Interviews with Outstanding Authors (2023)

Posted On 2023-02-07 11:43:25

In 2023, many APM authors make outstanding contributions to our journal. Their articles published with us have received very well feedback in the field and stimulate a lot of discussions and new insights among the peers.

Hereby, we would like to highlight some of our outstanding authors who have been making immense efforts in their research fields, with a brief interview of their unique perspective and insightful view as authors.

Outstanding Authors (2023)

Dong Hoon Lee, Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, South Korea

Federico Iori, Azienda USL-IRCCS di Reggio Emilia, Italy

Kimberly E. Kopecky, Johns Hopkins Hospital, USA

Up Huh, Pusan National University School of Medicine and Pusan National University Hospital, Republic of Korea

Mai Hosokawa, Iwate Prefectural University, Japan

Sandra M. Camacho, University of Mississippi Medical Center, USA

Ann Berger, National Institutes of Health, USA

Giulia Pasello, University of Padova, Italy

Lori Spoozak, University of Kansas, USA

Prateek Lohia, Wayne State University, USA

Kohichi Takada, Sapporo Medical University, Japan

Huda Abu-Saad Huijer, University of Balamand, Lebanon

Camilla Nilsberth, Linköping University Hospital, Sweden

Leigh Minuk, University of Toronto, Canada

M. Andrew Millis, University of Michigan, USA

Yuta Tanaka, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan

Inmaculada Navarro-Domenech, La Paz Hospital, Spain

Stergios Boussios, University of Kent, UK

Rosa Tesoro, University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland

Anahita Dabo-Trubelja, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, USA

Giovanni Cerullo, Centro Hospitalar Universitario do Algarve, Portugal

Amanda B. Cooper, Penn State Milton Hershey Medical Center, USA

Yann-Nicolas Batzler, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany

Hiroyuki Otani, St. Mary’s Hospital, Japan & Koji Amano, Osaka University Hospital, Japan

Henry C. Y. Wong, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong

Allan B. Peetz, Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, USA

Abram Brummett, Oakland University William Beaumont, USA

Mia Svantesson, University Health Care Research Center, Sweden

Nilton Carlos Machado, São Paulo State University, Brazil

Jennifer Corcoran, University of Rochester, USA

Hunter Groninger, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, USA

Andreas Charalambous, Cyprus University of Technology, Finland

Vinay Rao, Yale New Haven Hospital, USA

Muhammad Hamza Habib, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, USA

Caity Roleston, University of Oxford, UK

Reanne Booker, University of Victoria, Canada

Michael Mercier, Rhode Island Hospital, USA

Emily Zametkin, Baystate Medical Center, USA

Adam L. Holtzman, Mayo Clinic, USA

Mohana Karlekar, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, USA

Peter Zaki, University of Washington, USA

Danielle M. Noreika, VCU Health, USA

Adrian Wai Chan, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Hong Kong, China

Divya Gopalan Venkat, Wayne State University School of Medicine, USA

Outstanding Author

Dong Hoon Lee

Dr. Dong Hoon Lee, MD, PhD, currently serves as the Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Chonnam National University Medical School and Hwasun Hospital, Korea. He is also the Director of Medical Support at Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital. He is a member of the following societies: Korean Medical Association, Korean Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Korean Society of Head and Neck Oncology, Korean Society of Head and Neck Surgery, Korean Society of Rhinology, Korean Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Korean Society of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, and Korean Society of Endoscopic Neurosurgery. His research area and clinical focus are in sinonasal neoplasms, and salivary gland tumor.

The most important purpose of academic writing, in Dr. Lee’s view, is to get confirmation from many people around the world whether what one thinks or is doing is right. If it is published as a paper that one’s thoughts and procedures are correct, he/she can work harder and spread the word to others. If there are any corrections or if something goes wrong, he/she can correct it in the right way.

Seldom is academic writing without biases. Dr. Lee believes the best way to avoid bias is to be aware of it. For that, he thinks it is important to read many papers before writing. Bias can be avoided by looking at other people's thoughts on the same topic through papers.

Speaking of the importance for original research to apply for institutional review board (IRB) approval, Dr. Lee states that it is the researcher's natural obligation to do so. If research or experiments are conducted without receiving this, no matter how good a thesis is, it cannot be recognized worldwide.

If everyone takes one small step at a time, it will be a big step toward the advancement of healthcare. Let's do it together!” says Dr. Lee.

(By Brad Li)

Federico Iori

Dr. Federico Iori, MD, is a resident in radiation oncology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy. He works at the Radiation Oncology Unit of the Az. USL-IRCCS of Reggio Emilia. He is working on Lattice Radiation Therapy and its use in clinical practice; additionally, he is interested in the new interventions and treatments in the radiation oncology field. His focus is to conduct researches that can have a significant impact on daily clinical practice, to provide the best achievable level of treatments to patients and to offer new strategies when current ones may be insufficient, in both the curative and the palliative settings.

In Dr. Iori’s view, academic writing is a powerful instrument to share knowledge, discoveries, opinions, and perspectives across the scientific community. It means that in each institution, regardless of its dimension, it is possible to provide the most updated therapies to every patient. Furthermore, academic writing allows one to improve knowledge and expertise by looking at the papers written by the peers. Finally, the peer-review system is supposed to protect the quality and the level of manuscripts published, keeping high the literature’s reliability.

Dr. Iori believes that an author should mainly possess a lot of curiosity, honesty as well as the will to go beyond what is known, with no fear of possible failure. Notwithstanding this, the knowledge of scientific method cannot be overlooked. An author should always follow an adequate and rigorous scientific method starting with a right scientific question, a proper database and a clear endpoint before undertaking a study or writing a paper.

Speaking of the prevalence of data sharing, Dr. Iori reckons that it is crucial for authors to share their results. No matter whether these results are positive or negative, authors should try to synthesize them as well as ease their understanding for readers. Academic writing on its own cannot allow the wide spread of ideas and discoveries, and thus the authors’ sharing and collaboration is the key to scientific progress.

The more you try and the more you write the better you become. Only by reading and writing scientific literature would one be possible to succeed in writing good-quality manuscripts. The first question you should ask yourself is: ‘Which information and what structure would I see in the manuscripts I read?’ and then write down accordingly. As commonly said ‘Practice makes perfect’, only by forming your errors can you learn and improve your ability as researcher,” says Dr. Iori.

(By Brad Li, Teresa Lin)

Kimberly E. Kopecky

Dr. Kimberly E. Kopecky, MD, MSCI, is currently a second-year fellow in the Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship training program at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, USA, where she is the designated Hepatobiliary fellow. She graduated from Harvard Medical School in 2014 and completed her General Surgery training at Stanford Hospitals and Clinics in 2021. In addition, she spent two years in Madison, Wisconsin where she completed a Hospice and Palliative Medicine fellowship, earned a master’s degree in Clinical Investigation, worked as a part-time Hospice Medical Director, and participated in the Clinical Medical Ethics Fellowship program at the MacLean Center at the University of Chicago. Dr. Kopecky is interested in the intersection of surgery and palliative care. For her thesis research, she used qualitative methods to characterize the experience of surgical patients in pain and she is currently helping with a survey study of providers who take care of patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. Connect with Dr. Kopecky on Twitter.

Academic writing is critical, in Dr. Kopecky’s view, to keep physicians and researchers up to date. She believes the most important component of academic writing is a clear and concise description of findings.

Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis. There are several frameworks that Dr. Kopecky considers helpful for evidence synthesis: PRISMA, CONSORT, STROBE, SRQR, CARE, and SQUIRE. The EQUATOR Network has also published these guidelines in several languages with a goal of improving the value of published research. She adds, “Knowing the type of data you are hoping to characterize and what you are hoping to say about the topic at hand can help guide you towards which type of evidence synthesis might be best to answer a given clinical question.”

History has taught us what happens when ethical oversight is not incorporated into the mandatory requirements for biomedical research involving human subjects. In view of this, Dr. Kopecky believes that institutional review board (IRB) review and approval is critical to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects. It also ensures that researchers have developed a thorough plan regarding recruitment, assignment of interventions, clinical safety data management and standards for expedited reporting.

The measure of a good writer lies in how much you read, not in how much you write. Recognizing and identifying where knowledge gaps exist in the literature is more important than writing just to write,” says Dr. Kopecky.

(By Brad Li, Teresa Lin)

Up Huh

Dr. Up Huh is currently working as a vascular surgeon at Pusan National University School of Medicine and Pusan National University Hospital in Busan, Korea. He mainly treats abdominal aortic aneurysms, carotid artery stenosis, peripheral vascular disease, and chemoport procedures for cancer patients. He is currently conducting national research assignments on aortic dissection and flow-mediated dilation, and hospital assignments on varicose veins and wearable devices.

Knowledge sharing through academic writing can have a significant impact on scientific development. Dr. Huh believes that academic writing is meaningful as a statement of reflection or appraisal for the treatment he performed. He can compare his treatment with that of others and check whether there is anything wrong, and determine the cause. If his work is better than others, he can analyze how it differs and share his ideas with other researchers. Through this knowledge sharing, science will continue to advance.

A quality that an author should possess, according to Dr. Huh, is to find meaning in even the smallest things. A problem that one may consider trivial and meaningless can be a major problem for those who are just starting out or have little experience. He adds, “I often have such experiences, but I believe that the opportunity to do the research you want to do will come if you solve small problems one by one rather than giving up.”

When preparing for academic writing, I try to read many studies, and excellent studies are a great motivator in preparing for new research. Writing enables me to organize the knowledge in my head, which may not be fully cohesive. Additionally, writing is an excellent way to share the useful knowledge I have learned with others, and vice versa. Just as I have learned a lot from other researchers’ writing, I hope my own can also help others,” says Dr. Huh.

(By Brad Li, Teresa Lin)

Mai Hosokawa

Mai Hosokawa, RN, MHSc, is a certified nurse specialist in cancer nursing. She is an associate professor of Adult Nursing, School of Nursing, Iwate Prefectural University, Japan, and also a PhD student at Tohoku University. Her specialties are oncology nursing and palliative care. She has 14 years of clinical experience and qualified as a certified nurse specialist in cancer nursing in 2009. She then became a university teacher in 2015, and has been a teacher at Iwate Prefectural University since 2018. She educates undergraduate students in adult nursing and teaches oncology nursing to students in the certified nurse specialist in cancer nursing course in the Master's program. While teaching at the university, she still works as an outpatient at the hospital once or twice a month. Having done a lot of nursing care for cancer patients, Prof. Hosokawa is involved in research on symptom palliation in cancer patients. In particular, she is working on palliation of cancer-related fatigue and chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Find out more about Prof. Hosokawa here and here.

An essential element of a good academic paper in medicine, according to Prof. Hosokawa, is that the content should be of benefit to patients. She is conducting an intervention study to alleviate the symptoms of cancer patients. It is important to report evidence-based results for the benefit of the patients who cooperate with her. This requires the development of a feasible research plan. She believes that it is necessary to use methods such as randomized controlled trials in order to report evidence-based results. The results of the research should be promptly published as an article. It is also important to select journals that are appropriate to the respective fields of specialization.

Science advances rapidly day by day. To ensure her writing is up-to-date, Prof. Hosokawa follows social networking sites of journals related to cancer nursing and palliative care to get new information. She pays particular attention to and keeps track of systematic reviews in her area of expertise, and she takes inspiration from the results to develop new interventions.

Speaking of the need for original research to apply for institutional review board (IRB) approval, Prof. Hosokawa stresses that it is of utmost importance to do so. Medical research often involves human subjects. Ethical considerations regarding the conduct of research are checked by a third party or an expert at an ethical review committee. As a result, more consideration can be given to the burden on the patients who will be research participants. Conducting research without IRB approval may not be in accordance with ethical considerations. It will not be possible to carry out the research with due consideration and protection of the human rights of the participants.

It is not easy to work on research while doing university teaching. I try to decide during the week to work on my research by setting aside 'research time at 00:00 on XX day of the week'. However, it is often not possible. Therefore, I concentrate on writing research papers on Saturdays and other days off,” says Prof. Hosokawa.

