Celebrating over 50 years of serving medical writers in the Delaware Valley

22nd Annual Princeton Workshop

Saturday, April 21, 2018 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Princeton Marriott at Forrestal

Princeton, New Jersey

Conference Chairs: Benau, PhD and Darryl Z. L’Heureux, PhD

AMWA-DVC is pleased to announce the 22nd Annual Princeton Conference on Saturday, April 21, 2018, at the Princeton Marriot at Forrestal. This year's conference offers programming in an all open session format that include sessions in:

  • AMWA-DVC's Medical Writing Essentials 
  • Hot Topics in Medical Communications and Scientific Writing. 

These dual tracks allow participants to pick-and-choose relevant sessions for their individual needs.

Registration and Logistics

AMWA Members         $190
Non-members             $215
Full-time Students       $180 (must provide official ID to register)
The registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, and morning and afternoon beverages and snacks.

Princeton Marriott at Forrestal
100 College Road East
Princeton, NJ 08540\609-452-7800

Questions? Contact Membercommunications@amwa-dvc.org




Workshop Schedule


Medical Writing Essentials

Hot Topics in Medical Writing

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM


9:00 AM - 10:30 AM


Presenting Numeric Evidence Part 1 Jane Miller


Good Publication Practice and Authorship 
Jennie Jacobson

10:30 AM-10:45 AM

Morning Break

10:45 AM - 12:15 PM


Presenting Numeric Evidence Part 2
Jane Miller


Issues with Patient Engagement Darshan Kulkarni

12:15 PM - 1:45 PM

Lunch and Networking

1:45 PM - 3:15 PM


Medical Writers are Project Managers
Eileen Girten


Continuing Medical Education: Cannabis - It’s Time!
Gail Scott & Cathleen O’Connell

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM

Afternoon Break

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Soft Skills: The Critical Accompaniment to Technical Skills
Kelleen Flaherty

Professionalism in Medical Writing
Dan Benau



Presenting Numeric Evidence Part 1 (1 of 2)
Jane E. Miller, Professor, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey
This two-part workshop will introduce ways to bridge the gap between correct statistical analysis and good expository writing to communicate quantitative research results clearly to patients, medical providers, or other non-scientific audiences. The first half of the workshop will cover how to present numbers as evidence, criteria to include when reporting one number, and principles for how to convey comparisons between two numbers or series of numbers. The second half of the workshop will build on those principles by covering pros and cons of the different types of tools for presenting numbers, how to organize data in tables and charts, and the importance of differentiating between statistical and substantive significance. To tie together all of these principles, we will learn a systematic approach to summarizing a complex numeric pattern. Each part of the workshop will include time for participants to apply the newly learned principles to hands-on exercises, and discussion of answers to those exercises.

 Presenting Numeric Evidence Part 2 (2 of 2)
Jane E. Miller, Professor, Rutgers – The State University of New Jersey
These two sessions are intended to be taken in series.

Medical Writers are Project Managers
Eileen M. Girten, Principal Medical Writer, PRA Health Sciences
Medical writing isn’t just limited to writing. It involves managing workloads, timelines, and teams – that is, project management. Although project management may be associated with other fields, such as engineering and construction, it has also been used in the pharmaceutical industry. This session will explore how medical writers can apply principles of project management in their work and discuss some best practices.

Soft Skills: The Critical Accompaniment to Technical Skills
Kelleen Flaherty, Freelance Medical Writer, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biomedical Writing
Obviously, medical writers have the technical skills they need to create excellent deliverables. However, to be a successful employee (including remote and freelance work), writers (everyone, actually) also need to have a firm command of soft skills (AKA "transferable skills").  "Soft skills" encompass abilities not related directly to your writing skill, and include things like interpersonal relationships, ethics, time management, teamwork, enthusiasm, problem-solving, negotiation, etiquette, attitude, self-confidence, and other attributes.  In this presentation we’ll discuss what soft skills actually are, as well as explore several individual soft skills and how they’re characterized.  Everyone is better at some than others.  This presentation will give you something to think about!


Good Publication Practice and Authorship
Jennie G. Jacobson, PhD, Lead Medical Writer at Fishawack Communications
Confusion and disputes about authorship may be as old as writing itself.  Mistakes, uncertainty, and just plan unethical behavior inspired the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors to develop recommendations concerning authorship and other aspects of medical publications.  The International Society for Medical Publication Professionals has issued their own guidance on good publication practice, including authorship.  This session will focus on why these guidelines are needed, how they address common authorship issues, and what grey areas still exist.  The session also includes tips and tricks for helping authors comply with authorship recommendations, for avoiding authorship disputes, and for defusing them when they occur.

Medical Cannabis: an Emerging Topic for CME & Science Writers, Things to Know
Cathleen O’Connell, RpH, PhD., Assistant Professor of Biomedical Writing, University of Sciences
Gail Groves Scott, MPH Director, University of Sciences
This session will describe the inconsistent and changing regulatory and legal status of medical cannabis across the U.S., and will review trends in research and clinical application of this emerging, yet historic, therapy. Understanding this unique background will illuminate opportunities for medical writers in this evolving segment of healthcare. While we will touch upon medical writing opportunities, the focus will be on educating attendees to the regulatory and therapeutic situation. That way they will appreciate how to make their own medical writing opportunities.

