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May 24, 2021

Writing content for other physicians

Yasmine S. Ali, M.D.

If you enjoy writing, editing and fact checking, you could add CME content development to your CV. - Photo by Keith M. Sturges

Name: Yasmine S. Ali, M.D., Cardiologist

Education

Undergraduate: Vanderbilt University

Postgraduate: Vanderbilt University Medical School

Residency: University of Virginia Health System

Fellowship: Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Ali is a medical writer and editor with extensive experience in multiple media, including prescriptive nonfiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. She is also a medical consultant specializing in cardiovascular medicine, clinical lipidology and health care in addition to many other areas.

Ali is chief editor of the atherosclerosis section of Medscape Reference Drugs and Diseases and chief editor of Medscape’s congenital heart disease section. In addition to serving in many other capacities, she has been a medical editor, writer, and CME speaker for MedStudy, Inc., specializing in the creation and revision of board review materials in the fields of internal medicine and pediatrics. Physicians interested in learning more about CME content development can contact Ali at yasminealimd.com.

What’s involved in developing CME content?

CME writing involves textbooks, online texts and reference materials. A CME content development physician may also perform medical editing. Someone else may have put the materials together and need a medical reviewer. A CME company may come to you to consult about what should go into the content and what the hot topics are. Each company has its own request. One may want content development; another may want me to map out strategies for an entire curriculum. At one point, I just focused on editing. I think that’s the easiest way to start in this field if a physician wants to get paid for CME work. With medical editing or medical review, the content has already been produced and a physician needs to put an eye on it to make sure it’s accurate. That’s where I did my CME work for several years. It was really rewarding and taught me a lot; however, you have to be prepared to catch errors and be alert for fact checking.

What do you like most about developing CME content?

I like the opportunity to influence the education of my fellow physicians. I’ve always enjoyed medical education and love teaching, so that sums up the heart of everything I do. I like to help physicians be their best. That’s what CME is all about.

How can other physicians become CME content developers?

That’s really difficult to answer, because it depends on what aspect of CME you’re interested in and what your goals are. Are you trying to get a little experience or trying to make a business or career out of it?

You can start by creating your own presentation to give at a local or regional medical or specialty society. You can start by writing review articles for journals that are published for CME credit. If you go to a website such as LinkedIn and type in search terms, several opportunities will pop up. Some of the terms could be "physician editor," "CME editor," "CME writer" or "CME physician." Just type in "CME content development" and see what comes up. It’s something you can do and still practice.

What advice would you give to interested physicians?

You really have to like reading and writing. There will be times that you spend alone at your desk and computer. It’s not the same as seeing patients. Although, it will help you when seeing patients especially if you’re doing CME in your field. It will make you a better physician because you will be up to date.

Developing CME content is more of an introverted activity, and you have to be OK with that. You have to read literature and research.

If you get asked to review something that has already been written, you need to be able to know if there are updated guidelines that need to be included and how you would search for those guidelines. You need to know how to find that information online.



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