Career Interview: Carolyn Cain, PhD

Medical Writer
MedLogix Communications

ASHG: If you could go back to when you were a trainee, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself for your current career?

Dr. Cain: I would encourage myself to read even more. The best writers I know are voracious readers of the scientific literature and of books for entertainment. The more you read, the more familiar you are with various topics, sentence structures, and vocabulary.

ASHG: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of your job?

Dr. Cain: My favorite part of my job is the variety of projects. I may be developing a genetics manuscript one week and a slide deck for a pain management meeting the next. The following month I may travel to an oncology conference to summarize presentations on recent findings.

Every project is an opportunity to learn and improve. More experienced medical writers have told me that this career that is rarely boring because there are always new data or new therapeutic areas to explore.

However, working on different topics is also a challenge. Research and becoming knowledgeable in a new field can take hard work, and deadlines are tight. I should note that some medical writers are more specialized and their experiences may differ from mine. Overall, I have found medical writing to be intellectually engaging and rewarding.

ASHG: What do you think the future holds for the field of genetics?

Dr. Cain: I think genetics will increasingly play a role in the diagnosis of diseases and in treatment decisions. There will be a need for improved education of medical professionals and the general public on genetics concepts.

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