2019 AMWA-MAC Leadership Team

Vita Washington, MS


Vita Washington, MS has been with AMWA for 7 years previously serving in various positions such as membership recruitment and the Bethesda Network coordinator. Vita became the AMWA-MAC President in 2018. She has a master’s degree in Science Administration and over 20 years of clinical practice guideline oversight and clinical documentation development. She also has over 10 years of experience with scientific writing and project management. She possesses a positive and professional work ethic with a proficiency to lead multiple teams and staff (e.g., leadership-level committees and Board members). Her membership with AMWA has been very beneficial and rewarding because it has broadened her expertise in medical writing, networking and leadership.

Judith Orvos, ELS


Since 2011, Judith Orvos has been sole proprietor of Orvos Communications, a company dedicated to “making sense of science” through clear editing and writing on medical topics for clients. In addition to her membership in AMWA, she is a member of the Council of Science Editors and board-certified as an Editor in the Life Sciences by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences. Before launching Orvos Communications, Judith had a 30-year career as a full-time editor and writer that included work in the corporate, trade publishing, public health, and nonprofit sectors. As editor of Contemporary OB/GYN, she was the recipient of four Jesse H. Neal Awards—the Pulitzer Prize of trade publishing. She has overseen the work of staff editors, freelancers, and graphic designers for a trade publisher and a government contractor supporting USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, and supervised writers, editors, designers, and hotline staff for an NIH public information clearinghouse. Judith’s work for clients under the Orvos Communications banner has included editing federally approved HIV/AIDS medical treatment guidelines for AIDSinfo.gov on behalf of the National Library of Medicine, consulting on editorial strategy and social media for the physician magazine Contemporary OB/GYN, drafting content for CME needs assessments and programs for clients such as Medscape Education, and preparing materials for and reports from scientific advisory board meetings.

Colleen Walacavage


Colleen Walacavage is a medical and technical editor with a Master’s degree in Professional Writing and Editing and three years’ experience as a pharmacy technician. For more than a decade she has written and edited for clients in the healthcare, education, and finance arenas. Since 2011, she has been the sole proprietor of her freelance business, CW Editing Service.

Rebecca Nelson


Rebecca Nelson is a freelance technical and medical marketing writing specialist. She has 13 years of experience as a writer for clinical trials recruitment and for the Biotech industry, along with a background in Medical Copyediting. Rebecca specializes in launch material, including print and online advertisements, websites, speeches and slide decks. She also creates documentation and user manuals for lab equipment, rebrands website copy, and develops targeted campaigns that integrate Web copy, print, video, and social media.

Tom Drake, MA, CMPP

Conference Planner

Tom has been involved in medical communications for over twenty-five years. In 1990 Tom founded and launched the healthcare trade publication, Product Management Today (PMT). He was publisher and editorial director for its first six years. As PMT’s editorial director, he worked with several the founders of International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). Tom has been involved in most areas of medical communications including: global publication planning, continuing medical education (CME), Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR), Real-World Evidence (RWE), thought-leader development and digital and web-based communications. Tom has supported communication projects in all major therapy areas and supported orphan drug programs. He has been an active member of ISMPP since 2008, was chair of the ISMPP-U committee in 2015 and remains a committee member. Tom is also an active member of AMWA, ISPOR and the recently formed, MAPS (Medical Affairs Professional Society). In 2014 Tom launched the Global Outcomes Group, an independent healthcare communications agency supporting HEOR/RWE and Medical Communications for the bio/pharma and medical device industries.

Heather Gorby, PhD

Membership & Volunteer Coordinator

Dr. Gorby received her PhD from Stony Brook University followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health (NIH/NIMH) before pursuing medical writing full-time for the past 12 years. Heather has worked as a full-time freelance writer since 2013. As a medical writer she has written a variety of documents including clinical trial manuscripts, literature reviews, continuing medical education, and meeting summaries and white papers.

Vicki VanArsdale, MS

Webmaster & Email Coordinator

Vicki VanArsdale has a Master of Science in Health Communication from Boston University. She abstracts clinical trial protocols and informed consent documents as a contractor at the National Cancer Institute, and she also has a freelance business writing marketing communications, web content, blog posts, and social media posts for doctors and dentists across the US.  Vicki was a multimedia producer at Bloomberg News for 11 years, covering healthcare, biotechnology, and the pharmaceutical industry, among others. Before that, she was a radio copywriter. She also has more than a decade of experience in acute care hospitals providing compassionate customer service to radiology patients and as an executive assistant to a chief medical officer. In addition to her AMWA-MAC role, she also served on the education committee for AMWA’s 2019 national conference in San Diego.

Alexandra Kadner, PhD

Social Media Manager

Alexandra Sophie Kadner is a Ph.D. level scientist and medical writer. She has 20 years of research experience as a neuroscientist and 10 years of experience as a medical writer. Alexandra develops materials for medical education, develops scientific platforms, manages the scientific content of pharmaceutical advisory boards and writes meeting reports, develops website content, and writes advertising copy.