- Who can participate?
- Is there a registration fee?
- What are the requirements of the PDP certificate?
- Workshop topics
The AMWA Professional Development Program (PDP) has been designed specifically for our members and aims to offer a wide selection of high-quality workshops in the areas of medical writing, editing, public relations and web design.
The program is evolving to meet the needs of our members as experienced leaders become available to impart their knowledge in an engaging way to small groups. PDP workshops take three hours and are ideal for keeping up to date with trends in medical writing, sharing ideas and getting to know other members.
The PDP is overseen by the AMWA Education Sub-committee, which was formed in July 2000. We are indebted for the assistance of the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA), with whom we have collaborated from the early stages of the program. The American Medical Writers Association has also offered encouragement and information on their extensive curriculum. These discussions with the key training leaders of EMWA and AMWA have allowed our committee to develop a curriculum that is both equivalent in standard and overlapping in content with overseas programs. AMWA members are able to participate in EMWA workshops and have these credited towards their AMWA PDP certificate as part of a reciprocal arrangement between our two organisations. There was a tremendous response to the pilot workshops offered at the AMWA Annual Conference in October 2000 and, as a consequence, the Professional Development Program was officially launched at the 2001 Annual Conference in November, 2001. Workshops will be offered each spring at the AMWA Annual Conference and at other meetings during the year.
Who can participate?
The PDP workshops are open to both members and non-members, with members paying $80 and non-members $100 per workshop. However, anyone who wishes to have workshops credited towards the AMWA PDP certificate must become a member.
General journalism and media communication courses are offered at the undergraduate level at many universities. Most specialist health and science writing courses are offered at postgraduate level. Several courses are offered as short professional development programs.
Many of the Australian universities listed offer courses in distance or off-campus mode and courses are available for full-time or part-time study.
Is there a registration fee?
Unlike overseas medical writing associations, the Education Sub-committee made the decision not to set a one-off enrolment fee, so that AMWA members who are unlikely to be able to complete the PDP certificate because of geographical isolation would not be disadvantaged.
What are the requirements of the PDP certificate?
By completing eight workshops, AMWA members become eligible for the AMWA PDP certificate. This is not a qualification, but rather an indicator of the member's commitment to continuing education in the area of medical writing that would be useful for resumes, employment prospects and for some organisations, such as medical boards, that required CME points for accreditation.
Members are free to choose any workshop, and there is no stream or specialisation within the certificate structure. This enables members to participate in a variety of workshops depending on their vocation and interest. However, as the program matures, advanced workshops will be offered as follow-on workshops to introductory modules.
In order to receive a letter of attainment and credit towards the PDP certificate, participants need to complete a pre-workshop assignment (maximum two hours), some background reading and a needs analysis form, which is helpful for the workshop's presenter in gauging the range of experience in the group. In addition to attending the workshop, the participant will also need to complete an evaluation and quiz at the end of the workshop to test their level of comprehension on the topic.
Members should attempt to complete the eight modules in six years; however, anyone who would find this difficult can give their reasons to the chair of the Education Sub-Committee, so having their credits maintained can be considered. The Education Sub-Committee will continue to explore options for distance learning modules, which we hope to develop as a collaborative project with an Australian university or other interested group.
01 Evaluating Clinical Papers
02 Health Resources on the Web
03 Writing and Designing Web Content
04 Proofreading for Medical Writers
05 Information, Knowledge & Evidence in Medicine
06 PR Techniques for Medical Communicators
07 Technical Writing Skills
08 Tables, Figures and References
09 Evidence-based medicine: the basics
10 Biotechnology for medical writers
11 Law of defamation for medical writers
12 Writing about medicines
13 Writing for magazines
14 Writing for the Web
15 Statistics for Medical Writers
Examples of other areas that the Education Subcommittee is investigating as ideas for workshops:
- Writing patient information materials
- Writing about health for magazines
- Project management
- Bibliographic resources
- Pharmaceutical advertising
- Developing research materials into articles
- Advanced editing techniques
- Creating effective presentations
- Pharmacology for medical writers
- Data presentation
- Techniques for writing PR materials
The AMWA PDP has been developed using the suggestions and input of members from e-mails, workshop evaluations and questionnaires. The program can continue to grow only through the support of our members, so why not send us your thoughts on any of the following areas of interest to our committee:
- Ideas for workshops or ways to improve the program.
- Nominating yourself or someone else you know who would be a good presenter.
- Offer your services on our committee.
- Let us know about any contacts in universities or private organisations who can help us to develop distance-learning modules.
We look forward to hearing from you. Contact us.