 10128

Dinner and two free drinks to celebrate the season were included. 
Vegetarian and Gluten-free selections were available.
A raffle featured prizes donated by other members and the chapter.


$25 AMWA members 
$35 Non-AMWA members


AMWA-NY September 2014 Meeting

Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 6:00-9:00 pm

Beacon Hotel (Broadway Room)
2130 Broadway (W 74th/W 75th Streets)
New York, NY 10023

Using LinkedIn to Enhance Your Career and Grow Your Business

Speaker: David Deutsch

The presentation covered:

• Definition—what is LinkedIn anyway?
• Best practices—why is LinkedIn so powerful?
• Results—how do you use LinkedIn to meet your career and business goals?
• Reputation management—what if someone criticizes you, or you make a mistake on LinkedIn?
• Practical application—what concrete steps can you take to generate more business with LinkedIn?

David Deutsch is the founder and chief strategist at SynergiSocial, a New Jersey-based social media strategy firm. He is also Social Media Strategist-in-Residence at TechLaunch, a high-tech accelerator in Montclair, New Jersey. Mr. Deutsch has been using social tools since 2003, long before the term “social media” existed. Since 2010, he has consulted with numerous firms, law offices, trade associations, and non-profit associations across the United States on how to use social media effectively to grow their businesses. He earned his Masters in Communication Management from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, and his BA in Economics and Philosophy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

A full buffet dinner and choice of wine and non-alcoholic beverages were included.


$25 AMWA members
$35 Non-AMWA members


Summer Networking Event

Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 5:30-8:30 pm

Cask Bar and Kitchen
167 E. 33rd St, New York, NY (between Lexington and 3rd Ave)

A relaxed and casual evening! An open board meeting followed, in which future meeting topics were discussed. Appetizers were served.


AMWA-NY June 2014 Meeting

Thursday, June 5, 2014, 6:00-9:00 pm

Barnard College, Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd Floor (3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, between 116th and 120th Streets)

Boost your PubMed prowess and save hours on your searches!

We all know the basics of PubMed, but there are numerous tips and tricks which can streamline our literature searches. Using Google search methods on PubMed will can actually provide inaccurate findings. If you don't know about MeSH terms, are using "quotations" around multiple words, or are unfamiliar with filters and saving search parameters, you don't fully understand the capabilities of PubMed. This interactive presentation on advanced PubMed searching techniques featured an expert from the National Library of Medicine. Free/low-cost access to full-text articles was also discussed.

Speaker: Kate Flewelling, MLIS

Kate Flewelling is the Outreach Coordinator at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine-Middle Atlantic Region. Funded by the National Library of Medicine and based at the University of Pittsburgh, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine promotes the access and use of reliable health information by health professionals, educators, and the public. In her position, Kate develops health information outreach programs to health professionals in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Kate has a BA in history and education from Mount Holyoke College and a MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Kate was a National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow from 2007-2009. Before joining the National Networks of Libraries of Medicine, Kate was Coordinator of Instruction and Reference Librarian at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY.

Meeting Organizer: Jennifer Nepo, MS

Jennifer Nepo is a freelance medical writer based in Westchester County, New York and is Secretary of the AMWA-Metro NY Chapter. Jennifer holds a master's degree in biochemistry and molecular pharmacology from Harvard University and a bachelor's degree in biology from Tufts University. Drawing on her strong, scientific background and her passion for medical science, Jennifer converts complex information into clear, accurate and engaging documents for lay and professional audiences.

A dinner was included.


$25 AMWA members
$35 Non-AMWA members


AMWA-NY March 2014 Meeting

Monday, March 10, 2014, 6:00-9:00 pm

Beacon Hotel
2130 Broadway (W 74th/W 75th Streets)
New York, NY 10023

The Human Genomics Landscape: Bringing Genomic Medicine into Focus

Speaker: Eric Green, MD, PhD

Dr. Green's Presentation:

The Human Genome Project’s generation of a reference human genome sequence was a landmark scientific achievement of historic significance.

• It signified a critical transition for the field of genomics
• The new foundation of genomic knowledge started to be used in powerful ways by researchers and clinicians to tackle increasingly complex problems in biomedicine
• To exploit the opportunities provided by the human genome sequence and to ensure the productive growth of genomics as one of the most vital biomedical disciplines of the 21st century, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) is pursuing a broad vision for genomics research beyond the Human Genome Project
• This vision includes using genomic data, technologies, and insights to acquire a deeper understanding of genome function and biology as well as to uncover the genetic basis of human disease
• Some of the most profound advances are being catalyzed by revolutionary new DNA sequencing technologies; these methods are producing prodigious amounts of DNA sequence data as part of studies aiming to elucidate the complexities of genome function and to unravel the genetic basis of rare and complex diseases
• Together, these developments are ushering in the era of genomic medicine

Eric Green, MD, PhD, is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health NIH), a position he has held since late 2009. NHGRI is the largest organization in the world dedicated solely to genomics research, and aims to advance human health through genomics research. Previously, he served as the NHGRI Scientific Director (2002-2009), Chief of the NHGRI Genome Technology Branch (1996-2009), and Director of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (1997-2009). While directing an independent research program for almost two decades, Dr. Green was at the forefront of efforts to map, sequence, and understand eukaryotic genomes, including significant, start-to-finish involvement in the Human Genome Project. Now, as Director of NHGRI, Dr. Green is responsible for providing overall leadership of the Institute’s research portfolio and other initiatives; this requires significant coordination with other NIH components, funding agencies, and research organizations. In 2011, Dr. Green led NHGRI to the completion of a strategic planning process that yielded a new vision for the future of genomics research, entitled Charting a course for genomic medicine from base pairs to bedside (Nature 470:204-213, 2011).

