A medical textbook. Patient education. A CME course. Grant requests. These are some of the major projects that fill our desks these days. Yet Deb and I are leaving our desks and closing the Editorial Rx door for a week. What could possibly be so important to take us away from our work? The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) 2016 Medical Writing and Communication Conference, this year in Denver, Colorado.

Deb and I are committed to professional development, and the AMWA Conference is an opportunity for us to enhance our skills, add to our knowledge base, and network with colleagues who may be able to help us better meet our client’s needs. This conference is the one we both look forward to year in and year out.

What will we learn this year? We are excited about sessions that focus on new technology, including editing tools that will enhance our efficiency, and about sessions on social media and techniques to reach wider audiences. We are also thrilled to have the opportunity to hear Kevin Pho, MD (KevinMD.com), talk about how social media can make a profound difference in health care, and to listen to Roxanne Khamsi, chief news editor of the international biomedical journal Nature Medicine, talk about the risks of using jargon. We will tweet from the AMWA conference, using #AMWA16, so be sure to check in!

In addition to learning about new tools and tips, we look forward to meeting colleagues from around the country, sharing advice and perhaps even commiserating about some of the pitfalls of our profession. But of course we will also relish together in the joy we get out of what we do. We always come home from the AMWA conference feeling refreshed and reinvigorated to do our best work.

I am leading a couple of sessions at this year’s conference, one on writing test items and one on targeting lay audiences. I love leading sessions, not just because I enjoy sharing my expertise but also because I always learn from the participants. I look forward to the interactivity of these sessions.

This year’s AMWA conference is even more special than most because, on Saturday, October 8, I will be handed the gavel as AMWA’s next president. This position is one I’ve dreamed of yet at one time, didn’t think attainable. I am so honored and humbled to have the privilege to lead the organization that has meant so much to both Deb and me over the past decades. An association that has opened so many doors for us.

So yes, we’ll leave behind for a while the medical textbook, the patient education, the CME course, and the grant requests. They’ll be here when we return. When I’m the 2016-2017 AMWA President.

Follow us on Twitter as we tweet from the 2016 AMWA Medical Writing and Communication Conference. @Editorial_Rx, #AMWA16.