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Resources for medical writers

How to become a medical writer
Brian C Shanley. Who wants to be a medical writer? PDF
First published in WQ magazine

The World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ), of which AMWA is a member, have developed a free online course for budding science writers and journalists, developed by a team of 35 writers and editors. This excellent resource is divided into ten topics, ideal for beginner medical writers or those wanting a refresher in science writing. Click here to find out more.


In Australia, professional writing courses for medical writers range from technical writing and editing, to media and journalism, and more specialised health-related training such as the professional development program conducted by AMWA.

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.

Where you might look for work


The AMWA bookshelf

Stedman's Medical Dictionary. 28th edition, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005.
Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 31st edition. Elsevier, 2007.
Macquarie Dictionary. 5th edn. Sydney: Macquarie Library, 2005. Macquarie Dictionary Online.

Codes and guidelines
Code of Conduct Edition 16. Sydney, Medicines Australia, 2006.

Therapeutic Guidelines series -

Online databases
Harrisons On-line (Harrison's Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th edition. Available at

Style and grammar
Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage, 2nd edition. Peters P. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2007.
AMA Manual of Style, 10th edition, Oxford University Press, 2007.
Scientific Style and Format: the CSE Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Publishers, 7th edition, Reston, VA, Council of Science Editors with Rockefeller University Press, 2006.
Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Printers, 6th edition. Wiley Australia, 2002.

Health Reporting
AMWA recommends the California-based Reporting on Health, as an informative website for health journalists.
A useful resource on the reporting of data in health stories is downloadable as a free e-book.


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