Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Countdown to Sacramento

According to the countdown clock on the AMWA website, only 60+ days remain until the start of the 2012 AMWA Annual Conference in Sacramento. This year's conference, to be held October 3-6, offers many exciting new features, and the educational and networking opportunities at the conference comprise the best value a professional medical communicator will ever find to enrich and advance his or her career. The registration brochure is available online, and you can take advantage of early registration until August 25, 2012.

If you have never attended an AMWA annual conference, 2012 is a good time to start! Not only is the educational program exceptional, but AMWA is the friendliest, most gracious group of people you will find in a professional organization. So, if you haven't come to a conference because you "don't know anyone," think again! Come, and you will soon be exchanging business cards with many colleagues, vowing to keep in touch. Every year, I meet new people, learn new things, gain more insight into our profession, and leave the conference further enriched by my experience and my colleagues, both old and new.

I know that cost is always an important factor for people considering a conference, especially during these economic times. But our conference registration fee is much lower than that for many other conferences. And it's a great value—with a wealth of sessions included at no extra fee, and this year, with three—yes, three—networking events and two—yes, two—free lunches! One pass of your business card or conversation with a new colleague could lead to a work assignment, which just might cover some of your conference cost! The AMWA Journal even offers an article
on how to get your employer to say "yes" to the conference.

If you're not convinced yet, just look at some of the highlights of the conference.


Workshops are, and always will be, the number-one reason AMWA members and others attend the annual conference. This year, attendees are able to register for more credit workshops than ever before—a total of four including up to 3 advanced workshops. AMWA workshops fill up quickly, so you should act fast if you want to take advantage of these outstanding educational opportunities. You can learn more about AMWA's extensive education program on the AMWA website.

Guest Speakers

Dr. Neal Baer, Executive Producer of CBS-TV's A Gifted Man, will give the keynote address on Thursday morning and receive AMWA's John P. McGovern Award. Mary Roach, award-winning author of Stiff—The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Spook—Science Tackles the Afterlife, Bonk—The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, and Packing for Mars—The Curious Science of Life in the Void will receive the Walter C. Alvarez Award and speak at the Alvarez Luncheon on Friday.

Open Sessions

Over the span of 3 days, attendees have about 37 open sessions to engage their minds at this year's conference. You'll find hour-long and 90-minute sessions on a wide range of topics relevant to the broad interests of AMWA members. In listening to members, we made a special effort this year to offer open sessions of particular interest to medical editors and medical writers in the field of devices and diagnostics.

Especially notable this year are two open sessions hosted by the FDA: "FDA Drug Safety Communications: Principles, Practice, and Evaluation," presented by Laura L. Pincock, PharmD, MPH, and "FDA Dos and Don't's of Advertising and Promotion," presented by Lisa Hubbard, RPh; an open session hosted by the National Library of Medicine (NLM): "After the Gold Rush: NLM and Gold Nuggets of Information," presented by Kelli Ham, MLIS; and an open session hosted by the Drug Information Association: "Planning for Future Scenarios in Medical Product Development." Also look for the many sessions being presented by your fellow AMWA members, including "How to Get Your Second Medical Writing Job," presented by members of the AMWA Young Professionals group, as well as by esteemed guest presenters. Admission to all open sessions is included in your registration fee!

Networking Opportunities

Members asked for more networking opportunities and this year we deliver. There's the "California Dreaming" welcome reception on Wednesday evening, a new free Networking Luncheon on Thursday, a new free Networking Reception on Thursday evening, a free Networking Breakfast with the poster presenters and conference exhibitors on Friday morning, and another free Networking Luncheon on Saturday afternoon. All this is also included in your registration fee!


The Breakfast Roundtables are always popular with conference attendees, and this year is no exception. There are about 76 roundtables to choose from on a wide range of topics, offering an excellent opportunity for you to feed your body and your mind. From "How to Write a Book Proposal" to "How to Rock Conference Coverage" to "Biomarkers and Personalized Medicine" to "Transitioning from Benchtop to Medical Writing," there's something for everyone: freelances, staffers, seasoned medical communicators, and newbies alike.

Eureka! There's a lot to discover at the 2012 AMWA Annual Conference. Let's find each other there!


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