The meeting included a full buffet dinner and choice of beverages.


$25 AMWA members
$35 Non-AMWA members


AMWA-NY Holiday Party

Monday, December 9, 2013, 6:30-9:30 pm

Cafe Tallulah
240 Columbus Avenue (between 71 and 72 Streets), New York, NY 10023

Dinner and first 2 drinks were included.


$30 AMWA members
$35 Non-AMWA members


AMWA-NY October 2014 Meeting

Thursday, October 29, 2013, 6:00-9:00 pm

Barnard College, Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd Floor (3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, between 116th and 120th Streets)

Regulatory Writing

Three seasoned medical writers spent about 15 minutes each covering what they do and different aspects of regulatory writing. A fourth ‘former’ regulatory writer discussed the important issue of clinical trials disclosure and how this recent development is affecting regulatory writers.

We covered:

• An overview of samples of regulatory documents
• A discussion of the types of regulatory documents in context of how a drug candidate moves through the development pipeline
• Walk-through of the editing / writing process each document goes through (eg, Who writes the first draft? From what material? Who is the writer interacting with?)
• An overview of the day-to-day life of an in-house regulatory writer and the types of projects on which they work, and with whom (including how often a project changes and the standard number of simultaneous projects)
• Discussion of In-house v. CRO v. freelance, including the different types of projects/ documents worked on by each category of writer

Following this, the speakers participated in a panel discussion to field questions and talk more personally about how they broke into the field, as well as to provide suggestions for those interested in transitioning.


Marla Jo Brickman, PhD, is currently the Director/Team Leader for the Clinical Trial Disclosure Group at Pfizer. Marla joined Pfizer in 2003 and has held several positions within the company, including study clinician for oncology clinical trials, medical affairs lead supporting oncology drug launch activities, and medical writer/group lead. Prior to joining Pfizer, Marla worked for a CME agency as a medical writer supporting the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, she has worked at museums, newspapers, and for websites, communicating science and medicine to lay and professional audiences. Marla was a recipient of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Mass Media Science & Engineering Fellowship. She has been a member of AMWA since 1998 and is currently a member of the Drug Information Association (DIA) Disclosure Community Core Committee. Marla received her PhD and completed her post-doctoral training in Immunology from Duke University, in Durham, NC.

Naomi Marcus, PhD, has been a medical writer since 1986 and is currently employed at TKL Research, Inc , where she has been since 2004. She started as a medical writer at Revlon Healthcare, and then worked at Hoffman LaRoche, Berlex Laboratories, Forest Laboratories, and Dov Pharmaceutical before coming to TKL. Before becoming a medical writer, Naomi taught in the Biology Department at Mercy College in Westchester and the Bronx. She received her undergraduate degree from Barnard College and a doctorate from the University of Chicago and did several years of postdoctoral research, during which she worked on the heart and on the myenteric plexus, the nerve plexus that controls the contractions of the gut.

Stephen To, MBA, is currently a medical writing manager at Daiichi Sankyo since October 2012. At Daiichi Sankyo, Stephen manages the writing of clinical study reports and other documents for an oncology project. Previously, Stephen spent 6.5 years with Hoffmann-La Roche as a senior writer responsible for writing clinical study reports, clinical summaries, and investigator brochures for various therapeutic areas in support of FDA submissions for new drug applications. Previous to his career in the pharmaceutical industry, he worked for a medical communications agency (MedEd), editing and writing manuscripts for peer-reviewed medical journals and PowerPoint slide presentations for continuing medical education symposia. Stephen has written and authored papers in medical journals and is the recipient of AMWA’s Eric W. Martin Award for excellence in medical writing. Stephen received his Bachelor’s degree in biology from SUNY Collegeat Purchase and spent several years at The Rockefeller University as a research assistant in cell biology previous to his writing career.

Marjorie Winters, Principal, Winters Editorial Services, is a career medical writer with experience and knowledge of Phase 1 through Phase 4 drug development. She has participated in several successful submissions and supplementary NDAs. She has also worked in Big Pharma, at medical advertising agencies, medical communication companies and as a freelance editor and writer. Marjorie’s experience includes managing and writing journal supplements, manuscripts based on clinical study reports, protocols, and safety updates. Most recently she has published articles in a management journal about combination drug products. Marjorie has been a member of AMWA since 1990 and has certificates in Writing/Editing, Pharmaceutical, and Regulatory concentrations. Marjorie has been a member of the Executive Board of the Empire State-NY Metro Chapter of AMWA for several years.

A dinner was included.


$25 AMWA members
$35 Non-AMWA members


** To view a video of Laurie Thomas' June 18, 2013 presentation, AMA Style: Grammar for Clarity, click here.


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