Medical Writing Writing Matters Message from the President

Volume 21, Issue 3 - Writing Matters

Message from the President

Dear Medical Writers

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The last time I wrote to you I briefly introduced myself and outlined some of the plans that I hope to realise during my year as president. However, as president I am only one of the members of the EMWA Executive Committee (EC), and I think it is important that I should also introduce the other EC members to you.

Our new Vice President, Andrea Rossi (, who joined the EC in May 2012, has already shown great initiative in setting up contacts with other professional organisations who are eager to work with EMWA to spread the word about the profession of medical writing. Andrea has particularly good connections in academia and among physicians, and he is very keen to increase the awareness of EMWA within these circles, where there is plenty of need and scope for good medical writing, but little knowledge of the existence of our organisation.

Gillian Prichard is the EMWA treasurer ( and the keeper of the EMWA accounts. Gillian always has the financial well-being of the organization in mind when any decisions are made by the EC on the selection of conference venues or expenditure of any other nature. Due to her perseverance on our behalf, it has now been possible to set up a Merchant account for the organisation which will enable EMWA members to pay for their conference attendance fees directly by credit card.

Our Education Officer, Jo Whelan (, is also a member of the EMWA Professional Development Committee (EPDC). Jo is responsible for the selection and scheduling of the workshops that are offered at each of the conferences, as well as providing input on all matters connected to training and the content of EMWA's education programme. Jo works very closely with our conference director, Alistair Reeves ( to produce a conference programme which offers EMWA members an extremely varied and very high-quality training programme, while also enabling ample opportunity for networking and socialising. Although Alistair only joined the EC in May 2012, he has a long and distinguished history in EMWA as workshop leader and regular contributor to the journal. In his new role he is already hard at work organizing the social events for the autumn conference 2012 to be held in Berlin, as well as the spring conference in Manchester in May 2013.

As already mentioned, it is important for EMWA to promote itself to the scientific and medical community, which is where our public relations officer, Farid Khalfi ( steps in. He has been busy producing a new leaflet about EMWA, which can be distributed at events such as careers fairs, in order to spread the word about our association. Farid also plays an important role in recruiting sponsors to give us financial support in return for advertising their company or services on our website, in the journal or at conferences. This is certainly a case of the more, the merrier, so if you know of anyone who might be interested in supporting EMWA, Farid would be very happy to hear from you!

Being an organisation of widely dispersed people makes the EMWA website ( a vital source of the latest news about the organization. The person responsible for the website is Diarmuid DeFaoite, who recently joined the EC as website manager. You may already have noticed that Diarmuid has been posting EMWA news flashes on the entry page of the website so that these are easy to locate the moment you click on the link. In addition, he is looking to improve the navigability of the website so that information can be found more intuitively and he has posted a new updated version of the FAQ. As you can probably imagine, keeping the website up-to-date is a challenging task and Diarmuid is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to assist him and to share new ideas, so do feel free to contact him if you are interested (

Sarah Choudhury is the EMWA Honorary Secretary ( and ensures that the administrative side of the association is kept up-to-date. Currently Sarah is working with EMWA head office to change the format of the Annual Meeting in order to enable members to vote using an online system. This will not only reduce the amount of time required to hold the meeting at the Spring conference, but will also enable a larger number of members to participate and thus ensure a more representative vote.

Last, but not least (especially considering where this message will be published) of the EC members, is Phil Leventhal, our new journal editor. Phil took over as journal editor in May 2012 and has been working with Maney, our new publishers, to give the journal a really professional look and feel. Phil is always grateful for new ideas and interesting Medical Writing topics to put in our journal, because however professional the journal preparation becomes, we will always be reliant on having enough volunteers contributing articles in order to produce an interesting, varied and professional publication. So if any of you have an idea for an article or for a theme for an edition of the journal, please contact Phil (

So that is your Executive Committee, and if you come to EMWA conferences you will of course have the opportunity to meet all of us in person, which nicely segues into the topic of the forthcoming autumn conference, which is to be held in Berlin on 8–10 November 2012. As usual there is a superb selection of workshops covering a wide range of medical writing topics, and there will be ample opportunity for networking with the EC over a glass (or two) of German beer in Brauhaus Lemke on Friday evening. So look out for the registration announcements and I and my fellow EC members look forward to seeing you in Berlin!

September 2012


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Writing Matters
Message from the President
EMWA news
Getting what you want from your scientific writing: tips for writing clearly
What's your problem? A practical approach to scientific document design
The joys of outlining in medical writing
Pleasing the reader by pleasing the eye—Part 1 The role of format and design in readability
Writing visually for medical writers
Quality control: getting the best out of your review
Pharmaceutical medical writing competencies: Comparing self-perception with employers' expectations
In the Bookstores
Journal Watch
The Webscout
Manuscript Writing
Regulatory writing
English Grammar and Style
Out On Our Own
Gained in Translation

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