2023 AMWA-MAC Leadership Team
Colleen Walacavage, MA, ELS
Colleen Walacavage is a medical and technical editor with a Master’s degree in Professional Writing and Editing. She is the sole proprietor and principal editor of CW Editing Service, LLC. For almost two decades, she has written and edited for clients in the healthcare, education, and finance arenas. Her interest in medical writing and editing was spurred on when she was employed as a CVS (Target channel) pharmacy technician for three years; she attained her pharmacy technician certification in March of 2015. Most recently, she earned her ELS certification from the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences.
She attended her first AMWA conference in Memphis in 2014 at the behest of one of her clients where her eyes were opened to the welcoming, intelligent, and stimulating environment of AMWA. Colleen moved with her family from Colorado to the Washington, DC, metro area and began volunteering with AMWA-MAC after attending the national conference in DC. Colleen served as Treasurer from 2019 to 2021 and as President-elect from 2021 to 2022 and now will serve as President from 2022 to 2024. Having served three different roles on the AMWA-MAC Board of Directors, she understands and appreciates every volunteer’s time and commitment to maintaining and enriching AMWA at the local level. Colleen is dedicated to providing opportunities for chapter networking, educational events, and other support for medical communicators that might be suggested by the AMWA-MAC membership.
Judith Orvos, ELS
Immediate Past President
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.
Maria Arini Lopez, DPT
Maria Arini Lopez is a freelance medical writer and owner of Inspire Medical Communications, LLC. She earned her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland in Baltimore and provided the highest quality of care to medically complex patients for 10 years. This hands-on, practical experience gives her unique insights and knowledge of a variety of therapeutic areas which she can communicate to others as a medical writer.
She is most passionate about the pursuit and sharing of knowledge—both for patients and providers. She believes that honest, open, clear communication empowers patients and includes them in the decision-making process. Constant collaboration among healthcare providers along with continuing education enables the highest quality, evidence-based care. Maria advocates for patients with rare diseases, writing to spread awareness and to end the diagnostic odyssey facing many of these individuals. In addition to rare diseases, she covers topics in endocrinology, infectious diseases, neurology, orthopedics, rehabilitation and wellness, hematology, oncology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, genomics, genetics, and precision medicine. Maria is a self-motivated, dependable, task-oriented, critical thinker. She is happiest when both her brain hemispheres work together—combining her analytical, logical mind with her creative, artistic mind. She enjoys working independently to complete tasks delegated to her with integrity; however, she also thrives on multidisciplinary collaboration to brainstorm ideas and novel solutions to complicated problems.
André Allen, PMP
Membership & Volunteer Coordinator
André Allen is a versatile project manager, technical and scientific writer, and acquisition analyst. He received his Master of Technical and Scientific Communication degree from Miami University of Ohio, where he was initially introduced to medical writing as part of the program. He is also a Project Management Professional (PMP), receiving his certification from Project Management Institute.
André has long held an interest in medical writing, and recently joined AMWA. He began his professional technical writing career creating occupational safety and health publications for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has also engaged in technical writing, editing and project management at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and for several IT, engineering, transportation planning and technical services companies. In addition, he has written and edited grants both for service companies and as a volunteer for non-profits. He is excited to work with the AMWA Board of Directors to propose creative, impactful event ideas for AMWA members.
Faris Naimi, MS
Faris Naimi is a freelance scientific and technical writer. He received his Master’s degree in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from George Mason University. His work explored the relationships between bacterial communication and virulence. This role as a researcher familiarized him with the nuanced needs of investigative workflows.
From the lab bench to the keyboard, Faris values accessible scientific writing that bridges the gap between theoretical research and its practical applications.
Vedangana Saini, Ph.D.
Vedangana Saini is a freelance medical writer, neuroscientist, and the founder of Intelligible Scientific Writing LLC. She holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience and a certificate in medical writing and editing from the University of Chicago. Dr. Saini specializes in writing scientific manuscripts and grant proposals, designing educational material for continuing medical education for health professionals, and writing science in plain language for lay audiences.
Dr. Saini has done two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, and Burke Neurological Institute, White Plains, NY. She has published original research, review articles, and book chapters with over one hundred citations in reputed, peer-reviewed journals such as Pharmacological Research, Journal of Neurochemistry, Scientific Reports, etc. Dr. Saini loves to coach undergraduate and graduate students and new medical writers on the nits and grits of academic writing and publishing. She lives in Columbia, MD, with her husband, son, one dog, and a lot of fish.