PAME-Health RAB organize Workshops on Medical Writing at KMSMC Sialkot and Avicenna Medical College, Lahore


 PAME-Health RAB organize Workshops on 
Medical Writing at KMSMC Sialkot and
Avicenna Medical College, Lahore

Authors advised to consult a statistician before the start of the
study and carefully read follow Instructions for Authors of
the Journal to which they wish to submit their manuscript

SIALKOT & LAHORE: As a part of its Continuing Medical Education programme, Pakistan Association of Medical Editors (PAME) in collaboration with Health Research Advisory Board (Health RAB) organized workshops on Medical Writing at Khawaja Muhammad Safdar Medical College Sialkot on September 7th and at Avicenna Medical College, Lahore on September 8th 2015. Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Chief Editor of Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences who is also Secretary of Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME) was the facilitator while at Avicenna Medical College Prof. Faisal Nazeer Husain Professor of Orthopedics Surgery and Prof. Mohammad Aslam Prof. of Obstetrics &Gynecology were the Co-facilitators. Dr. Sattar from the Dept. of Microbiology was the local coordinator at KMSMC Sialkot. Both the workshops were accredited for Six CME Credit Hours by the University of Health Sciences, Lahore.

Thirty nine faculty members attended the workshop at KMSMC Sialkot while twenty four faculty members attended the workshop at Avicenna Medical College. Some handouts regarding some basic definitions of terms like incidence, prevalence, P Value, Standard Deviation, Types of studies etc., were circulated among the participants beforehand. These workshops were organized keeping in view the wish of Vice Chancellor of UHS Prof. Major Gen. Muhammad Aslam who is keen to enhance the writing skills of faculty members of all the medical colleges affiliated with UHS and has always provided every possible help and assistance including some logistic facilities for the facilitators for such academic activities.

A view of the workshop on Medial Writing at Khawaja Muhammad Safdar Medical College in progress.

During the workshop the participants were encouraged to actively participate in the discussion. To begin with an overview of the specialty of Journalology was given to the participants and the number of journal being published from different countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region including Pakistan. It was pointed out that it is the incentives and facilities provided to the faculty members in different countries along with training opportunities which has gone a long way in promoting the research culture in those countries. The basic principles of medical writing were discussed in detail in a very simple language to make the participants understand better. It was emphasized that the authors must consult the statistician before planning a study because they will be helpful in determining the adequate sample size for the studies besides helping in interpreting the data.

How to prepare the Performa for collecting of Data, how to do literature search before starting any study were all discussed in detail. The authors were urged to carefully read the Instructions for Authors of the journal in which they wish to send their manuscript for publication. If it is rejected and they wish to submit it to some other journal, they must read the Instructions for Authors of that journal and modify it accordingly before making submission. Some of the basic mistakes made by the authors were highlighted giving various examples to make them understand better. It was also emphasized that they must take Ethics Committee Approval or permission from the Institutional Review Board before starting the study because no good quality standard journal will accept the study for publication without Ethics Committee approval.

The issues concerning authorship also came under discussion and it was emphasized that only those should be listed as authors who are eligible to be an author as per International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) authorship criteria which has been revised in 2013 adding the fourth condition that all the listed authors must be accountable for integrity of the research. Other criteria mentions that the authors must have been actively involved in planning, concept of the study design, collection of data, its analysis and interpretation, they must have intellectually contributed to the study, participated in writing of the manuscript. All those who do not qualify for authorship but have helped in conducting the study in any way can be included in authorship. However, be careful that those enlisted as authors cannot be included in acknowledgement as well. The name of the supervisor if he or she has significantly contributed to the study can be included as author but not as the first author who is the one who has actually conducted the study. 


Participants of the Workshop on Medical Writing held at KMSMC photographed with 
Prof. Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry 
Principal of KMSC and Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid Workshop facilitator.

