Chapter Report – Spring 2015


Spring 2015 – Board of Directors Meeting

  1.  North Central Chapter–11
  2. Current Membership Count: 121
  3. Tax Identification Information (EIN): Federal EIN 27 2578246
  4. Incorporation Status and State of Domicile Not applicable
  5. IRS Tax-Exempt Status (501c3 or c6, other, or n/a)

Nonprofit, small tax-exempt organization receiving all revenue from AMWA, which is a 501(c)(3).


6. Chapter Leadership/Officers (Executive Committee)

  • Ruth Taswell, Immediate Past President, 1 Year
  • Nissa Mollema, President, 1 Year
  • Karen Bannick, President-elect, 1 Year
  • Joy Frestedt, Treasurer, 3rd year of 3 Years
  • Venugopal Thayanithy, Co-Treasurer, 1st year of 3 Years
  • Naomi Ruff, Secretary, 2nd year of 3 Years


7. Delegate(s) Assigned for BOD meeting

Naomi Ruff, Secretary, 2nd year of 3 Years


8. List of Chapter committees (Name of Committee, Chair, members, and goals)

Chapter Committees:

Finance Committee: Ellen O’Malley, chair; Theresa King-Hunter

Perform the yearly audit of financial records. Work with the Treasurer and chapter officers.

Membership Committee: Jenny Michlitsch, chair; Colleen Sauber, Mary Van Beusekom (LinkedIn manager)

Identify ways to recruit new members, understand the needs of current members, and reach out to lapsed members.

Program Committee: Theresa King-Hunter, Chair; Karen Bannick, Joy Frestedt, Nissa Mollema, Ruth Taswell, and Venugopal Thayanithy

Offer several events each year. At least 1 should cover a writing or science topic, and at least 1 event should be held outside of the Twin Cities, preferably in Rochester, the region with the second-largest concentration of members.

Publications Committee: Kendra Hyland, chair; Kelly Haagenson, Paul Mamula, Deb Sugerman, Naomi Ruff, and Sharon Rosen.

Develop content for the monthly newsletter, including announcements of chapter events and other items of interest to members as well as ongoing features such as “What We Do,” which offers our membership a glimpse into chapter members’ various vocations; notes from the chapter book club; and profiles of chapter members.

Wisconsin Regional Chair: Vacant

North Dakota Regional Chair: Nancy Gustafson (no activity to report)

South Dakota Regional Chair: Vacant


9. Brief Financial

Chapter is well within budget for the year and finances are progressing as projected.


10. 2015 Chapter Conference dates and Conference Chair (if applicable)

No Chapter Conference is planned at this time. Program events (Spring and Fall) are to be determined.


11. Summary of Progress since last report (may include information on the following)

The Executive Committee developed a Membership Award. Students or non-members with less than 3 years of experience are eligible to apply for a free, 1-year membership with AMWA. The award is intended to increase the visibility of AMWA within the local community and to encourage interested individuals to become members. The application was released in January 2015 and the deadline to apply was March 1, 2015. We received 1 application.

The Executive Committee began including committee chairs and regional chairs on monthly conference calls to deepen engagement and feedback for the chapter; this actually resulted in the recruitment of our Finance Chairperson (Karen Bannick) as our new President-Elect.

Theresa King-Hunter now chairs the Program Committee. On Saturday, November 1, the AMWA North Central Chapter hosted Tim Denison, PhD, the Senior Engineering Director of Technology from Medtronic Neuromodulation for a talk titled “Technological Advancements in Neurological Disorders.” Tim shared his thoughts and provided some context for the current state of brain research, as well as Medtronic Neuromodulation’s role in this research. There was good feedback about this event, and new AMWA member and Medtronic employee, Elizabeth Fehrmann, wrote a summary of the event for the chapter newsletter.

The Membership committee made a list of contacts at colleges and universities in our area. This list is a tool for advertising programs, events, and the new Membership Award. The Membership committee has also taken over the planning and organization of local Networking Happy Hours in the Twin Cities area. The committee hosted a Happy Hour on December 4, 2014 (pictured below). This event was well attended, and we received positive feedback about the value of this type of event. Our second Happy Hour was February 26, 2015, with 11 attendees. Our plan is to hold 4 networking events per year and to vary the location within the Twin Cities metro area to allow members to attend an event that is more convenient.

The Publications Committee has a new chair, Kendra Hyland. Kendra plans to continue the series of member profiles and event summaries in the monthly AMWA North Central Newsletter. Kendra also has plans to expand newsletter content and has discussed adding opportunities for the President to contribute regular blog-style posts.

The chapter Secretary, Naomi Ruff, works to keep the website up to date and to add useful content. Events sponsored by our chapter, other chapters, and AMWA National (such as webinars) are listed on the calendar and highlighted in the sidebar of every page. Newsletters are posted on the website, but the text is now also included in the email sent to members, to make it easier to access the information and increase views. The Secretary also sends email blasts to advertise chapter activities. Members who have opted in receive occasional job ads.

Chapter discussion groups in SE Minnesota and in the Twin Cities continue to focus on topics pertinent to medical writing and editing and project management.

The Chapter Book Club met in January 2015 to discuss the book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach. Two additional meetings are planned for 2015:

  • Saturday, April 25, 2015: A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar
  • Monday, September 28, 2015: Health Care Research Done Right: A Journal Editor Shares Practical Tips and Techniques for High Quality and Efficiency by Kathleen A. Fairman


12.  List of Action Items or Discussion Items

The chapter is still struggling to find volunteers to participate on committees and fill leadership roles.

The chapter is looking for ideas on how to recruit new members and serve long-time members. The chapter is also looking for ways to engage members outside the core population areas (the Twin Cities and Rochester, MN), and hopes to work with AMWA to develop webinars.

The issue recently arose of whether it is acceptable to post the chapter’s financial information on the website. For the past 10 years, we have posted complete chapter reports, including the budget, but there has been some discussion that National discourages this. If this is true, we would like clarification of what the rules are and why they are in place.

We have very little traffic to our website, and traffic has decreased since we have begun to include newsletter content within the email blast. We are very open to ideas on how to improve the usefulness of the site and how to encourage visits.

Is the possibility of resurrecting the listservs still under consideration?