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Your Writing Career

Managing your Freelance Medical Writing Business
A successful medical writer shares how she started and has grown her medical writing business. She offers practical ideas for developing leads, how to craft initial communications to potential clients, closing a deal with a contract, delivering output to client satisfaction, and pursuing the repeat sale. This information is gold, given that you can learn from someone who’s been there and succeeded. Move forward with confidence with these skills.

Career Opportunities in Medical Communications
Medical writing and editing offer a wide array of career opportunities. In this hour-long webinar, Barbara Gastel, MD, who coordinates the graduate program in science journalism at Texas A&M University, will provide an overview of such opportunities. Among the opportunities described will be ones in the popular media; in government, at associations, and in academia; and at pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies. Also, Dr. Gastel will discuss ways to prepare oneself for and seek such opportunities. Finally, she will identify professional associations that can aid in entering and continuing to develop a medical communication career.

Writing Effective Emails
Everyone is flooded with emails, on top of an already busy job. So how do you get your email read, and responded to if necessary? This webinar will cover how to title your emails for the subject line, how to compose your emails so they get read, how to clearly delineate action items you wish the receiving party to take, and next steps you can take if your receiver doesn’t respond. Join us for an informative and action-packed session.

Improving Writing and Editing

Writing and Editing Scientific Articles for Journals
Papers in journals are central to communicating medical research. In this hour-long webinar, Barbara Gastel, MD, coauthor of How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, will offer advice on writing and editing such papers. She will focus largely on the appropriate content and organization of each section: title, authors, abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, acknowledgments, and references. Also, she will provide tips on preparing tables and figures and on writing readably and concisely for journals. Finally, she will touch on career opportunities in editing scientific papers and note resources helpful in preparing papers for journals.

Writing Readably about Research
Research can indeed be complex and hard to understand. However, the writing about it should not add to the difficulty. In this webinar, Barbara Gastel, MD, MPH, who teaches science communication at Texas A&M University, will offer guidance on writing readably about research. As well as presenting general pointers on writing accessibly, the webinar will provide advice on preparing readable papers and proposals. It also will address writing understandably for general audiences and for non-native readers of English. Throughout, examples and guidelines from CDC will be integrated. Whichever readerships you generally serve, this webinar can aid in communicating effectively.

Finding the Litter in the Literature
The medical literature has many problems, not the least of which is research that is poorly conducted, poorly reported, or both. This webinar will introduce participants to the process of critical appraisal, or how to assess the quality and validity of clinical research studies. Several common methodological errors will be described, and several cues that should raise suspicions will be identified. The skills needed to critically appraise the literature take a long time to develop, but the information presented here should help participants become more careful consumers of the medical literature.

Statistical Errors Even YOU Can Find
All of the hundreds of studies on statistical errors have found high error rates in reporting or conducting statistical analyses, even in the world’s leading medical journals. This webinar presented by Tom Lang, MA, will help participants identify the most common errors. Participants do not need a background in statistics to understand or profit from the webinar, and no background is assumed. A large portion of the medical literature uses only elementary statistics, and several errors are commonly encountered over and over again. Thus, even a little knowledge will go a long way in allowing participants to identify these errors.

Writing for the Public
Writing for the public can be a fine way to inform general audiences about topics in disease control and prevention. It also can be enjoyable. In this webinar, Barbara Gastel, MD, MPH, who coordinates the science journalism graduate program at Texas A&M University, will address key aspects of writing for the public. As well as presenting principles in this realm, the webinar will discuss such topics as identifying suitable venues, analyzing the audience, and gearing the writing to the medium. It also will discuss collaborating with professional communicators in writing for the public. Come join us for a lively session.

Medical Writing for Researchers
Many medical researchers write journal articles about their work, but few have formal training in doing so. In this Seminar, Barbara Gastel, MD, coauthor of How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper, will offer 50 tips for writing journal articles with maximal success and minimal stress. Many of the tips regard content and structure of the sections of a scientific paper, and some regard the writing or publishing process. Sources of further information and guidance will be identified. The webinar is primarily for early-career researchers, but others, including medical writers and editors, also may find it useful.

Preparing Better Presentations

Best Practices for Creating Fact Sheets
Fact Sheets are a powerful way to convey vital information. However, a Fact Sheet will not convey its message unless your audience reads it. In addition to learning the process for creating effective Fact Sheets, in this presentation we will cover:

  • Types of Fact Sheets
  • Essential elements to include in your Fact Sheets
  • Best formatting for clarity and readability
  • What you need to know about your audience
  • Mistakes to avoid when creating your Fact Sheets
  • How to use visuals to convey information

Examples from the CDC will be used throughout the presentation.

