What you'll learn

  • Design and craft impactful, effective and persuasive writing

  • Utilize detailed reasoning and evidence to defend your academic argument

  • Write in a cogent, coherent and cohesive form within the disciplines of science, medicine and health care

  • Communicate to diverse audiences with clarity and confidence

Course description

How well we formulate arguments, present data and convey messages has an enormous impact on our ability to achieve our professional goals. Our communication skills affect the way grant proposals are received and reviewed, how peers consider our work and ideas, and whether—and how—the public embraces our viewpoints and opinions. 

The Effective Writing for Health Care program is designed to help learners improve their writing skills, process, quality, reach, impact and the likelihood of publication or funding through a core curriculum and one of three specialized tracks: Writing for Medical and Scientific Journals, Writing Grant Proposals, or Writing for the Public. The program’s schedule and learning models are designed to accelerate and elevate communication skills with minimal time away from practice or research activities.  

This program features a blended learning model comprising live workshops, self-paced on-demand sessions, live webinars and writing exercises that work to elevate your writing skills. These exercises can be tailored to your specific writing goals. Each specialized track culminates in a capstone project, where each participant develops a submission-ready written work. 

Participants will be eligible for Associate Alumni status upon successful completion of the program. Early tuition and need-based tuition reductions may be available.

Course Outline

Foundational Skills

  • Essential and strategic grammar
  • Say more with fewer words
  • Structure writing elements to meet your goals: sentences, paragraphs and passages
  • Communicate with greater clarity and precision
  • Usage, style and syntax
  • Make your writing readily comprehensible
  • Sequence your ideas for greater reader impact
  • Transitions, topic sentences and other signposting devices

Quality and Impact

  • Strategies and best practices for scholarly writing and argumentation
  • Good storytelling in non-scholarly writing
  • Write persuasively
  • Package your work
  • Formulate hypotheses to support your specific evidence and analysis
  • Write about moral and ethical issues
  • Patient-focused writing
  • Develop and refine your personal writing style
  • Respond to reviewer and peer feedback
  • Compose compelling introductions, abstracts, summaries and conclusions
  • Ground your claims, hypotheses and ideas in evidence
  • Evoke emotional responses from readers
  • Assess and addressing weaknesses in your arguments, messages and writing
  • When and how to tap into your personal voice

Reach

  • Get published in internationally and nationally acclaimed journals, newspapers, magazines and reviews
  • Write with dexterity to connect with a broad array of audiences
  • Make your science accessible
  • Leverage social media to amplify your message
  • Engage with co-authors
  • Understand what your audience wants

Integrity

  • Search the biomedical literature
  • Understand and avoid plagiarism in its various forms
  • Reference management tools for scientific writing
  • Develop bibliographies

Productivity

  • Achieve higher yield and throughput
  • Manage your writing focus
  • Approach writing projects more efficiently: design, timelines and milestones
  • Cultivate more effective writing habits
  • Avoid common writing pitfalls
  • Write collaboratively
  • Time management strategies
  • Navigate writer’s block

Process

  • Optimize the ideation and planning of your writing project
  • Move from idea to structure map to a first draft
  • Elicit constructive feedback from peers
  • Incorporate feedback
  • Revise and refine your writing
  • Manage reviewer expectations
  • Maintain progress
  • Review and revise a final full draft

Promotion

  • Assess publication options
  • Strategies to avoid article rejection
  • Pitch your ideas
  • Prepare Press releases
  • Self-promotion and elevating your personal brand
  • Leverage social media

Instructors

Senior Associate Dean, Postgraduate Medical Education, Harvard Medical School; Renal Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute
Director of Innovation in Surgical Education, Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Instructor in Surgery, Harvard Medical School

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