(By Brad Li, Teresa Lin)

Sandra M. Camacho

Dr. Camacho is practicing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, USA, where she serves as the Chief of Endoscopy. She was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, where she attended medical school at Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra. She completed her Pediatric Residency training at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in New York and fellowship training in Pediatric Gastroenterology at Baylor College of Medicine at Children’s of San Antonio. Dr. Camacho enjoys clinical research. Her main focus during fellowship was chronic pancreatitis in pediatric patients. She is now conducting studies in a variety of areas related to pediatric gastroenterology including liver disease, the gut microbiome, endoscopic procedures, and inflammatory bowel disease. Connect with Dr. Camacho on LinkedIn.

In Dr. Camacho’s view, an academic paper needs to include innovative information, presented with critical analysis to promote thoughtful thinking to further the education of the reader and ultimately improve patient care. For writing to be critical, she believes one has to report the information with assertiveness, concrete analysis, and evidence-based evaluation of the ideas.

The institutional review board (IRB) helps to protect human subjects who are involved in a study. Omitting this process, in Dr. Camacho’s opinion, could result in misinformation, a personal benefit for the investigator, or harm to human subjects. Omitting IRB approval invalidates the researcher’s work in the scientific community, erodes public confidence and delays advances in patient care.

The motivation for writing an academic paper is inspired by me wanting to share my research with other practitioners and to ultimately improve patient care and quality of life. While I am preparing a paper, I learn and also expand my knowledge base in the field of Pediatric Gastroenterology,” says Dr. Camacho.

(By Brad Li, Teresa Lin)

Ann Berger

Dr. Ann Berger, MD, MSN, is the Chief of Pain and Palliative Care and the Senior Clinician Researcher (Full Professor) at National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, USA. She completed her undergraduate degree with a B.S. in nursing from New York University, which was then followed by receiving an MSN in Oncology Nursing from University of Pennsylvania, USA. After working as an Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist for several years, she completed her medical training at Medical College of Ohio in Toledo, Ohio, USA; After the internship and residency at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and a fellowship in medical oncology and pain/palliative care at Yale University in Connecticut, she has since then accumulated over 30 years of experience in pain and palliative care. Currently, she is the Chief of Pain and Palliative Care at National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, where she is responsible for patient care, education, administration, and conducting research. She is a Co-chair of a wellness initiative at National Institutes of Health Clinical Center serving the health care professionals and support staff. She is also the intramural advisor for several scientific interest groups on the aspects of the resilience, consciousness, and religion and spirituality. She has lectured nationally and internationally. She has also published extensively (articles, chapters and books) in the field of pain and palliative care and wellness for health care providers. Her research involves developing ways to measure psychosocial spiritual healing. Her other area of research is on the use of integrative modalities for wellness of health care professionals. Learn more about Dr. Berger here.

Academic writing can be difficult, especially for beginners. Dr. Berger points out some common difficulties including difficulties in getting started, difficulties in getting dedicated blocks of time from distractions to write, having a weak thesis/hypotheses, not having an exhaustive search, difficulties in organizing ideas in each section and making the paper cohesive, difficulties in being brief, clear and concise, and also difficulties in summarizing and integrating the data. She recommends starting with an outline from the beginning. She adds, “Begin with an exhaustive literature search and use the search in the paper can be helpful. Be very clear from the beginning of the hypotheses/thesis.”

Finally, she shares that she appreciates the transparency of Annals of Palliative Medicine (APM) regarding its aim, scope, and the peer review process. APM’s reputation, its editorial board and the journal metrics are all the aspects that make her publish with us.

(by Masaki Lo, Teresa Lin)

Giulia Pasello

Giulia Pasello, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Oncology at the Department of Surgery, Oncology and Gastroenterology, University of Padova, Italy, and a medical oncologist at the Istituto Oncologico Veneto IRCCS, Italy. She is the reference medical oncologist for thoracic cancer at the Istituto Oncologico Veneto, a research and care institute in Italy. To date, she has been the Principal Investigator of more than 30 clinical trials, with particular reference to thoracic cancers. Since 2010, she has coordinated several translational projects on malignant pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer, which are the main topic of her clinical and translational research activity, with particular reference to new treatment targets discovery, innovative drugs development, and assessment of inflammatory tissue and circulating predictive and prognostic biomarkers. She has extensively published in peer-review journals (113 papers) and some book chapters and has delivered several talks at Italian and International conferences. Connect with Dr. Pasello on LinkedIn.

When being asked about the most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing, Dr. Pasello points out that the main issue is not in the writing itself, but in delivering high-quality papers. An academic career is based on publishing a certain amount of work, in high impact factor and well-cited journals. She thinks the difficult step especially for young researchers is to raise the bar of the type of papers and the type of research data reported. She further elaborates that the published research should be an original work reporting high-quality data, within a consolidated research field of the writer and hopefully in strict collaboration with other researchers within a national or international network. She adds, “The main challenge is to collect mature and complete data and to report reliable results without the ‘publishing pressure’ that the academic laws often impose. Another challenge is in coordinating several collaborators within the research group, giving them the right place and opportunities to share clear publishing policies.”

Speaking of the qualities an author should possess, Dr. Pasello views curiosity, intellectual honesty and enthusiasm as top priorities. Although academic writing takes a lot of time and effort, she, as a clinician, sees patients as the motivation behind her research work. The awareness that every small result may change the knowledge of the cancer disease and finally the patients’ outcomes makes a real difference in everyday work.

Finally, she points out that reporting guidelines are important during the preparation of manuscripts, especially for some kinds of works (such as reviews or meta-analyses), as these make the quality of the reported results stronger and more reliable.

(by Masaki Lo, Teresa Lin)

Lori Spoozak

Lori Spoozak, MD, MHS, FACOG, FACS, is a gynecologic oncologist and palliative medicine physician. She is currently an Associate Professor in Gynecologic Oncology and Palliative Medicine and Program Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA. She completed a second fellowship in Hospice and Palliative Medicine because of the severe distress she witnessed in women undergoing treatment for gynecologic cancer. It became her goal to provide high-quality clinical care for women with gynecologic cancers throughout the trajectory of their illness, not just to treat the disease but to promote resilience in all domains of care. You may find out more about Dr. Spoozak’s work through her faculty page.

Dr. Spoozak is most interested in reading papers that examine the quality of clinical practice and provide evidence to support practice change. While descriptive research outlines problems, she is most intrigued by research that works to change practice. After the data are presented, she expects the authors to synthesize the data in terms of what has come before and suggest areas to explore in the future. Additionally, she is most interested in the interplay between research and advocacy work in medicine for culture change that is grounded in evidence.

Dr. Spoozak thinks the utilization of checklists created by experts in particular areas of research methods is critical. An example of one such checklist is STROBE for observational studies. Additionally, framing the research question by first examining publications from high-quality journals and then analyzing the research results in the context of the wider body of literature that already exists on the topic of study is important. When building the background and assessing how the work fits into a larger research narrative, it is important to find citations from quality sources, like journals that are transparent about their methodologies for manuscript review and publication and have an excellent reputation in the field of study.

Moreover, Dr. Spoozak believes that increasing access to publications and sharing data are critical to the improvement and evolvement of clinical research and practice. However, discerning the quality of the abundance of data available via the internet can be difficult for many consumers. Understanding how to assess ethical research and publishing standards via guidelines is more critical than ever.

Dr. Spoozak was invited to submit work to the Annals of Palliative Medicine by a respected colleague. Their work was rigorously evaluated by reviewers and went through several rounds of revisions and formal editing. She says, “I was pleasantly surprised by the strict adherence of this journal to ethical publication guidelines, and I feel reassured by this experience and could assume that other manuscripts handled by this publication would be held to similar standards. This increases my trust in the journal and the quality of the data being presented.”

(By Teresa Lin, Brad Li)

Prateek Lohia

Dr. Prateek Lohia, MD, MHA, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Wayne State University, USA. His primary role involves teaching and supervising medical students and internal medicine residents, along with research. His major research interests besides medical education are infectious diseases including COVID-19 and Hepatitis C. Since the dawn of the global pandemic, Dr. Lohia has been particularly interested in exploring clinical outcomes in hospitalized COVID-19 patients and the challenges in their long-term care. Visit here for more info about Dr. Lohia.

There are many challenges in academic writing. To Dr. Lohia, a few of those challenges are time commitment, funding, finding a good research team that is as motivated as you are, and most importantly finding a good mentor who can help you navigate these tough waters and stay productive.

Academic writing also requires authors to stay up-to-date with scientific advances, and that requires both passion and daily commitment. In Dr. Lohia’s view, one must allocate time in their schedule perhaps at least weekly to read the new papers published in their expertise. Regular discussions with peers are also helpful. In addition, attending conferences also keeps one abreast with the latest developments in the field.

Data sharing is prevalent in scientific writing in recent years. Dr. Lohia thinks it is very important that the authors share their research data as it lays the foundation for scientific projects that can be replicated. The sharing of data ensures transparency and better understanding, along with providing an opportunity that study results/data can be used for further research. It can also assist other researchers in performing high-quality meta-analyses.

Time allocation is always challenging and requires a constant balance of work and family life. However, to allocate time to writing, I believe in having a schedule and sticking to it. In my opinion, having a certain amount of time set apart daily for reading and writing is helpful to keep things rolling and to keep yourself motivated,” says Dr. Lohia.

(Brad Li is the main author; Yi Tang, an intern of AME, helped proofread this interview)

Kohichi Takada

Kohichi Takada, MD, PhD, is the Associate Professor at the Department of Medical Oncology, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Japan. His clinical specialty includes tumor-agnostic therapy (including rare cancers) and precision oncology. Recently, he is conducting research projects related to reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cancer, and development of novel adoptive cell immunotherapies (ACT) as a principal investigator. As an oncologist, Dr. Takada has provided cancer therapy, including immunotherapy, to patients with cancer in Sapporo Medical University Hospital for more than 10 years.

Dr. Takada reckons that academic papers regarding oncology should contain valuable information on patients with cancer based on solid data. Additionally, researchers can express their enthusiasm based on scientific data in academic papers, thus being able to inspire readers. In his opinion, authors should aim to advance clinical outcomes. Definitely, randomized prospective studies are most useful for patients, but also relatively small cohort investigations and case reports are necessary for patient care. Sharing a wide variety of information will benefit the treatment of patients in the real world.

On the other hand, Dr. Takada highlights the importance for research to apply for institutional review board (IRB) approval. To him, medical science results, including the treatment of patients, should be validated by a variety of procedures and methods leading to improvement of technical skills and ensuring maintenance of ethical standards. If this process is omitted, it could be harmful for patients.

I choose to publish in APM as I find many valuable reports in APM that have inspired me,” says Dr. Takada.

(Brad Li is the main author; Yi Tang, an intern of AME, helped proofread this interview)

Huda Abu-Saad Huijer

Dr. Huda Abu-Saad Huijer received her BSN from American University of Beirut (AUB) and her Masters and PhD from the University of Florida, USA. She is a tenured full professor, Founding Dean of the Hariri School of Nursing, and currently Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at UOB. Her research endeavors have focused on pain management and palliative care in children and adults. She has published more than 300 articles in national & international refereed journals and two books, and was listed in 2020 among the world’s top 2 percent of scholars in her field. She serves in the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Pain Control and Palliative Care. She is currently the Vice-President of the National Committee on Pain Relief and Palliative Care in Lebanon. In recognition of her work, Dr. Abu-Saad Huijer was elected International Fellow to the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) and is a fellow and founding member of the European Academy of Nursing Science (FEANS). She was also inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, awarded the International Association for the Study of Pain Honorary membership, received the Princess Mona Regional Award for her significant contribution to the nursing profession, and recently received the National Center for Scientific Research career award for her lifetime research achievements and the AAAH (Asia-Pacific Action Alliance on Human Resources for Health) Recognition Award 2020 on her work in developing the healthcare workforce. Connect with Dr. Abu-Saad Huijer on LinkedIn.

Speaking of the role of academic writing in science, Dr. Abu-Saad Huijer thinks it is crucial to all scientific endeavors and key to the academic development of scientists in all fields. From her perspective, authors need to take into consideration the rigor of studies they cite and the scientific reputation of the respective authors during preparation of a paper.

