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CDC and CSTE Collaborate, Train Future MMWR Authors

Posted By Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, MS, Editor-in-Chief, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Friday, October 27, 2017
Updated: Friday, October 20, 2017

This past spring, CDC and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) joined forces to co-host an intensive writing training series for the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). Led by MMWR Executive Editor Charlotte Kent, PhD, MPH and CSTE Senior Program Analyst Jessica Arrazola, DrPh, MPH, CHES, the workshop was designed to increase the number of quality submissions from state, territorial, local, and tribal (STLT) health agencies and to train junior authors, strengthening their capacity to write reports appropriate for publication in MMWR.

CSTE was a natural partner for this initiative, as CSTE outlined the need for scientific writing training specific to MMWR in a special report. It was this report that also prompted the development of a toolkit of scientific writing resources for public health practitioners.

Dr. Kent and our MMWR team conducted three webinars, which were open to the public. The webinars provided an overview of MMWR and focused on cross-cutting skills and strategies for writing for scientific publications. The recorded webinars were well-attended, attracting 200 participants per webinar session. The success of this effort confirmed that there’s broad interest in writing for MMWR as well as the need for scientific writing guidance among STLT staff.

In addition to the webinars, MMWR and CSTE identified 21 junior STLT authors, selected through a competitive application process, to attend a two day in-person training. These novice authors were paired with an experienced author for mentorship and assistance in the development of an MMWR submission. In addition to Dr. Kent and myself, workshop mentors included: Paul Etkind, DrPH, MPH; John S. Moran, MD, MPH; Paul Z. Siegel, MD, MPH; and Rich Vogt, MD. The in-person training allowed for peer-to-peer feedback about their draft manuscripts and covered important topics such as engaging the media, social media outreach, and legal and ethical implications of publishing public health data.

I had the privilege of serving as mentor to Maureen Leeds, MPH, an epidemiologist for the Minnesota Department of Health. Today, MMWR is pleased to publish the first of the novice STLT authors’ manuscripts titled, “Timeliness of Receipt of Early Childhood Vaccinations Among Children of Immigrants — Minnesota, 2016,” which was written by Maureen.

"It was an honor to be accepted into this first training group, and I'm grateful for the support provided by CSTE and my CDC mentor. It's exciting to be published for the first time, especially in MMWR," shared Maureen.

Congratulations, Maureen! We look forward to publishing the work of all of our MMWR and CSTE trainees.

Photo caption: Maureen Leeds, MPH, (second from the left) and other workshop participants discuss opportunities for publishing in MMWR.

Photo caption: Dr. Charlotte Kent, MMWR Executive Editor, leads discussion of a case study about publishing in MMWR.

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