Panel Discussion on Careers in Medical Communications

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In this panel discussion, four medical writers with over 20 years of combined experience in the field will share their career trajectories and advice for those transitioning into medical writing. Come and join us to learn about the field of medical communications and what opportunities and challenges medical writers embrace!


Christina Hughes, Senior Director, Medical Exchange International

Christina did her thesis research at Harvard University in cancer biology and her post-doctoral research at The Rockefeller University in epigenetics. She started in medical communications/medical education four years ago, when she was hired for medical content development in sales training at Flywheel Partners. Christina currently works as a Senior Medical Director for Medical Exchange International (MEI), a promotional medical education agency in the Medical Knowledge Group.

Qing Zhou, Scientific Communications Scientist, Cook Research Incorporated

Qing Zhou, PhD, ELS has more than 10 years’ experience in scientific writing and editing. Growing up in China, Qing learned English as a second language and was drawn to its clarity and universality in communicating scientific information. After obtaining a PhD degree in Molecular Pharmacology from Purdue University in Indiana, Qing decided to pursue scientific communication as a career and joined Cook Research Incorporated, a medical device company.  In her role as a Scientific Communications Scientist, she oversees planning and development of scientific publications arising from a program of clinical studies in the area of endovascular therapies. Her other projects include clinical study reports and clinical evaluation reports in a variety of therapeutic areas. Qing has been an AMWA member since 2006 and has volunteered in various positions including the chapter newsletter editor, chapter treasure, AMWA Annual Conference Student Scholarship Committee Chair, and AMWA Book Awards Committee Chair (public category). Qing is currently the President-Elect of the AMWA New York Chapter.

Lashon Pringle, Medical Director, Healthcare Consultancy Group

Lashon Pringle earned a BS in Biological Sciences from Louisiana State University and a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation research focused on the role of the NF-kappa B pathway and ubiquitin-specific protease 6 in bone and soft tissue tumor development and progression. Midway through her PhD program, it became clear to Lashon that she loved writing and talking about the potential long-term clinical benefits of her research far more than she enjoyed her time spent at the research bench. Having discovered the world of medical communications at a career fair, Lashon knew that this was the path for her, and she began her career in medical communications only a few months after graduating from Penn. Lashon has 5.5 years of experience in medical communications, with a focus on oncology. She spent the first 5 years of her career in publications. Lashon recently took on a more strategic role as a Medical Director at Health Science Communications, where she both contributes to and oversees the development of materials and initiatives that differentiate her clients’ products and their overall brand from the competition. Her clients include large pharmaceutical companies and small biotech firms. The approach to each client and each product is unique, making every day more exciting, more challenging, and more rewarding than the one before it!

Leighland Feinman, Scientific Affairs Associate and Medical Writer, AXON Communications
Leighland Feinman, PhD, is a Medical Writer and Scientific Affairs Associate at AXON Communications in Rye Brook, NY. Leighland obtained his PhD at Mount Sinai in the Microbiology department under the training of Dr. Megan Shaw, and his undergraduate degree at Caltech. Concurrent with his scientific training, Dr. Feinman published works of nonfiction and fiction under the pen name John Skylar. His work has appeared in The Huffington Post, Mashable, and many other venues, generating millions of reads and thousands of shares. In medical writing, Leighland has found opportunities to combine his love of science with his ability to communicate and is happy to offer any guidance that may be needed for those interested in his line of work. In his time with AXON, he has worked on oncology, immunology, allergy, asthma, opioid analgesics/pain management, health economics and opportunities research, and a variety of other areas.



Preshita Gadkari, PhD Candidate, Rutgers University

Preshita Gadkari is a 4th year PhD candidate at Rutgers University, investigating the active soil microbiome of the Arctic tundra during subzero temperatures. Her goal is to turn her her love of science and application analytical thinking to solve global problems, connect with experts, and communicate effectively. She currently serves on the executive board of NJ-American Society for Microbiology as secretary, also the first proto-Ph.D. to do so. While she is an environmental microbiologist, she is also involved with the health-sciences. Preshita worked as a freelance medical writer for a communications agency in NYC this summer. She also juggles teaching all ages; she teaches two microbiology laboratory courses at Rutgers to support her graduate career, conducts science experiments with middleschoolers on the Rutgers-ScienceBus laboratory, and leads outreach ranging from 4Hscience-camps to museum exhibits. She aspires to lead an institute/company that unites scientists, physicians, and businesses to communicate sciences or innovate education. Outside of the sciences, Preshita runs marathons and secretly plays the flute.


When: 6:30–8:00 pm on 12/8/2016 (Thu)

Where: Room 9206, The Graduate Center, CUNY (365 5th Ave, New York, NY 10016)


Program Planning Chairs: Yue Liu & Tristan Fehr

Organizer: NYC Science Communication

Support: The Office of Career Planning and Professional Development, GC, CUNY

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