Always remember that brevity is the beauty of medical writing. There is lot of pressure on limited space available hence always follow the instructions of the journals as regards the length, number of words they accept in various categories i.e. original article, Reviews, Clinical Case Series, Case Reports and Special Communications. How to write a Scientific Paper was then discussed in detail starting from the essential components of an original article, structured abstract which usually consists of four headings i.e. objective, methods, results and conclusions followed by key words. Some journals also use Background before objective. To make it simple, the participants were asked to answer five questions while writing the manuscript once they have completed the study. Why did they do it—it will provide them the objective of the study, how did they do it will cover the methods, what did they find will be their results and what was its relevance and importance and how does your study results compare with other studies will be covered in the Discussion.

While writing the Introduction, provide the information known on the subject under study, identify the gaps in knowledge and rational of the study and then briefly restate the objective of your study. About five to six references are considered good enough in Introduction which can be from two to three paragraphs. While writing Methods, make sure to give complete details of the methods used so that others can replicate it. In case you have used some drugs, give its dosage and schedule and if some solution has been used, describe in detail how you prepared that solution. Inclusion and exclusion criteria, ethics committee approval, time and the place of the study and other demographic details of the study subjects will be covered in this section. If the method is well known, one can just mention that and give its reference which is enough. The statistical methods used will also be mentioned in this section.

Results should be concise and clear what you have found in the study. The text can be supplemented with tables and illustrations which must give the complete information in standalone position and the reader should not feel the need to refer to the text. Then comes the Discussion part in which first you briefly restate you findings and then compare it with other local, national, regional and international studies. The results if comparable or different, both are important. In case your results are different, try to find out the reasons for that difference. May be there was some difference in study protocol, inclusion criteria or some dietary, cultural differences. Point out the strength and weakness of your study, mention the study limitations and call for more research to fill in the gaps which still exists.

While writing references, make sure that they are latest and relevant most of them pertaining to the last five years. While doing literature search one gets too many studies but the authors should be intelligent enough to sort out the most recent and most relevant studies which can be used. For an original article, up to twenty five latest and relevant references are considered good enough while for cast reports and special communications up to ten references are considered enough. Review articles can have much more references which may vary from forty plus to even hundred or so depending on the topic and the scope of the studies already published. As per latest guidelines of ICMJE while writing summary of Review article, the authors are supposed to mention the names of Data Bases searched for extracting the information and the time period as well. Some journals now also mention DOI numbers at the end of references which stands for Digital Object Identifier.

While writing case report, describe the management of an odd case but before writing case report do the literature search to find out how much literature or number of case reports have already appeared on that subject. Whether it is rare and will it be useful for the readers. Hands on activity included how to write the abbreviated names of the journals used in references and how to write the references correctly. Later they were provided the correct answer sheets to compare their answers.


Group photograph of participants of Workshop on Medical Writing held at Avicenna Medical College
photographed with Prof. Gulfreen Waheed Principal of the College and facilitators of the workshop
Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid,
Prof. Faisal Nazeer Husain and Prof.Mohammad Aslam.

Different types of Peer Review i.e. single blind, double blind, Open Peer Review System were also discussed in detail. The reviewer’s it was pointed out help the editors to take a decision whether to accept, reject or ask for revision of the manuscript. However, the final authority to accept or reject the manuscript lies with the Editor who is not only answerable at the end of the day but also has to protect the integrity and credibility of his/her journal. Reviewers comments should help the authors to improve their manuscripts and they must also mention references if they wish the authors to add something new which they have earlier forgotten. It is also possible that the authors may not agree on certain issues with the reviewer and they can challenge giving proper references. It so happens that sometime the authors who have done the study have studied the latest literature while the reviewer may have missed that which is quite possible. The authors were advised not to get disheartened if their manuscripts are not accepted but should try to improve them in the light of the reviewers comment and suggestions. It was also emphasized that it is important to develop a reading habit because generally it is said that to write one page one has to read one hundred pages. Moreoverwriting should not be considered as a punishment but one should enjoy it. When people write under compulsion just to get promotion, it often results in a poor quality manuscript. Some journals do not accept KAP studies or Surveys as it is considered as the lowest quality of research which is good for students and beginners. Always look at the type of manuscripts published by the journal to which you wish to make a submission.

