Newsletter – September 2019

Greetings, North Central Members!

Welcome to the September 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:





North Central Chapter Networking Happy Hour: Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Restaurant Alma, 528 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414

Join us from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Restaurant Alma for a networking happy hour with appetizers provided by the chapter. This event is open to members and to anyone interested in medical writing. RSVP by email to Messac Che Neba: mcheneba (at) gmail (dot) com

Book Club: Monday, September 30, 2019

La Casita, 1925 Perimeter Dr, Roseville, MN 55113

Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande


Join us for our next book club on September 30, 2019, at 6 p.m. at La Casita in Roseville. We will discuss Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance by Atul Gawande. Even if you haven’t read the book, feel free to join our conversation and enjoy some good Mexican cooking. We hope to see you there. By 9 a.m. the morning of September 30, please email Book Club coordinator Paul Mamula to let him know you’re coming: paulpat (at) pclink (dot) com.


Take an Active Role — Volunteer!

Volunteers Needed!

AMWA North Central 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. Online elections will be held in September for the officer positions, so please nominate yourself or let us know if you know anyone who may be interested!

These positions are open:

President: The President participates in a 1-year term: leading the chapter’s processes with help from the past president and president-elect.

President-Elect: The President-Elect participates in a 3-year term: learning the chapter’s processes as president-elect, then serving as president, and finally continuing on as past president to ensure continuity.

Treasurer: The Treasurer (3-year term) manages the chapter checking account, develops the annual budget in collaboration with the president and president-elect, contributes to semi-annual 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: The Finance Committee Chair coordinates the annual audit of the chapter’s financial records at the close of the fiscal year (July) and reports the findings to the Chapter Treasurer.

Not ready or able to lead a committee? All 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) amwanorthcentral (dot) org


Daniel Pink’s When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

A book review by Jennifer Burton

This nonfiction book published in 2018 is a quick read that offers tips for optimizing mental performance by strategically timing tasks and breaks. Pink describes the field of human chronobiology, the study of biological rhythms and internal biological clocks, summarizing research studies and providing extensive references for further reading. In addition, each chapter concludes with a “Time-Hacker’s Handbook,” a section with brief suggestions and exercises exploring different topics.

In When, Pink defines three chronotypes: larks, owls, and third birds. Larks are what are commonly called “morning people,” owls are the “night owls,” and third birds fall in between. Based on chronotype, tasks can be matched with their ideal timing. For example, research suggests that larks are better off performing analytical tasks in the early morning, but creative tasks requiring insight should be undertaken in the late afternoon or early evening. Owls, on the other hand, have better insight in the morning and better analytical ability in the late afternoon and evening. Other topics include the importance of beginnings, the value of a good conclusion, and timing for teams.

I’ve had mixed feelings about Daniel Pink’s writing style in the past, but this book provides a nice mix of relatable examples and well-referenced research. Being solidly in the lark category, I feel validated by Pink’s recommendation to not fill my peak creative hours with tedious analytical tasks. Owls may also enjoy the book, as Pink offers advice for this less common chronotype to get by in a world dominated by larks and third birds.

In closing, I’ll share my favorite takeaway tip from When: when facing the post-lunch afternoon slump at work, research suggests that a cup of coffee and a 20-minute nap may improve productivity!

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.