Newsletter – June 2015

Upcoming Happy Hour
AMWA North Central Chapter Demographics
Bannick Webinar Summary


Happy Hour

Mark your calendar!  The next AMWA happy hour will be at Grumpy’s in Roseville on August 19th from 5 to 7 pm.  Overflow parking is available at the strip mall kitty corner from Grumpy’s after 5 pm.


AMWA North Central Chapter Demographics

By Kendra Hyland

June 2015 graphic

The 120 AMWA North Central Chapter members (as of May 2015) were categorized based on their work place. This process was more challenging than I anticipated, and I hope you will agree the results are interesting.

The largest group of members (30%) are freelance writers and/or editors.  The second highest category (16%) of members is employees of health care organizations, such as the Mayo Clinic or Park Nicollet. The third highest category (14%) is members employed by medical device companies.  Members with medical degrees, such as MD, PharmD, RN, etc, were placed in the “Medical Field” category when I didn’t have any other information regarding their workplace. The “University employee” category includes professors, writers employed by the University, and post-doctoral fellows. The “Miscellaneous” category covers individuals employed at a variety of companies who didn’t fit in anywhere else, such as gene therapy, pharmaceutical, and food and health product packaging companies.

The majority of the AMWA North Central Chapter resides in Minnesota (84%) with remaining members living in Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.



* Get involved at the chapter level! The AMWA North Central Chapter will need volunteers to serve as chapter officers in the fall, specifically president-elect and co-secretary. This is a wonderful opportunity to shape chapter activities while expanding your own network. These officers will serve three year terms: one year as president-elect, one year as president, and one year as past president, or one year in a shared co-secretary position, one year as secretary, and a third year sharing the position with a new co-secretary. In this way, each officer has ample time to learn the ropes and become comfortable in the role. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact chapter president Nissa Mollema at president (at) amwanorthcentral (dot) org.

* The Greater Chicago Area Chapter of AMWA will have its conference in Evanston on July 24 (registration deadline July 3rd). Please register by clicking here.


Summary of webinar presented by Karen Bannick, “True Regulatory Intelligence for Medical Devices.”

By Nissa Mollema

The AMWA North Central Chapter recently kicked off a new chapter-led webinar initiative by sponsoring the first webinar in the AMWA Chapter Webinar Consortium. The purpose of the consortium is to provide free, educational content to AMWA members. The consortium also allows presenters an opportunity to share information with a national audience in a more casual environment. AMWA headquarters provides a great webinar program, and the Chapter Webinar Consortium is just another way for members to connect and learn new information.

On May 29th North Central Chapter’s president-elect, Karen Bannick, presented a webinar entitled “True Regulatory Intelligence for Medical Devices.” Based on the number of RSVPs for the event, regulatory intelligence is an area that is of interest for many AMWA members. I was very curious about the topic because I knew nothing about this area going into the webinar. I learned that regulatory intelligence (RI) is researching a topic in detail in order to make strategic decisions. At first it seemed like RI is a rather rare area; however, it can impact many areas within a company and is more common than I originally appreciated. Bannick described RI as critical for all professionals. Using RI makes you a historian and a prognosticator. For example, let’s imagine that you are attending a professional meeting and hear about a new device that is in prototype phase. Using RI, you can predict how long it will take that device to come to the market. An engineer may want you to use RI to determine what types of tests are needed for a new product. RI research could even suggest that an expensive clinical trial is unnecessary. RI is complicated, but also basic—many of us are probably already using it to some extent!

Of course, Bannick notes that answers to challenging RI questions do not come easily—you will have to do some sleuthing to hunt down the needed information.  Learning what to search and how to search is critical. Information could be found on competitors’ websites, product labeling, FDA, trade associations, medical associations,, PubMed,, and many other sources. Bannick demonstrated some of the tools she uses for RI research. Filtering out unnecessary information is also important to find the critical details. Getting the information is the first step and then sharing the information is equally as important—this is where skilled medical communicators really excel.

Bannick did an amazing job during this first Chapter Webinar Consortium presentation, and I’m thrilled that she was willing to be the guinea pig for this first event! More educational webinars are planned through the consortium—be sure to stay connected to AMWA North Central so you don’t miss out on these free events for AMWA members.