Newsletter – March 2019

Greetings, North Central Members!

Welcome to the March 2019 chapter newsletter. Let us know what you think, and remember, you can also read it on the chapter website. You can find previous newsletters on the website as well. And we always welcome suggestions for newsletter topics.

In this issue:





Book Club: Monday, April 29, 2019, at 11 a.m.

Mirror of Korea, 761 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, MN

Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce by Douglas Starr


Our next Book Club meeting is on April 29, 2019, at 11 a.m. at the Mirror of Korea, 761 Snelling Avenue North, St. Paul, in the Midway neighborhood just southwest of Hamline University. The book we’ll discuss is Blood: An Epic History of Medicine and Commerce by Douglas Starr. Bring your suggestions to help us select books to read for 2020! By 9 a.m. the morning of April 29, please email longtime Book Club coordinator Mary Knatterud to let her know you’re coming: knatt001 (at) umn (dot) edu

N.B.: This is our Book Club’s first time at this lovely restaurant, dubbed a “local jewel” by City Pages. You can order anything from the spiciest kimchi to the mildest fried rice; or, if you’re not hungry, simply savor a cup of hot tea or soup. The restaurant is about a mile and a half north of I-94, on the west side of Snelling Avenue at its intersection with Englewood Avenue (kitty-corner from Hamline University’s new student union). On-street parking is available on the nearby side streets, although you may need to walk a half-block or so — hopefully on ice-free sidewalks by then!

Have you read a good book lately?

Whether you’ve read a professional/technical, biomedical/science nonfiction, or fiction book that you think other chapter members may enjoy, share a short review with us. Write a paragraph or a few about what you liked about the book, how it might be good for medical writers to read, or how it might fill a need. Send your submissions to jennerb (at) gmail (dot) com.

SE Minnesota Writers and Editors Discussion Group

May 10,  2019: 12 noon to 1 p.m.

Details: These quarterly gatherings are informal, and lunch is provided by the chapter. All AMWA members and guests are welcome. To ensure an accurate head count for the lunch order, RSVP one week before the meeting (email June Oshiro at oshiro (dot) june (at) mayo (dot) edu).

We have no formal discussion topic for this meeting — let’s talk about whatever’s on your mind! If it’s been a while since you’ve attended, come on back, don’t be shy! If you’ve never joined us before, please consider coming by and introducing yourself. Nonmembers are welcome, too.

Directions to our meeting are at Hope to see you there!


Take an Active Role — Volunteer!

We still have some additional missing links in leadership and some gracious previous volunteers working beyond their term. As you know, our chapter is a volunteer-based organization. If members don’t take an active role, the chapter will cease to function, and members will lose access to programming, news, and networking opportunities.

Consider taking your turn to lead (or join) a committee or serve as a chapter officer. These positions are still open:

  • Treasurer: The treasurer (3-year term) manages the chapter’s checking account, develops the annual budget in collaboration with the president and president-elect, contributes to semiannual reports, completes IRS filing, and when needed, helps other committees establish a budget for large events. The current treasurer’s term will overlap with the incoming treasurer’s term to teach you about the position.
  • Finance Committee Chair: This chair coordinates the annual audit of the chapter’s financial records at the close of the fiscal year (June) and reports the findings to the chapter treasurer.

Not ready or able to lead a committee? All of our committees welcome members to share ideas and keep the workload light.

In addition to keeping our group viable, volunteering with AMWA is a great way to network with your fellow members. It’s also a good way to fortify your C.V. with an extra line showing how you give back to your profession! If you can volunteer a few hours a month to help, contact our president, Lisa Poppenberg: president (at) Thank you!


Member Profile: Susan (Sue) Prattis, VMD, PhD, MS, DACLAM 

by Jennifer Burton

Susan Prattis has been a member of the North Central chapter since last spring, and she is also active with AMWA colleagues in Iowa. As she notes, “Iowa and Minnesota are great places to live if one is interested in writing, science and medicine, international/comparative policy development and law, and clinical practice (and food, performing arts, water and the natural world, college sports, and agriculture too).”

On joining AMWA, she shares, “I began reading about different organizations that promoted the craft and science of medical writing, and I realized that I wanted to become involved with this organization as a way of using my scientific and medical background experience while developing my business and writing strengths.”

Sue’s interest in writing began early in life. “My mother is a retired teacher, and I was one of her first subjects, learning to read well before I went to elementary school,” she recalls. “I first learned to write in middle and high school (Germantown Friends School, Philadelphia, PA), and in college.” Over time, she found herself drawn to nonfiction writing that allowed her to incorporate her STEM background.

Sue holds a VMD from the University of Pennsylvania, a PhD in pathology and cell biology from North Carolina State University, and a master’s in nonprofit management in philanthropy from Bay Path University in Massachusetts. She has experience in a wide range of environments, including academia, research, clinical veterinary medicine, and journal writing/editing and publication. Of her time in academia, she says, “I enjoyed giving back to my students by helping them to become better scientists, researchers, and writers.”

Her approach to her current work is to provide “a broad portfolio of medical, scientific, and educational writing, serving individual investigators as well as nonprofit, corporate, and governmental entities.” She seeks to combine her academic and clinical background with her passion for “writing to express ideas and help people.”

She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Patent Law, a program offered through the University of Minnesota Law School that allows her to focus on “legal research and writing, patent research and writing, prosecution, and portfolio management.” On a typical day, her work may involve “writing, conducting research, reading, interviewing, conducting physical exams. and providing therapy, or, more rarely, sleeping.” In her free time, she enjoys cooking and baking.

AMWA North Central Chapter Officers

President: Lisa Poppenberg, MPH, ELS, president (at) amwanorthcentral (dot) org

President-Elect: Jillienne Touchette

Past President: Kendra Hyland, PhD

Co-Treasurer: Ellen O’Malley, MS, treasurer (at) amwanorthcentral (dot) org

Co-Treasurer: vacant

Secretary: Amelia Young, BS, secretary (at) amwanorthcentral (dot) org

AMWA North Central Committee Chairs

Finance Committee: Co-Treasurer Ellen O’Malley, MS

Membership Committee: Lynelle Martinez, MBA

Program Committee: Messac Che Neba

Publications Committee: Jennifer Burton

Chapter Representative to AMWA National: Mary Knatterud, PhD

Chapter Advisory Council (CAC) Representative to AMWA National:

Mary Knatterud, PhD [Nov. 2017 through June 2019];

Paul Mamula, PhD [July 2019 through June 2020]

Questions? Ideas? Email the officers listed above or visit our website at