2012 Mid-Atlantic Chapter Conference Report

By on March 23, 2012

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On Friday, 23 March 2012, more than 60 AMWA members gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bethesda, MD, for the Mid-Atlantic Chapter Conference. Attendance was three times that of the previous year, and participants benefitted from an expanded offering of credit and noncredit workshops, breakfast roundtables, an informative and entertaining luncheon speaker, and enhanced networking opportunities (not to mention the good food).

The conference began with a hot breakfast during which six themed breakfast roundtables and an open networking roundtable addressed

  • social media;
  • lessons learned in medical writing;
  • needs assessments;
  • moving from the bench to biomedical writing;
  • copy editing; and
  • informed consent.

Morning sessions were devoted to 2 credit workshops: Tables and Graphs, and Fundamentals of Ethics and Practical Applications (offered by Cindy Hamilton and Art Gertel, respectively). Cindy Hamilton presented an overview about when to use either tables or graphs to illustrate data, after which students divided into small groups to identify the strengths and weaknesses of real-world examples that their classmates submitted. Art Gertel provided a background about the foundation and evolution of societal ethics in the context of clinical trials and assigned specific case studies to discuss in small groups, after which the groups presented their analysis and interpretation of the ethical dilemmas. Fran Daniel’s noncredit open session was titled Get the Project! Get the Job! Tailored Interviewing, and she showed participants how to take charge of interviews by turning questions into stories that demonstrate the applicant’s expertise and successes. Session participants practiced these skills and learned from each other’s examples and feedback.

During lunch attendees filled their plates and enjoyed the abundant networking opportunities. Our luncheon speaker, Juli Monroe, explained the components of a good elevator speech—how to introduce yourself, explain what you do, and quickly explore opportunities. She demonstrated useful components of good elevator speeches, elicited elevator speeches from attendees, and provided useful feedback and encouragement for all participants.

Afternoon credit workshops included Ethical Standards in Medical Publication and Electronic Regulatory Submissions (by Cindy Hamilton and Art Gertel, respectively). Cindy Hamilton covered AMWA’s RIGHT approach to ethical dilemmas that medical writers may face, and participants divided into groups to discuss and present how they would handle challenging ethical scenarios. Art Gertel outlined the history and complexities of electronic regulatory submissions, detailed the requirements for such submissions, and addressed the benefits to all those involved in the research, analysis, and review of data supporting product registration. Debra Gordon began her noncredit open session, Successful Freelance Medical Writing: Bringing It All Together, by suggesting that if she were successful, participants would quit their jobs next Monday. Data about the number of new freelancers are not available, but by the conclusion of the session participants were motivated and well informed.

Chapter officers thank all who participated in this year’s conference. We are actively planning next year’s event, tentatively scheduled for March 2013, which will move to larger facilities to accommodate our growth. We welcome suggestions for credit workshops and noncredit roundtables and sessions, and we need volunteers who can help us make the event ever more useful to AMWA members. If you have ideas, suggestions, or topics you would like to offer, explore, or learn about, please contact Chapter Conference Coordinator Christie Rogers, rogers.christie@gmail.com.

Thanks again to all who joined us and made this such a great event!