Dr. Abu-Saad Huijer points out that academic writing provides a medium allowing researchers to report about significant results of their studies. It is a meaningful and essential medium, which can be used to communicate and inform other researchers about important and relevant studies. It also facilitates the dissemination of ideas of relevance for the development of follow-up studies in the same field and as such building on and developing new knowledge.

On the use of the reporting guidelines (e.g. STROBE, CONSORT, and CARE), Dr. Abu-Saad Huijer believes it is crucial for all academic writers to follow these guidelines when preparing their manuscripts. “This is key to the success of the publishing process,” she says.

(by Anita Zhang, Brad Li)

Camilla Nilsberth

Dr. Camilla Nilsberth, MD, PhD, docent in neurobiology, specialist in geriatric medicine, serves at the Department of Acute Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Linköping University hospital, and Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden. She is conducting research on neurodegenerative diseases, neuroinflammatory mechanisms, and characterization of the Arctic Alzheimer mutation. She feels privileged to be able to introduce lecanemab as a clinician and will pursue her research in the field of neurodegenerative diseases.

From Dr. Nilsberth’s point of view, academic writing is the most important part of sharing information among researchers. It is also an opportunity for her as a researcher to update herself since the writing requires knowledge about current evolvements of the topic. For her, academic writing can be hard, especially since English is not her first language. “However, I always feel that I learn a lot writing manuscripts and it gives me an opportunity to focus and go into depth of my project,” says Dr. Nilsberth.

As a clinically active doctor, Dr. Nilsberth thinks it is hard to stay up-to-date with science advances rapidly. Even though it is important to continuously follow new developments, it can be hard to find the time to do so. For her, the combination of following the literature and attending relevant conferences is the best way to keep track of her research field.

Dr. Nilsberth shares that their publication in Annals of Palliative Medicine (APM) is a collaboration between different specialties which has been fruitful. The palliative expertise and her experience in neuroinflammtion were a perfect combination to investigate the relationship between symptoms and inflammatory cytokines. She believes that this kind of collaboration is valuable where different specialties can contribute with different angles to the project.

Moreover, Dr. Nilsberth stresses that data sharing offers new benefits to researchers and may open opportunities for new collaborations. “I believe an open access to data also prevents fake research and may improve the quality of scientific writing,” says Dr. Nilsberth. However, she speaks of an ethical problem from a clinical point of view: In Sweden, authors are granted very specific use of clinical data by the ethical committee, aiming to protect the rights of the research persons. They cannot freely share data but have to make careful considerations and in special cases even make new ethical applications.

(by Anita Zhang, Brad Li)

Leigh Minuk

Dr. Leigh Minuk is a clinical-research fellow at the University Health Network and the University of Toronto, Canada. She is concurrently completing a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Epidemiology at McMaster University as part of her research training. Dr. Minuk completed her Internal Medicine and Respirology training at the University of Toronto. Her research area is Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), and she is currently completing projects focusing on the characteristics of patients with unclassifiable ILD. Connect with Dr. Minuk on Twitter.

One of the most important elements of a good academic paper, according to Dr. Minuk, is a relevant, timely and thoughtful research question. It is important that the research question chosen is original and builds on, but does not replicate, previous work. From there, a fundamental understanding of the analysis methods that are appropriate for answering the question at hand is very important. For those who are clinicians, this however may require extra training or collaboration with statistics experts. Finally, the paper should be engaging to the reader, with a clear flow from start to finish.

Speaking of the key qualities of an author, Dr. Minuk points out the elements include patience, a keen attention to detail and excellent leadership qualities. The patience is key, since there are always so many iterations a paper takes until it reaches the final manuscript draft. The process can be frustrating, which is one of the reasons that so many research projects are not completed. Not only are they able to identify small errors and inconsistencies, but they also expertly anticipate reviewer comments before they occur. On the other hand, leadership is always important when planning and writing up academic research. An author must communicate with collaborators with unique individual expertise, to ensure that a project is completed in a timely fashion. They encourage and motivate the research team to actively participate in the creation of the final manuscript, and they ensure that it flows cohesively.

In view of the prevalence of data sharing in recent years, Dr. Minuk thinks it is an important procedure for purposes of transparency and for new questions to be posed using existing data sets. To her, while data sharing is important, so is the consent process which must account for it. Patients should be made aware that their data may be shared with identifiers removed. Instead of publicly releasing data online or in a supplement, she believes it is reasonable for authors to expect a submitted request for the release of data where applicable.

The writing and dissemination of results is one of the final steps in the research process. One of the key motivating factors resides in the importance of the work to both the patients who participate in the research, as well as any patient for whom that research might apply. There is an ethical obligation to see a project through to completion, as our research participants kindly share their time, information, or biological samples. The importance of writing up an impactful study is also necessary for our clinical colleagues, who can use this information to better care for our community,” says Dr. Minuk.

(by Brad Li, Anita Zhang)

M. Andrew Millis

Dr. M. Andrew Millis is currently a sixth-year resident in general surgery at the University of Michigan, USA. He is applying to abdominal transplant fellowship during the 2024 cycle. He graduated from the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago in 2018 and earned a master’s degree in public health from Emory in 2013. During his two years of lab time, he completed the University of Chicago’s Clinical Medical Ethics Fellowship program at the MacLean Center. Dr. Millis is interested in transplant ethics and assessing the ethical sequelae of surgical policy; specifically, assessing how the interests of many compare to the interests of an individual.

No one is born a good writer. A good writer, in Dr. Millis’ view, evolves through reading, writing and REWRITING. Refining a piece so it reads well and hits at the right spots requires ongoing modification of syntax and sentence placement. He adds, “This is tedious. I have found success as a writer by embracing this process and diligently ensuring that each sentence connects to the prior sentence.”

Writing is the process of mapping thoughts onto paper. Dr. Millis struggles to start this process. It can take him a day or two to settle his mind and enter a state of concentration where he can effectively begin this process of transferring thoughts to text. The fewer distractions in life and work, the faster he can reach this state where he can quickly wrestle with ideas and find clarity of thought.

As an author, Dr. Millis emphasizes that it is, rightfully, engrained in every researcher that Conflicts of Interest (COI), such as familial influences or financial research support, need to be disclosed. Such entities can unduly influence research. However, understanding how that force influences the outcomes of a study with positive findings is inherently tricky. Firstly, it is the task of the author to mitigate these influences, then of the editorial board and research community to further inquire as to whether these influences were appropriately addressed. He continues, “The bigger question is where COI disclosure stops? Do I need to declare how the conclusions of a study may beneficially impact the institution that I work at? Do I need to declare the factors (race, background, education, etc.) that influence my conclusions on a topic? Perhaps.”

I like writing about topics where balancing individual values is required to determine what the ‘right’ answer or path is. Often there is no ‘right’ choice, only the best choice. Ethical problems are a great source for these topics. Such value-based decision-making expands my ability to understand where others come from. This ability to better consider human values and perspectives is something I can carry over to my clinical interactions, which is very important for me,” says Dr. Millis.

(by Brad Li, Anita Zhang)

Yuta Tanaka

Yuta Tanaka, R.N., is a PhD student in the Department of Palliative Care Nursing, Health Sciences, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan. He is a nurse with 9 years of clinical experience in ICU and other settings. He has been conducting research at Tohoku University Graduate School since 2019. His research interest is in Palliative Care in ICUs. He would like to realize the improvement of holistic care for ICU patients who experience a lot of distress. Learn more about Yuta here.

As a research beginner, Yuta often faces various difficulties in academic writing. For example, he must set aside time to write, state his research hypothesis clearly, and write as briefly as possible. He spends a lot of time reading high-quality papers, trying to learn how to express himself in a scientific manner that is concise and easy for readers to understand. He also tries to improve his skills in creating figures and tables that would attract readers. In addition, he opens the document file at least once per day and write a little bit at a time. This, he believes, is the key to staying motivated.

One of the most important essences in academic writing, according to Yuta, is honesty. To him, those who work in academia must remember to have integrity with respect to prior research, integrity with respect to research data, and integrity with respect to the patients who receive care and the medical staff who work in the clinical setting. He explains, “It is important to keep in mind that the data obtained from research is based on the cooperation of many people, including patients and their families, and to promptly publish them in a paper. This mindset was instilled to me by a supervisor whom I respect and admire.”

In addition, Yuta would like to raise our concern towards the importance of adherence to reporting guidelines (e.g. STROBE, TREND) during preparation of a manuscript. He believes that these guidelines are necessary to ensure the objectivity and quality of scientific papers, which will in turn aid in systematic analysis when reporting on similar issues.

Academic writing takes a lot of time and effort, but I enjoy the process of discussing research topics with excellent colleagues and co-authors and am motivated by the belief that the results will benefit patients,” says Yuta.

(by Brad Li, Anita Zhang)

Inmaculada Navarro-Domenech

Dr. Inmaculada Navarro-Domenech is a radiation oncologist at La Paz Hospital in Madrid, Spain. Her clinical subspecialties are genitourinary cancers, palliative radiotherapy and Magnetic Resonance (MR)-guided Adaptive Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT). She leads the first MR-Linac System in Spain. Between 2020 and 2022, she completed a Fellowship in the Radiation Medicine Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada. For two years, she was part of the Genitourinary group, and she joined the Oligo-metastases and Brain Mets fellowship program. As part of her training, she focused on SBRT treatments, and collaborated with the Palliative Radiation Oncology Program. In 2022, she received the Abbvie CARO Uro-Oncologic Radiation Awards (ACURA). She completed a University Expert in Biomedical Research in the healthcare context. She is completing a PhD degree at University of Malaga. Her research interests and ongoing projects are focused on oligo-progression and oligo-metastases, palliative radiotherapy and prostate cancer. Connect with Dr. Navarro-Domenech on LinkedIn. A list of her publications can be found here.

In Dr. Navarro-Domenech’s opinion, academic writing is crucial in medicine; especially in oncology, where research is evolving rapidly. To her, it is essential to spread new scientific knowledge and implement those new advances in daily practice to improve patient care. Academic writing is a way to share knowledge globally between different countries and healthcare systems. Especially for young researchers, academic writing promotes critical thinking and analysis, and contributes to personal and professional growth. It is a valuable skill that allows physicians to evaluate current and new evidence. It is also the most reliable way to publish research, encouraging a deeper understanding of different topics. In addition, nowadays it is often a requirement for academic and research careers.

There are ways to avoid biases in one’s writing, according to Dr. Navarro-Domenech. Firstly, it is very important to be trained in academic writing. Investigators and physicians need to know how to navigate literature databases. A good mentor, able to lead one during the process of writing, is also essential. Secondly, it is important to gather information from reputable and trusted sources. To write in an objective and unbiased way, including different perspectives, one has to be aware of the limitations of his/her writing. Thirdly, one must take the time to revise and edit his/her writing thoroughly, to identify and correct any inadvertent biases, including language and grammatical mistakes; as well as bibliographic citations. Finally, it is a good idea to ask someone else to review the work to provide feedback and identify any potential biases or areas that need improvement before submitting it for publication.

As an author, Dr. Navarro-Domenech stresses that it is essential for researchers to follow reporting guidelines like STROBE and CONSORT during the process of writing. These guidelines play a significant role in enhancing the quality and transparency of scientific studies while reducing biases and ensuring the identification of high-quality research. By following these guidelines, researchers demonstrate their dedication to rigorous and transparent research practices, ultimately benefiting both authors and the broader scientific community.

Clinical and investigational research plays a pivotal role in modern healthcare practices. Valuable contributions in medicine are shared through academic papers, articles, or conferences, greatly influencing the research community by imparting fresh insights and updated knowledge in different fields. Such breakthroughs not only inspire others to pursue similar paths but also foster the development of improved methods to enhance patient care. Moreover, these contributions serve as a bridge, fostering collaboration between different communities and driving progress in unison,” says Dr. Navarro-Domenech.