The participants were also asked to fill up the feedback form after the workshop. While most of them appreciated this effort, they also felt that the time was too short and it should have been at least two to three days workshop. Some felt that the Hands on training should be more while others were of the view that this activity should be regularly repeated at two three months interval. Some also suggested that juniors i.e. Registrars and Postgraduates should also be invited to these workshops. Since such a workshop was held for the first time it was not possible to accommodate more people.

The participants were also introduced to various bodies of medical editors like International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) World Association of Medical Editors (WAME), Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME), Asia Pacific Association of Medical Editors (APAME) and the origin of International Committee of Medical Journal Editors which started as a small group also known as the Vancouver Group which met in Vancouver in 1978.

Prof. Zafar Ahmad Chaudhry Principal of Khawaja Muhammad Safdar Medical College also attended the workshop for some time. Later he joined the participants for the group photograph. It was due to his personal interest that the college building has been completed in three years’ time. Various departments have been named in the name of eminent medical personalities like Prof. MAH Siddique, Prof. Gulzar, and Prof. Mushtaq. Clinical Coordinator’s office has been named after late Col. Ellahi Bakhsh the personal physician to the Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. This clinical coordinator lounge/offices has facilities for the clinicians to come, sit and discuss their issues in the college building rather than being confined to the hospital building in the wards. The Physiology Laboratory is being named after Prof. Rose Madan. A big lecture hall has been named after Hero of war in the Sialkot Sector Major Aziz Bhatti Shaheed. A five hundred seating capacity auditorium will be constructed for which digging work has already started and it will be named as Jalaluddn Roomi Auditorium. The college administration has also provided space for boys and girls separately to offer prayers, rest and relax. Finishing work in some parts of the college building is still under progress. The college itself is named after a renowned politician of Sialkot who also served as Speaker of the National Assembly Khawaja Muhammad Safdar.

Earlier before the commencement of workshops, Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid the facilitator introduced the Pakistan Association of Medical Editors whose current President is Dr. FatimaJawed Chief Editor of JPMA while Dr. Jamshed Ahmad Editor of JCPSP is the Secretary. Prof. A. G. Billoo an eminent pediatrician is Chairman and Prof. Abdul Basit a renowned diabetologist and Director of Baqai Institute of Diabetes and Endocrinology (BIDE) affiliated with Baqai Medical University is the Co-Chairman of Health Research Advisory Board (Health RAB) which is an entity established by PharmEvo Pharmaceuticals. The aims and objectives of Health RAB include promoting the art of medical writing, scientific publishing and promoting research culture in Pakistan by professional capacity building of healthcare professionals. Since PAME has the same objectives we cooperate with each otherand always keep up the professional ethics whereby no company name or products are promoted as such workshops.

At the workshop in Lahore, Prof. Gulfreen Waheed, Prof. of Obstetrics and Gynecology who is also principal of the college formally inaugurated the workshop. She thanked PAME and Health RAB for selecting their institution as one of the venues for this important workshop which, she opined, will enlighten the faculty members in the art of medical writing. She hoped that the participants will benefit for this academic activity and it will help improve their writing skills. She further stated that they wish to organize such workshops in future as well on regular basis for which she asked PAME for help and assistance. Later she also took Mr. Shaukat Ali Jawaid the facilitator of the workshop on a brief guided tour of the hospital and medical college. It may be mentioned that they had first established a five hundred bed hospital before establishing the medical college which has been permitted to admit one hundred fifty students every year. The impressive college and hospital building is a testimony to the fact that they had made lot of investment, carefully designed and planned the college, hospital building and the hospital is very well equipped with diagnostic and treatment facilities. The students from Avicenna Medical College has always earned positions from UHS competing with all other affiliated medical colleges which proves the high standard of teaching and training imparted to the students by the devoted and dedicated faculty of Avicenna Medical College.