FOCUS Writing Group (FWG)

writing group

The FOCUS Writing Group (FWG) is a structured workshop providing junior woman faculty with tools to become more successful in producing peer reviewed publications. The curriculum addresses common barriers to scholarly productivity and provides "peer mentoring" to encourage participants to write more efficiently and easily as part of a dedicated group mission. This workshop is focused on manuscript writing, NOT grant writing. The FWG meets once every 3 weeks for 10 sessions and cover topics including writing basics, finding and making time to write, selecting a title, journal selection, what goes in the discussion section, etc. The schedule of topics for 2008-09 appears below. Participants must commit to attending and participating in sessions.

This workshop was developed by two FOCUS Advisory Committee members, Drs. Karin McGowan and Seema Sonnad, both senior women medical faculty who are devoted to mentoring junior faculty. Drs. McGowan and Sonnad have facilitated these small group writing workshops since 2005, and participants have reported significant improvements including increased submissions and publications. The FWG provides guidance and useful tools for writing and also offers an opportunity for junior faculty to connect with each other for support, reviews, and advice.

Participants are accepted through an application process which is announced in early fall. The schedule and timing of the sessions are developed collaboratively by participants of each group.

Due to its use for women junior faculty enrolled in the NIH-TAC Trial, the FOCUS Writing Group is temporarily suspended as of 2010.

FOCUS Writing Group Facilitators:

Karin McGowan, PhD <bio>
Director, Clinical Microbiology
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Professor, Department of Pediatrics
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Seema S. Sonnad, PhD <bio>
Director of Outcomes Research for the Department of Surgery
Associate Professor, Surgery
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

FWG Schedule (2008-2009 cycle)

Session 1: Expectations and Writing Rules
Date: October 14, 2008

Session 2: Writing Rules, Deadlines, General
Date: November 11, 2008

Session 3: Outlines & Getting Started; Choosing Co-authors
Date: December 2, 2008

Session 4: Journal Selection & Choosing Reviewers; Timelines & Planning
Date: December 23, 2008

Session 5: Distractions, Writer's Block, Obstacles (including mentor issues, clinical work)
Date: January 13, 2009

Session 6: Titles
Date: February 3, 2009

Session 7: Tables, Figures, Statistical Issues
Date: February 24, 2009

Session 8: Writing the Discussion Section
Date: March 17, 2009

Session 9: Bibliography, References, & Other Content/Style Issues
Date: April 7, 2009

Session 10: Efficient Revise & Resubmit; Resurrecting Old Manuscripts
Date: April 28, 2009