(by Brad Li, Anita Zhang)

Stergios Boussios

Dr. Stergios Boussios holds a PhD from the University of Ioannina, Greece. In 2014, he was awarded a fellowship by the European School of Oncology at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. In 2017, he was selected by the ESMO based on the strength of his CV to attend the ESMO Leaders Generation Programme. Since 2018, Dr Boussios has served as a consultant at the Medway Foundation Trust in Kent, UK. Within this role, he has taken the helm of the Department of Research and Innovation and assumed the position of Associate Royal College Tutor in Medicine. His dedication to education and research was further recognized in 2020 when he was appointed as an Honorary Senior Lecturer at King’s College London. Dr. Boussios was honored with fellowship status by the Royal College in 2021. Furthermore, since January 2022, he has held the position of Associate Lecturer at Kent Medway Medical School, University of Kent, UK. His clinical and research focus centers on urology-gynecological oncology. His contributions to the field are underscored by his (co)-authorship of over 100 PubMed-indexed peer-reviewed publications, reflecting an h-index of 30. Learn more about Dr. Boussios here and here. Connect with him on the following platforms: LinkedIn, ResearchGate, Scopus, and ORCID.

APM: What do you regard as a good academic paper?

Dr. Boussios: In all papers, a well-defined structure is essential, and the argument should exhibit a seamless flow from one section to the next. It is imperative to maintain clarity in English language usage, while avoiding the use of technical jargon. Outstanding papers will follow a trajectory from the general to the specific, commencing with an introduction that sets the context of the work. Subsequently, they will articulate the problem under investigation, address both the empirical and analytical facets of the work, engage in a comprehensive discussion, and finally, draw conclusions that are firmly rooted in the content covered throughout the paper, thus reconnecting with the initial context of the work.

A well-crafted research paper is built around a distinct research question. This research question, study objective, or primary research hypothesis serves as the cornerstone of the paper, guiding its entire structure. Any content that directly pertains to the research question finds its place in the paper, while extraneous information should be omitted. This principle is readily apparent when a paper reports the findings of a carefully planned research project. However, in practical fields like quality improvement, some papers emerge from projects initiated for operational purposes rather than with the primary intention of generating new knowledge. In such instances, authors should retrospectively establish the central research question and structure the paper accordingly.

APM: How to avoid biases in one’s writing?

Dr. Boussios: Research should undergo multiple and independent evaluations by other researchers and organizations to provide the necessary objective feedback and validation, essential for upholding high data quality standards. These independent evaluations serve as safeguards against potential biases that may arise when research is solely reliant on the perspective of one researcher or a specific research group.

At a fundamental level, it is imperative to train researchers to continually challenge their own assumptions and preconceptions during the course of clinical research. A tacit quality control system rooted in scientific skepticism is vital to uphold the reliability of research data. Recognizing the existence of confirmation bias is a critical first step in addressing this challenge. In clinical research, confirmation bias is particularly challenging to circumvent as personal beliefs and assumptions are inherent, regardless of scientists' dedicated efforts toward objectivity. Fortunately, there are effective strategies to mitigate this issue. These include the implementation of blind studies and analyses, independent evaluations, rigorous scrutiny of assumptions, and the acknowledgment that confirmation biases are an inherent part of the research process. By embracing these approaches, researchers can take meaningful steps towards minimizing the impact of confirmation bias on their work.

APM: Is it important for authors to disclose Conflict of Interest (COI)?

Dr. Boussios: Transparent and truthful disclosures of COI play a crucial role in enabling readers to effectively evaluate potential scientific bias within medical literature. Over the past few decades, the influence of the industry on healthcare has undeniably grown, perhaps even more substantially than many physicians would readily acknowledge. A prominent illustration of this influence is the sheer volume of industry-sponsored research and clinical trials that frequently drive changes in medical practice. In this context, there is a compelling argument for requesting more comprehensive and thorough financial disclosures from medical lecturers, authors, and researchers in both their presentations and publications. The prevailing format of financial disclosure, in the author's view, has become inadequate. To foster greater transparency and uphold the integrity of bias-free research and medical writing, a more detailed and expansive approach to financial disclosure is warranted.

APM: Would you like to say a few words to encourage other academic writers who have been devoting themselves to advancing scientific progress?

Dr. Boussios: I would encourage aspiring writers to have confidence in their insights and ideas. Each of us has a valuable contribution to make in the ongoing discourse among our peers, and scientific journals provide the platform for our voices to be heard and meaningful discussions to ensue. Nevertheless, the process of scientific writing can be protracted and demanding. Manuscript submissions are seldom accepted without revisions, and it is not uncommon for a paper to undergo multiple iterations and resubmissions before acceptance. Embracing the insights of peer review not only improves the manuscripts but also enhances the skills of the academic writers over time. The editors are there to assist; they are invested in providing promising ideas every opportunity to flourish, and I have found their guidance to be invaluable.

(by Brad Li, Anita Zhang)

Rosa Tesoro

Rosa Tesoro is an anesthesiologist specialist and currently a psychiatric resident at the University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland. She has accomplished her studies in Italy, in Pavia, for anesthesia and intensive medicine. She traveled to Switzerland as a resident first and then as a senior anesthesiologist. At the University Hospitals of Geneva, she led the Walking Epidural Program before dedicating herself to non-operating-room anesthesia (NORA) where she developed hypnosis techniques. She is passionate about neurosciences with different experiences in intensive medicine, neurosurgery, and interventional neuroradiology. She is also interested in ethical issues with a paper published on futile care at the end of life and trained for palliative care in Geneva. Dr. Tesoro believes her different interest areas could merge in psychiatrics and the study of interventional psychiatry for treatment-resistant mood disorders or negative symptoms of psychosis.

Dr. Tesoro points out that there is no academic paper without a clear research question. In other words, writing is not worth it if one’s paper does not add clear answers, as her mentor, Professor Guy Haller, told her. To ensure one’s writing is up-to-date and can give new insights into the field of research, she thinks the simple secret is a real scientific curiosity and a personal need to better care about patients. Meanwhile, she stresses that a conflict of interest should always be disclosed to ensure transparency, which is an obligation in life and medicine.

Beyond data, papers, and technical skills, medicine is a human science first,” says Dr. Tesoro.

(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)

Anahita Dabo-Trubelja

Dr. Anahita Dabo-Trubelja has been on staff at Memorial Sloan Kettering as an attending anesthesiologist since 2002. She completed her residency at the NYPH-Cornell Campus, followed by a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine at the NYPH-Columbia Campus. She holds National Board of Echocardiography (NBE) certifications in basic perioperative transesophageal echocardiography and critical care ultrasound. Her clinical care focuses on critical patients in the perioperative period, the use of transesophageal and transthoracic echocardiography, and introducing ultrasound as an adjunct to all aspects of patient care in the perioperative period. Her academic interest focuses on promoting cancer anesthesia and research into ultrasound in cancer patients in the perioperative period. She is interested in the application of ultrasound as an adjunct to clinical assessment, decision-making, and outcomes.

From Dr. Dabo-Trubelja’s perspective, the role of academic writing is essential. It allows for the sharing of ideas. Academic writing communicates and leads to the understanding of problems, engages readers to think about new ideas, and develops new concepts and investigations. The communication of research findings and support for repeated experiments eventually leads to change in practice and improvement in patient care.

To avoid bias in one’s writing, Dr. Dabo-Trubelja points out that writing should be objective, with no personal preference or preset opinion. It is necessary to present strong evidence, engage readers to be curious about a problem that still needs solving, be respectful, and not alienate readers. One must acknowledge that at times it is impossible to avoid bias in writing especially if one has a strong opinion of a subject matter.

Dr. Dabo-Trubelja further highlights the importance of Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosure. Readers expect published research of designed experiments to be presented as the best way to solve a problem and be reproducible in the interest of the patient. If the researcher is paid to conduct an experiment then everything from the design to the outcome of the study may be in the interest of the employer. This does not mean that the researcher is unethical, but it is meaningful to acknowledge the psychological aspect of this joint venture on the outcome of the experiment.

The burden of patient care is heavy – The pandemic has taken its toll and physicians have not been spared. It is thus difficult these days for Dr. Dabo-Trubelja to find time for writing. Nevertheless, she says, “A routine for ‘time to write’ is extremely important. I keep to 1-2 hours of block time a couple of days a week. This ‘time to write’ routine keeps my writing consistent and the downtime helps me focus on new ideas for future projects. Most importantly, I have my family support.”

(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)

Giovanni Cerullo

Dr. Giovanni Cerullo is a medical doctor specializing in Internal Medicine. He is a Coordinator of the Palliative Care Team at the Faro Hospital Unit of the Centro Hospitalar Universitario do Algarve (CHUA) in Portugal. He is also a Guest Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto and the School of Health Sciences at the University of Algarve. Dr. Cerullo is the Coordinator of the Center for Study, Training, and Research in Palliative Care at CHUA; Chairman of the Ethics Committee for Health at CHUA; Member of the Palliative Care Department of the International Chair in Bioethics (ICB); and Reviewer for the scientific Journal of the Portuguese Society of Internal Medicine. His research interests encompass clinical complexity in palliative care, palliative care organization, palliative care education, and healthcare management. Some of his recent projects have focused on developing instruments for assessing clinical complexity in palliative care and exploring bioethics topics. Connect with Dr. Cerullo on LinkedIn and learn more about his work on ORCID.

In Dr. Cerullo’s view, a commendable academic paper is characterized by lucidity and a well-structured approach, contributing significantly to the field through innovative research or fresh perspectives. It relies on reputable sources, employs rigorous research methodologies, and presents findings in a clear and succinct manner. It engages with existing literature, showcases critical thinking, addresses ethical considerations, and adheres to proper citations. Ideally, it should be accessible to a wide audience, and a quality paper often undergoes peer review for publication in respected journals or conference proceedings, ensuring assessment by field experts.

To guarantee the critical nature of one’s writing, Dr. Cerullo believes it is imperative to cultivate the ability to analyze, assess, and scrutinize information, arguments, and evidence. This entails gaining a profound understanding of the subject matter, questioning sources while evaluating their credibility, dissecting arguments into constituent elements, engaging in critical thought when assessing strengths and weaknesses, employing reliable evidence, and avoiding logical fallacies. Seeking feedback, revising and editing, staying informed, and regular practice are all integral to critical writing. Critical writing should not be misconstrued as excessively negative or skeptical but rather as an approach to information and ideas with a balanced and contemplative mindset, maintaining openness to new perspectives while rigorously evaluating them.

Speaking of the prevalent use of reporting guidelines (e.g. CONSORT, PRISMA), Dr. Cerullo stresses that it is undoubtedly imperative for authors to adhere to these guidelines throughout the manuscript preparation process. In his opinion, these guidelines foster transparency, quality, and uniformity in research communication, rendering studies more comprehensible, reproducible, and trustworthy. They mitigate bias, facilitate peer review, satisfy publication prerequisites, and uphold ethical principles, all of which contribute significantly to the credibility and integrity of scientific research. In summary, compliance with reporting guidelines constitutes a fundamental practice to elevate the caliber and dependability of published research.

In the course of crafting a scientific article, the most arduous moments can vary, but it is precisely during these junctures that one must summon resilience and remain resolutely focused on the ultimate objective: advancing medicine, research, and, in this instance, palliative care, for the benefit of our patients and their families. The most formidable challenges might encompass the harmonization of clinical responsibilities with academic pursuits. Nevertheless, the presence of a robust and sincere connection with mentors often proves pivotal and can be transformative. The elation and gratification derived from witnessing one's article published in a prestigious journal serves as ample recompense for the trials and tribulations faced along the way,” says Dr. Dr. Cerullo.

(by Brad Li, Hailing Lian)

Amanda B. Cooper

Dr. Amanda B. Cooper is an associate professor of Surgery at Penn State Milton Hershey Medical Center. She is an acute care and trauma surgeon in the Division of Trauma, Acute Care, and Critical Care Surgery and the Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the Department of Surgery. She co-course directs the Communications Course and the First and Second-Year Health Systems Science courses for the preclinical medical students at Penn State College of Medicine. She also serves as the Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of the Association of Surgical Education. Her research interests include education research and clinical research with a focus on DEI topics.

APM: Why do we need academic writing? What is so important about it?

Dr. Cooper: Academic writing is the medical profession’s primary means of communicating new evidence and ideas that may inform the way we care for patients and educate our student, resident, and fellow learners. It can also inspire other investigators to expand upon on our findings to answer new questions. This is critical because we have a responsibility to both our patients and our learners to try to continuously improve our craft and to strive to provide the best possible clinical care and educational experience to each of them.

