Alison Palkhivala / Writer-editor
After deciding that the politics of graduate school were not for me, I took on my first medical writing gig in 2004 at the now-defunct Chapter Three Marketing Research. This small market research agency specialized in healthcare, and my job was to interview physicians, prepare notes from these interviews, and write up reports based on the notes.
I was rapidly promoted to manager of qualitative analysis at Chapter Three, but I soon received an offer for contact work from WebMD in 1999 that was too good to refuse. I provided medical new stories for WebMD, complete with interviews from the authors and an independent expert, 5 days a week. We received our stories at 8 am and were expected to file by 4 pm, so yes, I’m familiar with deadlines.
My WebMD break kicked off my freelance career, and I’ve never looked back. I’ve provided medical news for such clients as Doctor’s Guide, MedPage Today, and Medscape, to name just a few. I also rapidly branched into medical education, providing educational materials of all types for patients, physicians, and pharmaceutical sales representatives.
I started to write more for lay audiences, with articles in such magazines as Heart Insight, Women of Influence, and Good Times.
As I built my career, I became an active member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), even organizing their annual conference for their Canadian chapter one year, as well as the Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC). I joined other professional associations, but these were the ones that stuck.
I became a mother in 2004, which influenced my professional interests, and I began to write about child development regularly for the Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Development (CEECD) at the University of Montreal as well as about teen health issues for SOS Children’s Safety Magazine.
Like the rest of the denizens of the 21st century, I’ve moved into the blogosphere, providing blog posts for the Chronic Diseases Fund. You can also find me on Twitter as @alisonpalk.Today, like many women, I wear many hats, both domestic and professional. As my children become more independent, I am increasingly focused on work. I remain passionate about sharing the complexities of science and medicine with the world at large, so I am developing a blog and have a book in the works.