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How I Got into Medical Writing

A little over a year ago, I chose to pursue medical writing as a profession!

Choosing medicine as my translation specialization helped me discover medical writing. But it was a book called The Accidental Medical Writer by Brian Bass, MWC, and Cynthia L. Kryder, MS, CCC-Sp, that convinced me to pursue it professionally.

That book includes an invaluable section with resources for people who want to get started in medical writing. Some of the recommended books that I have read are:

  • American Cancer Society Textbook of Clinical Oncology — Edited by Walter Lawrence and colleagues

  • The Anatomy Coloring Book — Authored by Wynn Kapit and Lawrence M. Elson

  • Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message — Authored by Helen Osborne (ALERT: A new edition of this book is out now!)

  • Medical English Usage and Abusage — Authored by Edie Schwager

The next step was joining the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). That allowed me to take the Essential Skills Express Package and earn the AMWA Essential Skills Certificate.

These are some of the educational opportunities that AMWA offers, which appear in the credentials section of this website.

Additionally, belonging to AMWA comes with a number of perks, including discounts for subscriptions (e.g., the American Medical Association’s Manual of Style, Dorland’s Illustrated Medical Dictionary, and PerfectIt Software).

And last but not least, belonging to a professional association is not only about what the association can do for you. You can also give back to professional associations, which in turn will help strengthen the profession.

That is why I accepted to serve my AMWA regional chapter (Rocky Mountain Chapter) as programming director.

On that note, I would like to conclude this article by reminding you that the chapter’s events are free and open to both AMWA members and nonmembers. We are always looking for presenters for future online educational opportunities, so do not hesitate to contact me if you are interested — or know of someone who might be!

If you are interested in or new to medical writing, feel free to join us for the next AMWA Rocky Mountain Chapter webinar, “The Different Types of Medical Writing,” with Vicky Sherwood, PhD.


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