APM: What authors have to bear in mind during preparation of a paper?

Dr. Cooper: Authors should be mindful from the initial phases of their planning (whether it be study design or brainstorming of ideas) to be rigorous in their methods—considering whether there may be bias that could be influencing their outcomes and if so, if it can be decreased with a change in approach and whether they have considered a variety of possible explanations for their findings. They should be sure to include an acknowledgment of potential sources of bias, a caution to readers to avoid generalizing the findings to groups that differ from those of the study population, and potential alternative explanations for the findings.

APM: Academic writing takes a lot of time and effort. What motivates you to do so?

Dr. Cooper: I am a curious person and so often have questions related to clinical care or education that I want to answer. If I cannot find existing studies in the literature that help answer my question, then I begin to wonder whether I can design a study that helps answer the question. If the question is important enough, then I feel that other educators and medical providers may also want to be able to find an answer to the question, so I should share my findings.

APM: Is it important for authors to disclose Conflict of Interest (COI)? To what extent would a COI influence a research?

Dr. Cooper: COIs represent a potential source of bias. Disclosing them allows our readers to understand what motivators may have influenced our study design and/or our interpretation of our findings. This is critical for allowing readers to evaluate whether they are willing to change their current practice based on the findings being presented.

(by Brad Li, Hailing Lian)

Yann-Nicolas Batzler

Dr. Yann-Nicolas Batzler is a physician and research associate at University Hospital at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany. His medical background is in urology, yet he is now fully working in palliative care. His research area focuses on ethical challenges such as wishes to hasten death. In a recent project, his team assessed moral implications of medical staff while accompanying patients during voluntarily stopping of eating and drinking. Furthermore, the Public Health context of palliative care is of focus in his work. His team is constantly working on ways to facilitate implementation of palliative care in oncological trajectories early on, which up to these days is a relevant challenge due to stigmatization of palliative care.

APM: What are the most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing?

Dr. Batzler: My working language is German, which means that questionnaires, interviews, etc. are usually conducted in German language. It is a challenge translating these into English and then write manuscripts in English. I often feel that certain nuances languages bring with them are lost within this process.

APM: Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis. Can you share tips on selecting the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis?

Dr. Batzler: I feel that the process of conducting a systematic review is very helpful. First, define a clear scientific question you would like to answer. Then, select databases for collecting literature. Before the actual evidence is selected, define a search string using e.g. the PICO process. Bear in mind that this process might be tiring, however, systematically screening abstracts, eliminating papers that do not fit the research question and then focusing on details is a definite key to success in including relevant evidence.

APM: Do you think it is important to follow reporting guidelines (e.g. STROBE and CARE) during preparation of manuscripts?

Dr. Batzler: I absolutely do, yes. It gives young researches like me a framework. Starting in academic writing, you have to teach yourself relevant aspects in drafting a manuscript. Reporting guidelines help doing that as they define which aspects are of high importance and need to be addressed within the manuscript. To me, this is very helpful.

APM: What is fascinating about academic writing?

Dr. Batzler: I love the process that leads to writing academic manuscripts. Thinking about relevant topics in medicine that are only sparsely covered, conducting a study design, collecting data and then putting all these into a manuscript. It is a very rewarding process as you slowly see your ideas come to life.

(by Brad Li, Hailing Lian)

Hiroyuki Otani                                  Koji Amano

Dr. Hiroyuki Otani is from Department of Palliative and Supportive Care, and Palliative Care Team, St. Mary’s Hospital; Department of Palliative and Supportive Care, and Palliative Care Team, National Hospital Organization Kyushu Cancer Center. His research area is Palliative Medicine and he is practicing and exploring better end-of-life care in people affected by cancer. A list of his published work can be found on ResearchGate.

Dr. Koji Amano is from Palliative and Supportive Care Center, Osaka University Hospital; Department of Psycho-Oncology and Palliative Medicine, Osaka International Cancer Institute. His research areas include Palliative Medicine, Nutritional Care, and Management of Cancer Cachexia. He is struggling to develop holistic multimodal care for patients and family caregivers affected by cancer cachexia.

Speaking of the most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing, Drs. Otani and Amano indicate that they often get confused when unexpected results are found. However, they always go back to the clinical field to find out the reasons why such results were obtained considering previous findings. Besides, they think institutional review board (IRB) is necessary to ensure the protection of human subjects' rights, safety, and welfare.

Drs. Otani and Amano share that they were very happy when their papers were used in clinical guidelines. They add, “We received words of gratitude from patients and their family caregivers. We feel that our research results actually contribute to improving patients' and family caregivers' quality of life.” Last but not least, they suggest authors constantly ask and explore clinical questions that exist in the real world.

(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)

Henry C. Y. Wong

Dr. Henry C. Y. Wong, MBBS, FRCR, is a resident in clinical oncology at the Department of Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong. He is an active member of the Multinational Association in the Supportive Care of Cancer (MASCC) and the EORTC Quality of Life Group (QLG). His clinical and research interests include breast cancer, thoracic malignancies, supportive care, and the integration radiotherapy in patients with metastatic malignancies.

To Dr. Wong, academic writing plays an important role in science since it allows researchers to communicate their ideas and findings, and to establish new hypotheses. It also facilitates building on existing knowledge, and allows for constructive criticism and debate amongst clinicians and scientists. Without academic writing, the field of medicine would not progress as efficiently as it is today.

In Dr. Wong’s opinion, authors require strong critical thinking and communication skills to produce high-quality research work. These skills enable authors to communicate ideas and research findings effectively, and in a way that is interesting and thought-provoking to the target audience. Time management skills are also important in order to meet project and journal deadlines so the research can be published in a timely manner.

As an author, Dr. Wong lays emphasis on the importance of adherence to reporting guidelines, such as TREND and CONSORT. Following reporting guidelines enhances the credibility of the research work and facilitates assessment of study quality. Ultimately, following these guidelines improves the quality and transparency of clinical research.

Moreover, Dr. Wong is driven to participate in research and academic writing because of his passion to improve the care of cancer patients. While there are now many new treatment options for cancer patients, there remain many unanswered questions on how to deliver care in a personalized, compassionate and efficient manner. He thinks actively participating in research and academic writing allow him to be a more knowledgeable and competent oncologist.

(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)

Allan B. Peetz

Dr. Allan B. Peetz is a trauma surgeon and assistant professor in the Division of Acute Care Surgery and faculty at the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society. His research interests include ethical issues in trauma surgery. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, his medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School, and an MPH from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. He completed a residency in general surgery at the University of Chicago and a fellowship in Surgical Critical Care & Trauma/Acute Care Surgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, MA. He also completed a fellowship in medical ethics at the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. Learn more about Dr. Peetz here.

APM: What role does academic writing play in science?

Dr. Peetz: If science is a fish, then academic writing is the water. Science is dead without it, and better when it is clear.

APM: How to ensure one’s writing is critical?

Dr. Peetz: Read your drafts out loud. Get someone who does not really know your subject to read it and see how well they understand it. When you are near a final product, find someone who does not really like you to edit it.

APM: Would you like to say a few words to encourage other academic writers who have been devoting themselves to advancing scientific progress?

Dr. Peetz: Writing is not easy for me and is sometimes a little painful, especially in the middle stages. If you feel that way too, you are not alone.

APM: Is it important for authors to disclose Conflict of Interest (COI)?

Dr. Peetz: COI disclosures are critical. The harm that COIs have on research is sometimes (often) in ways we do not know or understand until well after the damage is done.

(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)

Abram Brummett

Abram Brummett is an assistant professor of clinical bioethics at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and a clinical ethicist at Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital. He produces scholarship on the role of clinician conscience in medicine, ethical clinical deception, neuroethics, and ethics expertise.

Dr. Brummett shares that he writes about topics in clinical bioethics, which means that he offers public reason-based arguments for how to resolve moral conflict or uncertainty that arises in the clinical context. For example, his recent publication, titled “The pain lottery”, in Annals of Palliative Medicine with Parker Crutchfield offers a framework for how to allocate opioids in a context of scarcity.

Our framework will receive critical feedback from others that we will use to refine and improve the framework. Our ultimate goal is to produce the best guidance we can that is defensible using public moral argumentation—argumentation that does not depend upon premises rooted in a comprehensive doctrine. This is critically important for developing widely accessible moral guidance in a pluralistic society,” says Dr. Brummett.

(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)

Mia Svantesson

Dr. Svantesson is an Associate Professor in Medical Ethics at Örebro University, Sweden. She works as research supervisor at University Health Care Research Center combined with ethics advisor in the Clinical Ethics Committee, Region Örebro County. She comes with a clinical background of being a critical nurse specialist. Her current research projects concern ethics support around frail elderly and decision-making on level of care, surgeons’ moral reasoning, and the boundary between moral and psychological stress. Learn more about Dr. Svantesson here.

In the field of clinical ethics, Dr. Svantesson expresses that there are many opinions and presuppositions about what is right and good. Academic writing can contribute by giving a rigorous and structured frame to ethical analysis. In addition, she thinks it can also shed light on, and raise the status of the neglected field of clinical ethics, which is opposed to research ethics, as she points out. Dr. Svantesson believes the scientist needs to have the ability to think outside the box. She further mentions that the participation of seniors is of utmost importance for writing critically and creatively, and that is especially valuable for junior scientists.

The burden of being a scientist/doctor is heavy. Dr. Svantesson is grateful that she is very fortunate to have a shared scientific and clinical position in the hospital. She shares, “The research supervisor position gives me besides supervising doctoral students some time to write my own papers. Nowadays, my clinical position is actually as ethics advisor. This gives me the possibility to implement my research in everyday clinical practice, such as the implementation of ethical guidelines regarding level of care (from intensive care to palliative care) and clinical ethics support in multi-professional teams regarding ethically difficult patient situations.

(by Masaki Lo, Hailing Lian)

Nilton Carlos Machado

Nilton Carlos Machado currently serves at the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, Botucatu Medical School, São Paulo State University, Brazil. He is also the Associate Professor and Head of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition Unit; Professor in the Postgraduate Program in Clinical Research, Department of Clinical Medicine; and a Master's Project Advisor. His research interests include functional gastrointestinal disorders; clinical and epidemiology in gastrointestinal and nutrition disorders; overweight and obesity in functional gastrointestinal disorders; food allergy; quality of life in pediatric gastrointestinal disorders; and helicobacter pylori gastritis. Recently, he is researching into health-related quality of life in mothers of children with food allergy less than three years old; and health-related quality of life in children and adolescents with chronic abdominal pain.

In all areas of Medicine, writing remains the basis for disseminating knowledge, and the exposition of knowledge should be accessible to everyone, according to Prof. Machado, regardless of the country's language and financial conditions. The production of knowledge in Medicine proceeds step by step, and this cumulative effect has allowed Medicine to progress. He adds, “Recently, we have observed setbacks in the emotional, social, and political areas of the Global World. However, Medicine is moving forward, producing new ways to eliminate human suffering, recently, for example, in the production of vaccines in a short period. So, these thousands of journals focusing on specific fields of Medicine allow this dissemination of knowledge.

Therefore, in order to stay fully abreast of the new knowledge of his field, Prof. Machado ensures adequate writing through daily, organized, and updated reading, especially with unrestricted periodical access.

Prof. Machado goes on to share with us an unforgettable story during academic writing. He recalls a clinical case of an infant with enormous feeding difficulty accompanied by desaturation. The patient had been carefully examined, with no definitive diagnostic, when his team received a consultation request. The case was intriguing, and after a detailed review of the disease evolution and complementary tests that had yet to be supported, they documented an extensive esophageal motility compromised by Cytomegalovirus infection. While operationalizing the treatment, they planned to publish it as a case report. Subsequently, they sent the manuscript to three journals, whose response was always the same: “The case is not suitable for publication”. Finally, on a fourth submission, they received a good reception from the Editor and an immense desire to help them with better manuscript formatting. This paper has become one of the most cited among their publications. “This case raises two fundamental ideas: the Editor's peculiar vision and the disponibility of helping us. Second, publishing cases is always an excellent way to show what is happening behind the scenes in our clinics. If we had given up on publishing, we would have shelved a story that pediatricians should be ready to diagnose. This raises the question: How many remarkable clinical cases were forgotten in the dark of a drawer or a virtual file?” says he.

