See also ClarityWritingandEditing.com
Meet the Author - The Reflux Book
My name is Elizabeth Pulsifer-Anderson. Beth Anderson for short. I am the author of The Reflux Book: A Parent's Guide to Gastroesophageal Reflux.
I have worked in the non-profit arena for medical, environmental and consumer groups. I had my first exposure to the world of reflux when Katie was only twelve hours old and choked. Later, it became obvious that my son, Chris, had significant issues with reflux as a baby but was not diagnosed until much later.
In 1992, I started a small support group as a way of getting help dealing with all the night waking, food refusal and constant crying. That small support group has taken on a life of its own and eighteen years later I am still the Executive Director of the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association. I am the author of several medical journal articles. I am the content administrator for www.reflux.org and the editor of Reflux Digest.
Why did I write the book? Because I was told by the staff at Children's National that they had a document with "everything you need to know about reflux" but they couldn't find it. My daughter was in the hospital for three days and I begged endlessly for a copy of this miraculous document. Just to keep from going crazy, I wrote down all the things I had learned about caring for a baby with reflux. As we were leaving, I finally got a copy of the miraculous document. Are you ready? Here it is....
By the time I got this, I had half filled a notebook.
I would love feedback on the book. It is printed in small batches and will be updated slightly each time. Please let me know if you find something that could be improved! Click the link on the left menu to send me an e-mail. My phone number is 213-9533. