Newsletter- July/ August 2020

Welcome to the May/June 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:





August Event

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Stephen Schondelmeyer, who is a professor of Pharmaceutical Economics in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota. 

Please pre-register by end of day on August 18th by clicking here and entering your name and email address in the spreadsheet.
Participation in the meeting will be limited to pre-registered names.

Please use the spreadsheet to also submit questions to Dr. Schondelmeyer.

Together with Dr. Michael Osterholm, Dr. Schondelmeyer leads the Resilient Drug Supply Chain Program at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP). The Resilient Drug Supply Project focuses on the supply chains and global disruptions for the most critical drugs for life-saving and life-sustaining treatment. Many critical drugs are made, formulated, or packaged in China, India, and other countries severely affected by the COVID pandemic. Information on supply chains is essential to healthcare systems, nursing homes, pharmacies, and public health agencies, especially as this critical drug supply chain is likely to be significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. If pharmaceutical companies, their suppliers, and contract manufacturers do not disclose supply chain information on critical drugs, including their current inventory and relative dependency on any China/India-based supply chain, it is assumed that some of the 156 critical drugs will be in short supply within the next 90 days.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic expected to last many more months and with more patients in need of life-saving drugs, we call upon the pharmaceutical companies and their partners to publicly come forward with current inventory levels and information on the status and relative resiliency of their critical drug supply chains,” said Michael T. Osterholm, Co-Principal Investigator of the project and University of Minnesota Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, and director of CIDRAP.

“This is life and death, and the public needs to know where their drugs come from and be assured they will always be available in a timely manner.” Stephen Schondelmeyer, Professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota, Century Mortar Club Endowed Chair in Pharmaceutical Management & Economics, and Director of the PRIME Institute.

Meeting Date: August 20, 2020

Meeting time: 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Topic:  Drug Pricing and Drug Supply Chain Risks with Q&A
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 926 5171 0696
Passcode: 820DPQ&A
+1651-372-8299 US (St. Paul)

Book Club hosted by Paul Mamula

Topic: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

When:  Monday, September 28th, 2020 at 11:00 am Central Time via Zoom

Details:  It traces the fraud perpetrated by Elizabeth Holmes with her diagnostic company, Theranos. See you there!

See below for how to join the Zoom meeting

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 831 0959 7513
Passcode: VC7XNm +1651-372-8299 US (St. Paul)


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:

  • 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


Introduction to our new chapter Presdent-Elect, Nathalie Reireson

Natalie began her career at University of Minnesota in the Institute for Health Informatics where she was first introduced to medical research grant writing. From there, she moved into grant and publication consulting, which ultimately led to being hired on as a research director for a software start-up specializing in medical regulatory documentation. Natalie strives to grow her network and stay active in the medical writing community through AMWA. She also enjoys volunteering her time to assist students and underrepresented groups find start-up and research funding through grant opportunities.

CAC Quarterly Report

By Paul W. Mamula, PhD

The AMWA Chapter Advisory Council met for its second quarterly teleconference of 2020 on May 21. After introductory comments and a roll call, Kim Korwek, CAC Chair, provided a review of current chapter activities, initiatives for the website, and planned resources.

Message from AMWA National President

Korwek began with a summary of AMWA’s National President Ann Winter Vann, PhD comments that were sent out by email later that afternoon. Highlights from the presentation and Ann Winter Vann’s email follow:

  • AMWA membership is remaining steady, and leadership hopes to glean additional information from its membership survey.
  • AWWA has made commitments to online learning and plans to develop additional resources. Online learning has been a welcome tool in coping with the pandemic. Members can see available resources on the National website ($20 Webinars represent one!).
  • AMWA is following the pandemic and its potential effect on the 2020 Medical Writing and Communication Conference scheduled for Baltimore in October. Currently, Maryland has restricted large meetings but no one is certain how that play out. Leadership will be making a decision about the conference soon.
  • AMWA urges members to stay healthy and avail themselves of AMWA Engage to maintain contact with friends and colleagues.

Members should have received the complete email, but it can also be read on the AMWA Website.

Preliminary Survey Findings and Chapter Activities

Susan Krug, AMWA Executive Director, discussed preliminary findings from the 900+ members who had completed the recent AMWA survey. The survey included questions about the effects of the pandemic on work and income, sentiments about the upcoming 2020 Conference, travel, and virtual workshops. Preliminary examination reflected that a majority of respondents were uneasy about travel for the meeting. Many members are also uneasy about an in-person meeting but looked favorably on virtual gatherings. Leadership has a few weeks before they decide the status of the 2020 Medical Writing and Communication Conference and how to go about running it.

Sharon Ruckdeschel, National AMWA Membership Director, reviewed findings from chapter quarterly reports. Reports were due just before widespread pandemic restrictions, so they likely only reflect some effects. She did note that chapters had increased their virtual and online activities in this period, among them educational webinars, video conferences, and virtual book club meetings. Ruckdeschel presented a list of previous activities that chapters may want to consult for ideas for their own activities. Technological topics, professional education, and subject matter presentations are prominent among these. Notable meeting or workshop topics included:

  • Regulatory writing with iJOBS (New York),
  • Plain Language (New York)
  • Career Transitions (Carolinas)
  • DIY Graphics for Medical Writers (New England Chapter)
  • Mobility for Desk Workers (Southeast Chapter)
  • IT Security for your Home Office (Mid-America)

Several chapters had events scheduled for spring and early summer, and these will likely be reflected in the next chapter activity report. Our chapter officers are reviewing the list for suitable topics. We have already conducted a virtual book club and a webinar, with more likely in the future. Suggestions for potential topics from our members are welcome.

Other Chapter Matters

We spent a few minutes discussing other issues. Several representatives thought that virtual meetings could provide a forum for engaging more current members than a typical in-person meeting. Additionally, virtual meetings might also entice unaffiliated members to join their local chapter. Members had previously noted that many AMWA members remain unaffiliated and potentially unaware of local workshops and services.

Other chapters were excited when I mentioned our recent virtual meeting, asked how we were able to schedule Dr. Osterholm, and whether the meeting was available online. (Kudos to us!)

Our virtual meeting on May 14, 2020 may be viewed online with the discussion about the COVID-19 Pandemic and Q&A by Dr. Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.

The next CAC meeting is scheduled for August 20, 2020.