(by Brad Li, Hailing Lian)

Jennifer Corcoran

Dr. Jennifer Corcoran is currently a fellow in movement disorders, neuropalliative care, and experimental therapeutics at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY, USA. She earned her medical degree and completed her neurology residency at the University of Rochester. During her clinical training, she was drawn to palliative care as an effective approach to meet the needs of patients with neurologic disease. Her research interests include prognostic communication and anticipatory guidance in Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders, and the development of prognostic tools in chronic neurologic disease.

From Dr. Corcoran’s point of view, a good academic paper effectively frames the research in the context of previous literature on the topic and identifies implications and future directions for the research, which should capture readers' attention, convince them the paper is important to read and help them understand the broader context for the research even if they are not subject experts. “Authors should think about what type of journal they will submit the paper to, and therefore who the audience for the paper will be. The background, conclusions, and future directions of the paper in particular should be written with the audience in mind,” she highlights.

Dr. Corcoran thinks reporting guidelines (e.g. STROBE and STARD) are valuable and important to be followed during manuscript preparation. These guidelines can help authors prepare a high-quality manuscript with the necessary components for transparency and consistency of reporting. They can also assist editors and reviewers to ensure the manuscript contains the required elements of a high-quality manuscript.

My writing is motivated by my passion for palliative care for patients with neurologic disease, and my goal of spreading the word about palliative care to other clinicians and researchers. I hope that by writing strong manuscripts, I can teach others about the importance of palliative care and gaps in our knowledge, and motivate them to explore palliative care in their clinical and research work,” says Dr. Corcoran.

(By Hailing Lian, Brad Li)

Hunter Groninger

Hunter Groninger, MD, FAAHPM, is a palliative care physician in Washington, DC, USA. He currently serves as Director of Palliative Care at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Scientific Director for Palliative Care at the MedStar Health Research Institute, and Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University. His research interests vary widely and include integrative modalities for symptom management, implementation of novel models of palliative care, and health disparities in serious illness care. He recently completed a prospective clinical trial to evaluate massage dosing strategies to improve quality of life among inpatients receiving palliative care and a randomized controlled trial of virtual reality to mitigate cancer pain. His work has been funded by organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and the Palliative Care Research Cooperative. Learn more about Dr. Groninger here.

APM: What are the most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing?

Dr. Groninger: I enjoy academic writing immensely – it requires curiosity, reflection, and focus. In many ways, I almost find it to be a meditative practice. What I find most challenging about academic writing is simply finding the time and space to do it right. Our professional lives have become so busy with activities and competing responsibilities that setting boundaries and creating the structure to write well takes effort. Sometimes a great writing project gets delayed when I become pulled away by unexpected administrative tasks that arise in the moment. But in the end, the effort to create that writing space is worth it and continues to be very rewarding.

APM: Science advances rapidly day by day. How do you ensure your writing is up-to-date and can give new insights to the field of research?

Dr. Groninger: This is an ongoing challenge, to be sure. Palliative care is still a very young field – not only is the science of serious illness care developing and growing rapidly, but even the field’s scientific priorities and underlying conceptual frameworks are evolving. One of the ways I try to ensure my writing is up-to-date and insightful is to engage with the right collaborators. As a clinical field, palliative care does its best when individuals of different clinical disciplines work in synchrony – the same can be said for scientific writing. For example, in a recent massage therapy narrative review, I found it really important to collaborate with both integrative medicine researchers and learned massage therapists who are leading massage as a clinical discipline.

APM: From an author’s perspective, do you think it is important to follow reporting guidelines (e.g. STROBE and CARE) during the preparation of manuscripts?

Dr. Groninger: Yes, I do. Some time ago, I learned the hard way that neglecting to do this can make it much harder for my anticipated audience to follow the story that our research is trying to tell. These guidelines can help assure that all the bases are covered.

APM: Would you like to say a few words to encourage other academic writers who have been devoting themselves to advancing scientific progress?

Dr. Groninger: I suppose I would like to share what I often find myself saying to junior colleagues in my organization: discover your scholarly passions, stick to the work, and do not lose sight of your goals. When the reviews come back, leave your ego at the door. At the same time, remember that you do have something important to contribute – palliative care needs your contributions.

(by Brad Li, Hailing Lian)

Andreas Charalambous

Andreas Charalambous, BSc, MSc, PGCert (Research), PhD (Oncology Nursing), started his nursing career in 1995. He obtained his BSc in Nursing Science in 1999 by the Northumbria University (UK), his MSc (Nursing Science) in 2002, and his PhD (Oncology Nursing) in 2008 from Middlesex University (UK). He has a proven track in academia since 2004. Ηe is a Professor of Oncology and Palliative Care at the Cyprus University of Technology and holds the position of an Adjunct Professor at University of Turku (Finland). He is the founder and Past-President of the Cyprus Oncology Nursing Society, European Oncology Nursing Society (EONS), Past-President and President of the European Cancer Organization. He is also the Founder of the Cancer Nursing Fund and Founder of the European Cancer Communities Foundation. He is involved in national and international research programs (HORIZON2020, ERASMUS+, COST) in various fields of cancer care. He has published over 200 national and international publications in esteemed journals. He has been recently included in the World’s 2% Scientist List according to Stanford University (learn more here). Connect with Prof. Charalambous on LinkedIn, X, and Google Scholar.

APM: What are the most commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing?

Prof. Charalambous: The most common challenge for academic writing is the ‘so what’ factor: the research presented in the paper offers nothing new to our readers' knowledge or practice. Also, academic writing often involves complex ideas and concepts that require a deep understanding of the subject matter. It can be challenging to present these ideas in a clear and concise manner that the audience can comprehensively grasp. This aspect falls within the scope of the 5 C’s of academic writing: Clarity, Cogency, Conventionality, Completeness, and Concision. Besides, high-level academic writing requires extensive research to gather relevant, up-to-date, and credible sources. Moreover, within the context of academic writing, one needs to present arguments and ideas logically. Creating and presenting a cohesive flow of the information at hand can be a challenging area for any academic writer which in turn can negatively affect the logical presentation of the ideas. Furthermore, in a nutshell, academic writing is characterized by a significant number of moving parts that need to be coordinated. Critical thinking, research skills, effective communication, and time management abilities are only but some of these parts that can be the source of many challenges for anyone engaging in the endeavor of academic writing.

APM: What are the key skill sets of an author?

Prof. Charalambous: Academic writing is a complex process in itself and one that requires a combination of skill sets and abilities that not every writer possesses. First, intellectual curiosity drives an academic writer to explore, question, and seek answers to complex problems or even seemingly simple problems. Second, academic writers and researchers must have excellent writing skills that allow them to transfer their ideas effectively to their audience. It is a unique form of communication that allows them to convey meaningful messages to their readers. Third, they must be able to conduct thorough research and gather relevant data and evidence to support their arguments and conclusions. These searches are often driven by their intellectual curiosity which allows them to go beyond the obvious and challenge the norm. Fourth, analytical skills allow the academic writer to evaluate sources, analyze data, and draw conclusions. Lastly, they must have strong critical thinking skills to assess the quality and reliability of research sources, evaluate evidence, and draw logical conclusions.

APM: Is it important for authors to disclose Conflict of Interest (COI)?

Prof. Charalambous: I believe it is essential for every author to disclose COI in their work. It adds an extra layer of transparency and ethical soundness to the author’s work. This allows readers to evaluate if the COI has any influence on the paper’s findings and conclusions.

APM: What is fascinating about academic writing?

Prof. Charalambous: There are numerous reasons why academic writing can be inspiring. It gives, for example, the means of communication to a specific group or network of people who share common interests and work. Academic writing provides the opportunity to explore areas of work that have not been explored yet or adopt a writer’s unique perspective to those areas. Academic writing also creates a legacy, a basis that subsequent authors can build their work on or have their work be informed by these writings.

(by Brad Li, Hailing Lian)

Vinay Rao

Vinay Rao, DO, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and a palliative care (PC) physician who cares for patients at Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale Cancer Center (YCC). He completed his residency in internal medicine at University of Connecticut and fellowship in hospice and palliative medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. Clinically, he predominantly cares for patients with cancer and strives to attend to the whole person behind the illness. He and a colleague co-founded the PC and gastrointestinal (GI) oncology integrated clinic at YCC, in which Dr. Rao sees patients alongside their GI oncology team and/or during treatments, he communicates regularly with his GI oncology colleagues, leads education sessions for GI oncology advance practice providers, and offers serious illness communication (SIC) and symptom management earlier in patients’ disease trajectories. Dr. Rao’s research interests are focused on SIC in patients with cancer and measuring outcomes that matter to patients in the palliative care space.

In Dr. Rao’s view, academic writing allows him to intellectually process scientific data and then communicate that information in a humanistic way. What does this mean to the patient or population being studied? How does this change the way we practice medicine? It also allows him to explore a topic or area of research from multiple different viewpoints. To him, academic writing is about creating a conversation about what the evidence shows and then delving into why this matters to us.

Science advances rapidly day by day. To ensure his writing is up-to-date and can give new insights to the field of research, Dr. Rao reads as many different literature sources as he can, hoping to gain the breadth of knowledge through a variety of viewpoints. He also tries to listen to podcasts, go to as many conferences as he can, and use other sources of peer-reviewed information.

Speaking of the use of reporting guidelines, Dr. Rao admits that it is a “yes and no” to him. He explains, “I definitely see the value in conforming to an organized way for writing, so that there is consistency in what we read and so that the writer is held to the same set of standards when presenting data and making conclusions about those data. However, I’m also wondering if we should sit down and find ways to ‘de-escalate’ some of the items required.” To him, the process of writing a manuscript, editing, proofreading, etc. is very lengthy and oftentimes, the checklist makes things feel cumbersome and work-laden. He wonders if we can strike a better balance between following a set of standards for all writers while allowing for more flexibility and less burdensome tasks when submitting manuscripts.

Academic writing starts the conversation. It gets us talking about the things we care about. And, at the same time, the conversation never ends. As much as we try to conclude something from the data, there is always more to explore, discuss, and question,” says Dr. Rao.

(by Brad Li, Hailing Lian)

Muhammad Hamza Habib

Muhammad Hamza Habib, MD, JD, MBA, is the Associate Professor of Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson School of Medicine. He works as an Interventional Pain Management/ Palliative Medicine physician in New Jersey, at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He also serves as the Director of Outpatient Palliative Medicine and Cancer Pain Service, and Clinical Director of Cancer Institute of NJ Ambulatory Palliative Care Operations. His research focus is on cancer pain management, and end of life care for cancer and non-cancer patients. Recently, he is working on the use of technology including virtual reality and AI for pain and symptoms management in advanced illnesses, aiming to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in healthcare settings, and improve patient care outcomes. Learn more about Dr. Habib here, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

In Dr. Habib’s view, we need academic writing to continue to grow our respective clinical fields, and improve patient care though more evidence-based clinical care. Academic research and writing grows the evidence pool, and helps move our fields forward by providing more educational resources to the current and next generation of clinicians.

The most important attributes for a good clinical researcher, according to Dr. Habib, include the passion for research, creative/out of the box thinking, ability to collaborate and work with a multidisciplinary team with different individuals, and the understanding of research methodologies and procedures.

In addition, Dr. Habib highlights that it is important to follow reporting guidelines such as STROBE and PRISMA while preparing manuscripts. Such practice enables improvement of compliance with ethical and procedural research guidelines. Also, these guidelines provide structure for uniformity, and help with comparative analysis of various papers on the same topic. Moreover, for new researchers and even seasoned researchers, they provide a good checklist to assure the best-quality academic writing output.

I am motivated to do academic writing by the desire to learn for myself, grow the clinical field, and improve evidence-based and educational resources to ultimately improve the quality of clinical care for our patients. Through academic writing, I also get the opportunity to work with an excellent multidisciplinary collaborative team that complement each other’s strengths, and solve problem through complex research projects,” says Dr. Habib.

