Resources for medical writers 

Education and qualifications

University courses:  Some universities offer postgraduate courses in health communication.

Master of Health Communication at Sydney University

Graduate Diploma in Health Communication at Sydney University

Master of Science Communication at The University of Western Australia

Another option is to do a blended degree, such as Swinburne University’s Bachelor of Health Science/ Bachelor of Media and Communication.


Short courses: Writers looking to upskill in specific areas can take short courses in topics including editing, consumer health writing, freelance writing, magazine writing and technical writing.

Science journalism – a free online course for budding science writers and journalists, developed by a team of 35 writers and editors.

Copy writing and other writing courses  – Australian Writers Centre

Fundamentals of technical writing – University of Western Australia

Courses in journalism, editing and publishing – Australian College

Copyediting course – Capstone Editing

AMWA PDP: AMWA’s PDP program offers specialised medical writing-related training

Useful resources

Readability tools to help ensure your writing is easy to understand:

Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool (PEMAT) and User’s Guide: helps you assess how understandable and actionable print and audiovisual patient education materials are

Plain language summary toolkit— Envision Pharma Group has developed a best-practice resource for PLS of peer-reviewed publications and congress abstracts

The EAST framework for behaviour change— four simple ways to apply behavioural insights

Medical writing career resources

From academic to medical writer – a guide to getting started in medical communications

MedCommsNetworking – networking and dialogue amongst professionals working in med comms

Science communication toolkit – practical tools developed by experts to help science communicators, researchers, journalists and policy makers add quality, impact and influence to their science engagement activities

Health Writer Hub – blogs, short online health writing courses and free resources for health writers

Ragan’s Healthcare blog – news in healthcare social media, marketing and communications

Codes and guidelines

Code of Conduct, Medicines Australia

Therapeutic Goods Administration advertising guidelines

Therapeutic Guidelines series

Accessing journals

PubMed – archive of medical journal literature with links to the full-text sources

Unpaywall – unpaywall is a legal, open-source database that allows you to access free scholarly articles

Style and grammar resources

Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage

AMA Manual of Style

Scientific Style and Format: the CSE Style Manual for Authors, Editors and Publishers

Australian Manual of Scientific Style

Australian Government Style Manual 2020

Health reporting

Responsible reporting on medicines, tests and treatments – tips to help journalists accurately and responsibly reflect independent, reliable evidence in their writing and reporting on medicines, medical tests and treatments.

Guidelines for writing about specific health conditions:

Medical writing associations

American Medical Writers Association

European Medical Writers Association

Australian Science Communicators

Freelance Editors’ Network

Council of Science Editors

World Association of Medical Editors

European Association of Science Editors

The Board of Editors in the Life Sciences (BELS)

The International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) 

Society for Technical Communication

International Science Writers Association

American Copy Editors Society

Canadian Science Writers Association

Association of Health Care Journalists

Freeline – The Australian Freelance Writers Network

AMWA 2020 – Medical Writing and Communication During the COVID-19 Crisis

For those who attended the AMWA 2020 Special Virtual Event: 'Medical Writing and Communication During the COVID-19 Crisis' on Thursday 19 November, we are sure you would agree that it was an invaluable two hours. The calibre of speakers and their learnings from this unprecedented crisis were beyond our expectations. We are humbled by their willingness to give their personal time to share their experience with us. 

If you missed the live event, a recording is available to AMWA members in the Members Area. If you are not yet an AMWA member, but would like to join, you can visit our membership and benefits page here. Annual membership is $80 for full members and $40 for students.

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