Issues with Patient Engagement
Darshan Kulkarni, Vice President, Regulatory Strategy and Policy at Synchrogenx
This talk will discuss the basics of why patient engagement has grown in importance and scope recently and further briefly discuss some of the laws that impact patient engagement. The presentation will identify common recent errors and recent DOJ investigations.

Medical Writing: The Job, The Career, The Profession
Dan Benau, PhD, Director, Biomedical Writing Programs, University of the Sciences
The subject of research into best practices in developing medical writing materials came up in a recent teleconference that included members of AMWA, EMWA, and other organizations involved in medical writing. This in turn brought up the subject of what indeed differentiates a job, career, and profession. This talk will concentrate on the perspective of an educator and practitioner in the field and will cover aspects of education, training, certification, and other pillars of a profession. Some of these topics will also form the basis of a panel discussion at the end of the conference.



Danny A. Benau, PhD, had a 15-year career as a full-time regulatory medical writer before being appointed Associate Professor of Biomedical Writing at the University of the Sciences in 2005. He has been the Director of the Biomedical Writing Programs at the University since 2008. He is a frequent presenter on job and career prospects in medical writing and has also written articles and book chapters on the history and best practices in regulatory writing.

Kelly Flaherty has been a medical writer for 25 years, and has taught in the University of the Sciences Graduate Biomedical Writing Programs for almost 20 years. She has worked in regulatory writing, CME, promotional education, marketing, and publications, as an on-site employee, remote employee, and in freelance. She has done research in and written about soft skills, as well as presented on the topic. She has also written and presented on tangential topics such as job hunting, capabilities, and mentorship. She is exceptionally qualified to talk about soft skills because she’s really good at some of them, and embarrassingly bad at others. So she knows her stuff.

Eileen M. Girten is a Principal Medical Writer with PRA Health Sciences and is experienced in regulatory and publications writing, submissions, and mentoring. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and has taught Regulatory Documentation Processes for the Biomedical Writing program. Prior to joining PRA Health Sciences, Eileen was a medical writer for INC Research/inVentiv Health (now Syneos). Eileen earned a BA in Chemistry from Rosemont College, an MS in Psychology from Saint Joseph’s University, and an MS in Biomedical Writing from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. She has presented at several conferences for American Medical Writers Association, ExL Clinical Regulatory Medical Writing Forum, and Drug Information Association.

Jennie G. Jacobson, PhD, is a Lead Medical Writer at Fishawack  Communications where she specializes in publications. Jennie earned a BA from Swarthmore College, and a PhD from Harvard University. She conducted post-doctoral research at Upjohn Laboratories and the University of Michigan, before realizing that medical writing would allow her all the fun of interpreting the data without the work of generating the data. She rounded out her education with two AMWA certifications and a certificate in Medical Writing from the University of Chicago. In her 18 years as a medical writer, Jennie has worked in mental health, health outcomes research, infectious disease, endocrinology and respiratory disease. She has also been an instructor at the Kenyon Institute in Biomedical and Scientific Writing. What Jennie loves most about medical writing is the ongoing opportunities to learn new things.  She has two wonderful adult daughters and lives near Philadelphia with her also wonderful husband.

Darshan Kulkarni, PharmD, MS, Esq, is Vice President, Regulatory Strategy and Policy at Synchrogenx – a medical writing and regulatory strategy company. He works with a variety of life science companies and their service providers to help with a variety of services including compliant: a) sales tool development; b) health economics, sales and marketing approval; c) responses to titled and untitled letters from various governmental agencies including the FDA. DrHe has worked as a pharmacist for more than 10 years and is currently Visiting Associate Professor at the Univ. of the Sciences where he teaches and develops courses a course on Promotion of Biomedical Products. He has lectured in engineering, medical, and law schools all over the country and was voted in the Top 20 of the 2012 and 2013 Top 100 most influential Social media participants in the annual #pharma100 poll.

Jane E. Miller, PhD, is a Professor at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. A specialist in quantitative communication and statistical literacy, she has written two books: The Chicago Guide to Writing about Numbers and The Chicago Guide to Writing about Multivariate Analysis, both in their second editions, and a series of related articles in teaching and research journals. Her research interests include relationships between poverty, child health, health insurance, and access to health care.

Cathleen O’Connell, PhD: After beginning her professional life as a hospital pharmacist, Cathleen had a long career in the pharmaceutical industry where her responsibilities over the years included drug information, medical writing, regulatory affairs, and labeling. In 2016 she transitioned into academia. As Assistant Professor in the Biomedical Writing programs at the University of the Sciences, she developed an interest in information provided to consumers of medical cannabis and recreational marijuana. Cathleen is a rated helicopter pilot and flies paragliders.

Gail Groves Scott, MPH, manages the Substance Use Disorders (SUD) Institute at University of the Sciences. The SUD Institute improves SUD care by translating science into practice through education, policy and research. Gail’s research focus is opioid use disorder policy and access to treatment medications. She also researches stigma, treatment in criminal justice settings, and the pharmaceutical industry’s influence on medical education and policy. Prior to changing careers to work in public health policy, she worked in communications and marketing, including almost 17 years as a pharmaceutical representative, for companies involved in both pain and addiction.