(by Brad Li, Zhixin Xie)

Caity Roleston

Dr. Roleston is currently a Postdoctoral Qualitative Researcher at the University of Oxford conducting the process evaluation of the ALlergy AntiBiotics and Microbial resistance (ALABAMA) trial. The trial focuses on the large discrepancy between reported and true penicillin allergy rates and provides an assessment pathway for patients who are likely to receive antibiotics. The trial would enrich the understanding in the context of correcting penicillin allergy labels and the conditions required to remove erroneous labels. Prior to the ALABAMA trial, she worked on the Global Access to Psychological Services for Food Allergy (GAPS) Study for Aston University, Birmingham, in 2022-2023 and she is currently concluding her role in GAPS by finalizing two qualitative manuscripts that explore the (un)met healthcare needs and the psychological impact of living with food allergy from the perspective of adults and parents living in the UK. Connect with Dr. Roleston on X(Twitter).

APM: What are the essential elements of a good academic paper?

Dr. Roleston: During my first year as an undergraduate I was introduced to a paper written by Lucy Yardley (Professor of Health Psychology) where she proposed four flexible principles to guide writing and appraise good (qualitative) research: sensitivity to context (e.g., inclusion of relevant literature and theory, ethical issues, sociocultural setting); commitment and rigor (e.g., in-depth engagement with topic, methodological competence, thorough data collection); transparency and coherence (e.g., clarity and power of description/argument, transparent methods, and data presentation); and impact and importance (e.g., theoretical, socio-cultural, practical). Exposure to this paper at such an early stage in my academic career has been deeply influential, and these principles, intended originally for qualitative research but are versatile enough to be applied more broadly, continue to inform how I write about my own work and how I appraise the work of my peers.

APM: What authors have to bear in mind during preparation of a paper?

Dr. Roleston: There are practical and pragmatic tips I could offer authors, such as selecting a journal that best fits your work, reading the “author guidelines” section of the selected journal carefully, and being methodological in ensuring you meet all the requirements and adhere to any regulations. But having gone through the process of preparation, submission, peer review, and publication, the most important learning for me is to have a mindset shift. In fact, preparation of the manuscript for publication is only the beginning and the manuscript would go through more than one round of peer review followed by editorial revisions. This requires openness and perseverance. I believe that peer review encourages me to think more deeply about my work and be more explicit in my writing. Consequently, the published article (in my view) is becoming more complex and compelling. I would therefore encourage authors to bear in mind that preparation and submission is just the beginning of what will hopefully be an enriching journey.

APM: How do you allocate time to write papers?

Dr. Roleston: This question is rather tricky as one’s access to time to write is a complex intersection of individual and institutional factors. In other words, it is often not about one’s will to write or one’s ability to manage one’s time (although certainly these can be factors) but it often comes down to the limits to meaningful writing time one has available. So far in my career, I have been fortunate to be able to embed writing time into my working hours. Allocating this time can still be challenging but some strategies that have worked for me include (1) reflecting on what conditions I write best - for me, this is first thing in the morning or after a short walk; (2) being purposeful by blocking out time – no meetings, no email, no chores that have to be right now, just writing; and (3) joining a writing group – for me, this is less about accountability and more about community as writing is typically solitary and can be isolating.

APM: From an author’s perspective, do you think it is important to follow reporting guidelines during preparation of manuscripts? Why?

Dr. Roleston: For all researchers (and indeed readers and reviewers), having reporting guidelines can be helpful to scaffold the process. As many writers will attest, being faced with “the blank page” can be very intimidating and for some immobilizing, so having something to structure the page and the thinking can be very valuable. In particular, I think reporting guidelines are helpful when one’s research is orientated within the quantitative paradigm - where trustworthiness hinges upon replicability – as they provide authors with an explicit and verifiable checklist through which they can demonstrate the quality and transparency of their work. Additionally, there is internal consistency between the underlying philosophies of the work.

As a qualitative researcher, I find reporting guidelines such as COREQ and SRQR more contentious. A key critique is that the “one-size-fits-all” approach is fundamentally at odds with the heterogeneity of qualitative research methodologies and methods, and guidelines such as COREQ limit the parameters of what can be considered good quality qualitative research. For example, in my own research concepts such as data saturation, member checking, and inter-coder agreement do not feature because they are not philosophically aligned with the methodologies I operate within, but COREQ demands they are attended to and the quality of my work will be judged unfavorably against them. A second, and final point I will make here is that guidelines such as COREQ often misrepresent or misunderstand the rationale of qualitative concepts such as reflexivity by reducing them to tick-box criteria with no expectation to explicate their implications and thereby neutralizing their significance within the research process.

(by Masaki Lo, Hailing Lian)

Reanne Booker

Reanne Booker has been in the industry for over 23 years and she is currently an Oncology and Palliative Care nurse practitioner at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is also a PhD candidate in the School of Nursing at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The focus of her PhD research is on the integration of palliative care for patients with hematological malignancies. She is also interested in learning more about the needs of family caregivers before, during, and after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Additional clinical and research interests include sexuality and cancer, cannabis and cancer, and virtual care in oncology. She is very interested in global oncology and equitable cancer care for patients in rural and remote regions. She has been involved with the Canadian Global Cancer Network since 2019 and is the Co-Chair of the 2023 Canadian Global Oncology Workshop. Connect with Dr. Booker on X(Twitter).

APM: Why do we need academic writing? What is so important about it?

Reanne: Academic writing is an essential way to communicate and share thoughts, ideas, and opinions about a particular topic. The ability to create and effectively share a well-structured argument is a skill that is applicable in many settings. In the healthcare context, academic writing is an important activity that can advance one’s own knowledge on a topic and, potentially allow one to contribute to the body of existing knowledge on a topic. Academic writing promotes critical and analytical thinking and can advance intellectual growth. When it comes to research, academic writing is an integral component of the research process, contributes to research proficiency, and is critical for knowledge translation and dissemination of findings.

APM: Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis. Can you share tips on selecting the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis?

Reanne: Ensuring that the topic or question to be addressed in the paper has a clear focus is key to selecting the appropriate evidence. Selecting evidence that comes from reputable sources and selecting peer-reviewed articles are often encouraged. Depending on the topic, citing evidence that has been published within the past 5-10 years is often recommended, although citing relevant historical or seminal studies may be entirely appropriate and relevant as well. There are several excellent databases such as PubMed, Embase, and CINAHL, that can be used when searching for sources of evidence. Google Scholar is another option that includes both published and unpublished literature. If available, enlisting the assistance of a medical librarian can be profoundly helpful.

Critical thinking and critical appraisal of literature are fundamental skills when synthesizing evidence. I find it helpful to identify the key themes that I will address in the paper. I then organize the sources by theme by making point-form lists of key points under each theme with the sources/references cited after each point. I can then see how the sources relate both to my topic as well as to each other. Subsequently, the themes can be structured into paragraphs, with sources cited accordingly, and written in my own words and interpretation of the evidence.

APM: Academic writing takes a lot of time and effort. What motivates you to do so?

Reanne: I love writing, and I have been very privileged that much of the academic writing that I have had to do has been on topics of interest to me. I am also motivated to write as I feel that I have an obligation to everyone who has contributed to, supported, and participated in my studies. I feel compelled to share the findings of my research through writing as this is one way to honor those who participated in my studies. As a clinician, I hope that I will always dedicate time to academic writing so that I can share knowledge, foster my own learning and critical thinking, and hopefully, make meaningful contributions to the literature, with an overarching goal of improving patient care and outcomes.

APM: Is it important for authors to disclose Conflicts of Interest (COI)? To what extent would COI influence research?

Reanne: Yes, I do think it is important to disclose potential, perceived, and real conflicts of interest (COIs). COIs can impact any or all phases of the research process from conceptualization, development of the research question(s) and study design, to the interpretation of findings and conclusions. The reality is that conducting research can be extremely expensive, and funding is often required. Being transparent about sources of funding and disclosure of COIs can help to identify and allay concerns about potential biases. Disclosing a conflict allows the reader to interpret the research findings in the appropriate context. Not being honest about the COI could negatively impact a reader’s perception of the study and diminish confidence in the researcher(s).

(by Masaki Lo, Hailing Lian)

Michael Mercier

Michael Mercier, MDiv, BCCI, is the Director of Spiritual Care of Lifespan Health System, in Providence, RI, USA. He is a Board-Certified Healthcare Chaplain who currently oversees the Spiritual Care Department for Lifespan. He has been working as a healthcare chaplain for 13 years including in a Level-1 Trauma Center for adults as well as pediatrics. Throughout his work in supporting patients and their loved ones during a crisis, illness, or injury, he witnesses so many people turning to their spiritual or existential resources for meaning and support. He believes spirituality can provide resources which research has shown the possibility of leading to greater well-being and better health outcomes, and spirituality can be a source of distress which can add to the burden of illness. He thinks spiritual well-being is an important part of patients’ overall health, and healthcare professionals need to take account of patients’ spirituality as part of providing holistic care. Thus, his research focus is on the integration of spirituality into patient care.

To Michael, a good academic paper requires a good research question or focus as the overall guidance. He shares, “The research focus should be relevant to practitioners in the related field of study. The research methodologies should be rigorous and the sources reliable. The writing should be clear and concise. And he points out that a good peer-review process helps to ensure accuracy and quality.”

In order to avoid biases in one’s writing, Michael thinks the authors need to ensure they follow proper conflicts of interest procedures while also making a commitment to find and follow the best evidence available. In addition, the authors should be honest with oneself and one’s audience about one’s potential bias. “Authors have strong personal opinions, life experiences, and intellectual or philosophical commitments which can sway how they view and engage in a particular topic. Thus, the authors should always seek to be honest and upfront about any potential bias while also seeking to minimize bias through a commitment to follow the best evidence available,” says he. In addition, following reporting guidelines is imperative to cultivate standardization, reliability, quality, and transparency in the research and writing process while also working to prevent potential bias from corrupting the results.

Michael thinks as an academic writer, one must make a commitment to find the time and energy to write. He usually sets aside 3-4 hours weekly to study and research on a particular topic as well as to write on the said topic. By making this commitment on a weekly basis, it has become a habit and a way of life for him.

(by Masaki Lo, Hailing Lian)

Emily Zametkin

Dr. Emily Zametkin is currently a Hospice and Palliative Care Physician at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. She is also an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Medicine in affiliation with the University of Massachusetts-Chan Medical School. She completed her residency at Boston Medical Center and was a fellow in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at Brown. Her interests include communication training, expanding access to palliative care for all patients, and teaching primary palliative care skills.

Academic writing is helpful, according to Dr. Zametkin, for authors who are looking to develop their research and writing skills. It involves critical evaluation of existing literature and creative thinking around how to expand current knowledge.

Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis. On selecting the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis, Dr. Zametkin likes to start with Cochrane reviews and other comprehensive analyses to get a general understanding of what literature exists and how it has been summarized before. She also thinks it is important to identify and read primary literature on topics of interest. For example, reading papers based on original data and coming up with one’s own analyses regarding the quality of the data and the interpretation provided by authors.

In addition, Dr. Zametkin highlights that it is important for authors to disclose Conflict of Interest and to be transparent about any biases that may affect data or the way they are interpreted. The process of disclosing conflicts helps authors maintain integrity and helps readers feel confident that the information they are given is credible.

It is so important to feel connected to other providers who are doing interesting and innovative work in your field of interest. This motivates further learning. In medicine, it is essential to continually learn and grow as a provider. Staying curious and connecting to other authors with similar interests can help providers stay engaged in the work,” says Dr. Zametkin.

(by Brad Li, Hailing Lian)

Adam L. Holtzman

Dr. Adam L. Holtzman, a radiation oncologist at Mayo Clinic Florida, specializes in skull base and head and neck tumors. His research centers on outcomes following highly conformal and advanced radiotherapy techniques to improve treatment effectiveness while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Dr. Holtzman focuses on enhancing disease control outcomes and prioritizing the quality of life for patients. His clinical research involves patients with head and neck tumors including rare and radioresistance cancers such as advanced salivary gland and sinonasal malignancy, sarcomas, chordomas, and chondrosarcomas.

