Newsletter – April 2020


Greetings, North Central Members!

Welcome to the April 2020 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:



  • Take an active role in AMWA – Volunteers needed!


  • Introduction to new Publications Committee Chair: Ashley Mooneyham
  • Chapter Networking Event recap, February 27, 2020
  • Chapter Advisory Council Report recap, February 20, 2020


Book Club hosted by Paul Mamula

Topic: Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller

When: April 27th, 2020 at 11 a.m. via teleconference

Details:  Click on the link to join the Zoom meeting:
Meeting ID: 927 2621 0554
Password: 5wLT0Y

Book: We will discuss Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller. Even if you haven’t read the book, join us to participate in the discussion and meet AMWA members. See you there!

RSVP: By 9 a.m. the morning of April 27, please email Book Club coordinator Paul Mamula to let him know you’re coming: paulpat (at) pclink (dot) com. Paul will send details on how to phone-in.

SE Minnesota Writers and Editors Discussion Group – CANCELLED

In light of the current pandemic, we were unable to host the April AMWA SE Minnesota networking lunch as planned. Please plan to join us for our next meeting on September 18th, 2020. 


Take an active role in AMWA – 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.

The following positions are open:

  • CAC representative needed. Our chapter needs to select a new CAC representative for 2021. The term begins with quarterly teleconferences that start after the annual AMWA meeting and ends with attendance at the CAC meeting at the annual national AMWA meeting. In 2021, the annual conference will be held in Chicago, a close midwestern destination. Our chapter has budgeted $1,000 for our CAC representative to attend the annual conference. It is important to note that attendance is mandatory for the annual conference meeting and no substitutions are allowed. Members in transition may attend. The position offers the opportunity to affect strategic decisions for chapters at the national level but does not require a great deal of time commitment. If you are interested in serving, please contact one of our chapter officers.
  • Co-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, Michele Cleary: president (at) amwanorthcentral (dot) org


Profile, new member and Publications Chair – Ashley Mooneyham

Ashley Mooneyham, North Central Chapter’s Publication Committee Chair

Ashley Mooneyham has joined the AMWA North Central Chapter as the new Publication Committee Chair. Ashley holds a Ph.D. from the Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She currently works as the Director of Grants at a medical writing startup based in the Twin Cities: Superior Medical Experts. For that role, she helps small businesses and physician entrepreneurs craft SBIR/STTR grant applications in wide-ranging scientific areas, from medical devices to telehealth and robotics. Her position involves both scientific writing and managing scientific writers, so she became interested in all AMWA has to offer and eager to get involved. Please feel free to reach out to her directly with any ideas for what you’d like to see in our next newsletter! Email: ashleyemooneyham (at) gmail (dot) com

Chapter Networking Event, February 27, 2020

By Paul W. Mamula, PhD

AMWA North Central Chapter happy hour:
seated Kim Gruidl, Jennifer Burton, Paul Mamula; standing Michele Cleary and Andrea Johnson

Our chapter held its mid-winter networking meeting at McCoy’s Public House for happy hour appetizers on February 27, 2020. We had the opportunity to meet with our new President, Michele Cleary and discuss the chapter and other events. Michele runs, a healthcare outcomes research company. We had 5 total attendees. One of the attendees, Andrea Johnson, was a prospective member, who wanted more information about what medical writers do and about the organization. She was especially interested in preparing materials for patients and issues concerning plain language. We had a lively discussion about chapter activities, attending the National conference, benefits of being a member, technology issues, potential types of meetings, and books.

Our discussion included the pandemic and our excitement at learning that we have been able to get a commitment from Michael Osterholm,PHD, MPH, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at our May 14th meeting. We suspect that our meeting will either be a virtual one or reschedules given the projections for the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned for details! For those interested in chapter history, Michael Osterholm spoke at a chapter dinner in June 2000 at what was then Hotel Sofitel in Edina. We hope that we will be able to hold face-to-face gatherings in the coming months.

Chapter Advisory Council Report

By Paul W. Mamula, PhD, North Central CAC Representative

The Chapter Advisory Council (CAC) held its quarterly teleconference on February 20, 2020. This report is the first CAC report for our newsletter, and we hope will become a regular feature.

The meeting opened with a report by Susan Krug about the AMWA statement concerning recent freelance legislation that affects freelancers (Posted on AMWA Engage February 21, 2020: Press Release, Position Statement, and Background Information ). Although the legislation has been passed in only a few states, fears are that it will severely limit work freelancers are able to do nationwide. Many writers are concerned because submissions that exceed a certain number constitute being an employee, so some companies, notably web-based publications, are limiting work that they contract freelancers for.

The CAC meeting agenda included 2 actionable items. The first was to remind chapter leaders of the due date for the chapter activity report. The second was to review compliance with chapter leaders for chapter websites. The best practice for updating items is to link to the AMWA site when possible. Doing so mitigates multiple updates by individual chapters and also links to the most recent updates.

The meeting also alerted CAC representatives to upcoming conferences hosted by individual chapters. These include spring conferences for the Mid-Atlantic, Delaware Valley, Indiana, and Carolinas chapters. Links can be found on the AMWA website.

Other news concerned the National AMWA meeting at the Baltimore Marriot Waterfront in Baltimore, MD. The meeting will be held from Sunday through Wednesday in 2020 rather than the usual Wednesday through Saturday as had been done previously. The conference will be held October 11 through October 14, 2020. Members take note. Chapter dinners will be held on Monday, and the CAC meeting (my last as CAC representative) will be held on Sunday, October 11. The preliminary schedule is available at . AMWA has already begun organizing for the conference.

Several other items were also presented including:

  • Implementation of the new content strategy and content strategy dashboard;
  • Promotion of the new AMWA Member Resource Library and special webinar fee ($20 for those in 2020). For those interested in learning about various topics, AMWA usually includes advance notice;
  • AMWA 2019 Medical Communication Compensation Report (The report has been issued and a Salary Calculator is available on the AMWA website); and
  • Publishing and promotion of the AMWA Recommended Training Topics for Regulatory Writers (The report should be issued soon, and a webinar is also planned).

The session also included strategic discussions about chapter matters. One concern was that as of January 2020, AMWA had about 17% of members (746 of 4,301) who were unaffiliated. Part of this phenomenon arose from recent chapter restructuring (2 regional and the Canada chapters were dissolved). The CAC discussed possible reasons about why members might choose unaffiliated status and how to engage them. This phenomenon is partly geographic, eg, a member in southern Wisconsin may be closer to Chicago than the North Central group but far enough away that attending either local meetings is not practical. Geographic limitations have been discussed by members from other larger chapters. Officers from Pacific Southwest, which stretches from Southern California to Texas, discussed some of these problems at last year’s Chapter Leader Orientation conference.

Several other matters were briefly discussed including selecting platforms for individual websites, liability insurance for meetings (probably not a general consideration for local meetings but resources have been posted on AMWA Engage for February 27, 2020), and student and retired rates for membership and chapter events. The next CAC meeting will be held on March 19, 2020.