Avoiding Death by Powerpoint – Creating Compelling Presentations
We’ve all sat through them . . . PowerPoint presentations that are mind-numbingly boring. What’s worse is being the one giving the presentation. According to an often cited white paper by the network MCI, nine out of ten audience members admitted to daydreaming at presentations. Creating a presentation that grabs your audience from the first slide, keeps their attention, and gets them thinking about your message is the goal. This presentation will go beyond how to format slides so they are less cluttered and how many colors or fonts to use. You will learn how to capture and maintain your audience’s interest by using strategies during the three phases of the presentation lifecycle: planning, creation, and performance. Content from the CDC, NCEH, and ATSDR websites will be used in examples.

Preparing and Delivering Slide-Illustrated Lectures
We all have to prepare and deliver slide lectures for scientific communications. But how can you do your best? In this seminar, you will learn just that, from a world-renowned expert:

  • Preparing slides, and how they should be different from articles and posters
  • Identifying STRONG vs weak examples of slide sets
  • Supporting your messages by choosing appropriate font types, sizes, colors, positions, and layouts
  • Applying goals, options, and techniques for your oral presentations

Don’t miss it. Author, writer, presenter, and teacher Tom Lang, of Tom Lang Communications and Training International, will share his decades of experience and wisdom on presenting scientific information to both lay and professional audiences around the world.

Creating Effective Academic Posters
At meetings, posters are an efficient way to highlight ongoing projects or summarize research findings to date for attendees. Your academic poster is usually displayed with many others, so the question is, how do you make a poster that grabs peoples’ attention and invites them to talk with you for more details. That’s why you are there. THIS webinar will offer secrets and tips for making academic posters readable, that draw people in, and quickly communicate the signifance of the work you are doing.

Strategies for Reporting on Risk
Communicating about risk can be tricky, especially if your audience has limited literacy skills. This webinar will introduce risk communication theories and best practices — and help you learn how to use these insights to create better health communication products. In this session, we’ll:

  • Share strategies informed by research that can help you communicate clearly and actionably about risk
  • Explain how numeracy skills can affect audiences’ ability to understand numbers and statistics
  • Discuss how to communicate the risks and benefits of recommended behaviors, so your audience can make informed decisions to stay safe.
  • Tom Lang, MA, our presenter, has been in medical communications since 1975. He teaches writing and statistical analysis worldwide and is the author of “How to Write, Publish, and Present in the Health Sciences” and “How to Report Statistics in Medicine.”
    Don’t miss this informative webinar from a foremost expert in the field.

Improving Comprehension

Improving Comprehension: Theories and Research Findings
This workshop summarizes research into how certain characteristics of writing improve or reduce the ability of readers to understand, recall, reference, and use written information. Included in the presentation are overviews of theories of composition, communication, and cognitive psychology that can guide writers in communicating more clearly. The workshop emphasizes the application of specific techniques for improving the data-to-day writing of scientific documents.

Organizing Your Writing for Comprehension
Are you a scientist writing about complex topics for journals? A lab staff member writing an internal report about your recent work? Or a public health official writing fact sheets for general consumption? In all cases, you know your topic. The questions are, 1) what do you want your audience to learn, and 2) what do you want your audience to do? You will learn how to clarify your educational objectives, engage your audience in your presentation and writing, present even complex material in an orderly fashion, and encourage recommended actions. You will learn to get perspective from the detail of your work to consider who your audience is, what information they need, and the role you play in their taking the desired next steps.

Editing Your Own Work
Nearly all writing can benefit from editing. Yet few of us can regularly enlist professional editors. In this webinar, Barbara Gastel, MD, MPH, who teaches science editing and has edited the Council of Science Editors periodical, will present approaches, tips, and resources for editing one’s own work. The webinar will feature checklists for editing one’s papers and proposals before submission. It also will identify common writing problems to remedy, provide suggestions for non-native users of English, and list items to check for when proofreading. Throughout, examples and advice from CDC will be integrated. Join us for guidance in refining your writing to communicate best and win reviewers’ and editors’ approval.


Plain Language Editing
In medical communications to the public, there is a tension between being scientifically accurate, and communicating in simpler understandable language. This webinar covers various concepts of scientific accuracy and their application depending on the audience, the normal iterative process in settling on plain language, and skills subject matter experts, editors, and writers can use to arrive at wording that suit all concerned.

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