Commonly encountered difficulties in academic writing, according to Dr. Holtzman, include protected time, access to needed personnel and patient populations and resources including funding. This can be addressed in a number of ways which include maximizing clinical efficiency, partnering and engaging interdisciplinary colleagues across medical specialties and other fields including editorial assistance, statisticians, and other academic sciences. He adds, “This can often seem daunting at first, which is why establishing mentorship early on in one’s career can make all the difference in ultimate success. Choose mentors who not only have a proven track record of success but have the time available to really coach you.”

In clinical fields of medicine with rapid changes and new treatment paradigm, continued curiosity with a focus on present daily issues, in Dr. Holtzman’s view, often leads to impactful ways to help patients and stay updated. Working with students, learners, and engaged colleagues is one of the best ways to stay up to date.

Additionally, Dr. Holtzman emphasizes that in academic writing, data sharing is crucial for both the integrity of the published work as with the ability to further the field with secondary analysis or data aggregation. Increasingly recognized as an essential aspect of data sharing is the development of artificial intelligence and other modeling based on these data. Attribution should be recognized for generative models or other works that was based on the primary source as well as correcting for any biases or limitations within each data set.

The burden of being a researcher and doctor is heavy. To Dr. Holtzman, the key is knowing oneself and the most effective strategies for time management. Some people do best by working on projects concurrently with other clinical and administrative work and others do best with blocked time or scheduling, or even certain times of the day. While the percentage of protected time varies, by knowing one’s strengths, this can allow themselves to be in position to be successful and therefore earn more protected time with continued success. When building this aspect of one’s career, it is extremely important to have the right team in place to help accomplish one’s academic goals. Much of research relies on collaboration and having colleagues in statistics, research coordinators and other disciplines so that not all the work is placed on any one individual. Additionally, by becoming an expert in one’s field and providing excellent clinical care, this allows oneself as a provider to optimize efficiency in the day-to-day clinical work therefore freeing up time to pursue academic endeavors without sacrificing in other areas of one’s practice.

(by Brad Li, Zhixin Xie)

Mohana Karlekar

Dr. Mohana Karlekar is section chief of the palliative care program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and associate program director for the hospice and palliative care fellowship for over 15 years. Her areas of interest include primary palliative care education, palliative care in trauma and advance care planning. In 2018, she served on the Tennessee Palliative Care and Quality of Life Task Force, and she has served as chair of the Tennessee state palliative care council since 2019. Dr. Karlekar received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and medical degree from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She completed her internship and residency at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She is the recipient of the Hugh Jackson Morgan Teaching Award, Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award and Thomas P Graham Award -Dedicated Service to Patient Centered Care, and she is an honoree in the Alpha Omega Association.

From Dr. Karlekar’s perspective, the common difficulties she has encountered both personally and when mentoring others include the ability to write in a manner that is both comprehensive and succinct. During the initial phase of writing, authors often tend to include too many results instead of those that are key to the goals of the manuscript. The discussion section may become verbose. When authors are asked to respond to reviewer comments, the responses sometimes are also lengthy instead of answering the question clearly and concisely.

In Dr. Karlekar’s opinion, an effective author needs to be thoughtful, organized and humble. Additionally, they need to be able to respond to constructive criticism well. Writing is a team sport, and it is important to not just ask the team for input but also take comments into consideration.

Dr. Karlekar points out that the institutional review board (IRB) is crucial for credible and unbiased writing. The IRB is an impartial jury to make sure we are following standard and safe protocols, and it sets the bar to make sure we are following the highest ethical and moral principles. If IRB approval is omitted, authors could theoretically make their own rules, which could put into question not just what they do in research but also the resulting manuscripts. Without safeguards, there is the real potential to cause harm.

I think there is something beautiful about writing. Typically, when we begin to write on a topic, even if we are experts on the subject matter, we invariably discover and learn new things along the way. When we write in groups, we are not only learning together on the topic but also gathering insight on how others view the data,” says Dr. Karlekar.

(by Zhixin Xie, Brad Li)

Peter Zaki

Dr. Peter Zaki is a PGY5 resident physician at the University of Washington Department of Radiation Oncology. He earned his Medical Degree from the Penn State College of Medicine in 2019 and his Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University College of Engineering and Schreyer Honors College in 2015. He currently has a wide array of clinical interests. He has 15+ peer-reviewed publications and 40+ abstracts and presentations. He also serves as a peer reviewer for several journals.

The role of academic writing in science, in Dr. Zaki’s opinion, is to share knowledge, with the goal to advance the field for the betterment of humanity. To him, studies do not necessarily need to have positive results in order to be published as observing what does not work can also be helpful. However, it is vital that what is published should be honest and includes enough methodical details that the results can be reproduced.

Speaking of the qualities an author should possess, Dr. Zaki points out the following features: integrity, breadth and depth of knowledge in the subject matter, and adequate communication skills. In addition, he stresses that it is important for authors to disclose potential conflicts of interest (COI). Possibly, COI could subconsciously influence how authors interpret data or phrase information.

It would not be called re-search if we did not have to re-peat it,” says Dr. Zaki.

(by Brad Li, Zhixin Xie)

Danielle M. Noreika

Dr. Danielle M. Noreika, MD, FACP, FAAHPM, is currently the Section Chief of Palliative Medicine (part of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care) as well as the Program Director for the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship at VCU Health in Richmond, VA. Although she has published in multiple areas of serious illness care and symptom management, her current projects focus on how to balance pain management and safety with opioids in cancer patients, disparities in serious illness care, and increasing palliative care access in places and specialties where it is currently underutilized (such as solid organ transplant).

In Dr. Noreika’s opinion, a good academic paper in medicine generally will add to the existing body of knowledge in a range of ways from describing a unique case to summarizing current literature on a certain topic through describing novel approaches to diagnosis and treatment. For the intended audience, it will be easy to read and hopefully encourage and inspire further thought or reflection on the topic in the discussion. It is crucial the diversity of patient population the topic applies to is explored, and if there are limitations to applicability that should be clearly identified. Many of the patients come from backgrounds or circumstances that are not well reflected in research studies, and these gaps should be clearly identified not only so clinicians can appropriately apply the results, but also to suggest future research opportunities. Along those lines, publications with writers who have different perspectives and backgrounds are welcomed, as they might help to broaden the lessons the paper can offer. Finally, if possible, images, figures, tables or other visual aids that can help increase the impact of the major themes of the publication allow readers to better internalize key lessons.

Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis. Dr. Noreika indicates, “I will be honest that I am still in a learning curve myself and am grateful for experienced mentors who have been able to provide advice over time.” She shares some tips on selecting the appropriate evidence for synthesis and analysis. One key piece is making sure to align the topic with the type of review being performing—if the topic is broad, it may be difficult to do a careful systematic review where the goal is to include any potentially relevant study and further refining of the topic may be necessary. If authors are more towards the beginning of the research career, partnering with an expert researcher (or librarian) who has experience with searches of multiple commonly used databases will assist in ensuring a complete list of potential results to include. Finally, ensure to have adequate time and a good co-writing team to process the results received from searches—if the goal is to synthesize recommendations from multiple sources as succinctly and simply as possible, this will often take multiple discussions and drafts. The most important point to bear in mind is the potential for bias, and research teams do as much as possible to minimize the impact that it has on publication outcomes.

The burden of being a scientist/doctor is heavy. Speaking of how to allocate time to write papers, Dr. Noreika says, “The honest answer is sometimes I don’t—if you review my CV, you will see that there were stretches of time with no publications when clinical burdens were heavy or other duties precluded having the time. It is important to always be aware of what your goals are in any stage of your career, and if research/publications are important to you, then working with your supervisor to prioritize this goal and dedicate time will be important. Although there are times when the load is lighter and you will naturally have more time to work on publications, the clinician researchers who have consistent publications and grants have been intentional about making the time to focus on this priority for their careers. Given the lower time commitment, starting places such as reviews or retrospective reports can serve to inform future studies but may be more feasible in a busy clinical schedule. At an academic institution, many of us are indebted to student, resident or fellow trainees who have partnered as authors on papers to increase their experience while lessening the workload for others.”

(by Zhixin Xie, Brad Li)

Adrian Wai Chan

Dr. Adrian Wai Chan, MBBS, is currently a clinical research fellow in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, which is affiliated with the University of Toronto. He is an honorary Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Oncology, the University of Hong Kong. He is committed to providing the best possible care for cancer patients. His areas of interest include central nervous system tumour, breast cancers, thoracic cancers and improving the quality-of-life of patients with cancers. Recognizing how cancer care could be influenced by policy and law, Dr. Chan completed a Juris Doctor degree in the Chinese University of Hong Kong and is interested in medico-legal research. He wrote a legal research paper on how the law might assist patients with hereditary cancer syndrome who face challenges in seeking employment, insurance coverage and protecting their confidentiality. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

In Dr. Chan’s opinion, academic writing requires a thorough understanding of the subject matter. Inclusion of findings from previous studies in academic writing would allow readers to learn about the background of the research and compare the results of the current study against what is already known. It can be difficult to keep track of the rapidly growing literature. This may be especially true for researchers who have other roles, such as front-line clinicians or educators. One of the possible solutions may be to harness the power of AI-enabled tools with natural language processing, to search for and summarize the latest research in an area.

Dr. Chan points out that authors should be curious and ask questions that matter. He shares, “A mentor of mine once shared with me the story of Isidor Issac Rabi, who is a Nobel laureate in physics and laid the foundation for magnetic resonance imaging. He was once asked, ‘Why did you become a scientist?’ He replied by saying that when he was a kid, the mothers of his friends would ask their children, ‘Did you learn anything today?’ But his mother would ask him a different question, ‘Did you ask a good question today?’ which fostered his curious mind and eventually made him become a scientist. I think that illustrates very well the importance of constantly asking questions.”

Institutional review board (IRB), according to Dr. Chan, protects the autonomy and rights of human subjects in research. He believes every individual should have the freedom to make choices about healthcare and their treatment. One of the roles of the IRB is to ensure that the research participants are well-informed and give their consent voluntarily, without any coercion, inappropriate inducement, or threat. If this process is omitted, it would erode the fundamental right of the research participants to make choices.

Academic writing can help develop creativity, in both the generation of novel ideas and the ways to present them. It can be really satisfying when you have identified a fresh perspective or come up with a new interpretation of the research data,” says Dr. Chan.

(by Zhixin Xie, Brad Li)

Divya Gopalan Venkat

Dr. Divya Gopalan Venkat is a Pulmonary and Critical Care physician affiliated with Wayne State University School of Medicine. She is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and currently serves as the Program Director for the Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship Program. In addition to medical education, Dr. Venkat’s clinical areas of interest are pulmonary nodules and advanced diagnostic bronchoscopy, which she performs at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center and serves as the director of the Lung Nodule Program. Her research areas of interest include medical education using simulation and sleep/respiratory physiology. Dr. Venkat completed her training at University Hospitals Case Western Medical Center in Cleveland, OH prior to moving to Detroit, MI where she currently works. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

From Dr. Venkat’s perspective, a good academic paper should have a clear objective and target audience in mind. The paper should be well-written, with subtopics presented in a way to enhance the reader’s understanding of the subject material and aim of the paper. The papers that are the most enjoyable to her are ones that read like a story about any particular topic.

Academic writing often involves evidence synthesis. In Dr. Venkat’s opinion, authors should bear in mind the impact of available evidence when they do a literature review and synthesize the material into their current project. When providing references for any concept in medicine, she finds it helpful to look back and do a historical review of the literature to fully understand the impact and history of the thought process behind it.

Dr. Venkat points out that the institutional review board (IRB) is an important part of clinical research as it serves as an unbiased third party, responsible for reviewing, approving, and regulating any research involving human subjects. If this process is omitted, it could jeopardize not only the safety of the research subjects, but also the quality and credibility of research produced.

It is very challenging to find time to write papers as a clinician-scientist. I allocate time outside of my “hospital time” to write papers, as I like to think of it as a therapeutic exercise. For me, the creative process of writing allows me to understand and appreciate a topic to a degree that is not achievable with any other learning method. I like to think of writing papers as an investment into my own future potential as a physician-scientist,” says Dr. Venkat.

(by Zhixin Xie, Brad Li)