Newsletter – December 2019

Greetings, North Central Members!

Welcome to the December 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: January 27, 2020

The Egg and I, 2550 University Ave, St Paul 55114

Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer


Our next book club is on January 27, 2020, at 11 am at The Egg and I, 2550 University Ave, St Paul, just west of Highway 280. We will discuss Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer. Even if you haven’t read the book, join us to have a quick lunch or brunch and meet AMWA members. See you there!

By 9 a.m. the morning of January 27, please email Book Club coordinator Paul Mamula to let him know you’re coming: paulpat (at) pclink (dot) com.

Book Club Selections

By Paul W. Mamula, PhD

In 2020, we celebrate the 14th year of our North Central Book Club. How time does fly! The new year will also mark the beginning of my first full year as book club coordinator. Mary Knatterud, the organizer of our club, has retired from the hectic academic life to pursue what comes next, although she still joins us for discussions. This year promises to be a fun year with books about style, food, and fraud. Dreyer’s English is newly published and may be something for writers and editors. Extra Virginity might interest the “foodies” among us. Bad Blood (our dinner meeting selection) was previously previewed in the “Read a Good Book?” column in the April 2019 Newsletter. Read that column for a sneak peek. Theselections and particulars follow:

  • Monday, January 27, 2020: Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style by Benjamin Dreyer (11 am, The Egg and I, 2550 University Ave, St Paul, just west of Highway 280)
  • Monday April 27, 2020: Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller (11 am, Mirror of Korea, St Paul,761 Snelling Ave, St Paul, in the Midway neighborhood near Hamline University)
  • Monday, September 28, 2020: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou (6 pm, La Casita Mexican Restaurant, 1625 Perimeter Road, Roseville)

Whether or not you have read the book, join us for one or all of these meetings. You can enjoy the conversation and network with other AMWA members. Non-AMWA members are welcome, too (You can also find out more about AMWA in an informal setting). We welcome your thoughts about which books to add as future selections.

If you plan on joining a book club discussion, please email me at paulpat (at) pclink (dot) com before 9 am on the day of the meeting. See you in January!


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.

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.

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


AMWA 2019The Chapter Advisory Council in San Diego

By Paul W. Mamula, PhD

The second Chapter Advisory Council meeting took place at the National AMWA meeting in San Diego on November 8, 2019. The meeting lasted about an hour, but was filled with information for chapters, an overview of the additions and improvements to the National website, and previews of future plans for CAC meetings.

The CAC and Its Function

The CAC functions as a strategic advisory group responsible for acting as a liaison between the National AMWA Board of Directors and local chapters. Representatives share information held during quarterly meetings with local chapter officers. The CAC offers a strategic focus for chapters and acts as a sounding board for issues that affect the chapters. The group was formed 2 years ago.

The CAC Year in Review

The meeting began with introductions of the chapter representatives, which was nice because we were able to put faces to names familiar through the teleconferences. Because the meeting was held during a 1-hour break between sessions, presentations were concise but informative. Katrina Burton, the CAC chair, presented a summary of chapter reports including separate summaries of financial status and member chapters’ activities. This information was also sent to representatives after the meeting, and I have shared them with our officers, so some may resurface in future newsletters or in links on the national AMWA site. Ms Burton also introduced the new CAC chair, Kimberly Korwek. Ms Burton will be taking on a new role as AMWA National Secretary.

We were also treated to an overview of 2019 that included the new mission statement and an introduction to the content strategy dashboard on the AMWA website. A quick demonstration of the new content by Shari Rager illustrated what the website had to offer: news, selected medical and career information, and references, among others. The presentation also included a brief summary of plans for the website as it evolves. We also learned a lot from a brief presentation of activities and suggestions for events from different chapters. Members may find them handy for planning future events and other activities ( Chapter Leader Resource Center ).

Choosing a CAC Representative

The term for CAC Representative lasts for 1 year. Those interested in serving a term should contact our current officers. The new representative must be sent to the National AMWA in the August 1 Chapter Report. The meetings offer good opportunities to air out ideas for local chapters, provide additional networking opportunities, and help keep chapters informed about AMWA initiatives and activities.

The CAC holds four meetings each year. CAC representative terms begin after the National meeting. Teleconferences are held in each of the first 3 quarters of the year, and the final meeting is held at the national AMWA meeting. Attendance at the final meeting is mandatory. Members who are transitioning into the position are also invited to attend that meeting. The meetings do not take up a great deal of time but do provide an opportunity to interact with members from other chapters and add input to AMWA’s evolving policy.

The North Central Chapter subsidizes attendance at the National meeting. Mary Knatterud served as our first representative when the council was formed, and I am the second representative and will serve through the end of the 2020 term (My last meeting will be at the National Meeting in Baltimore).

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.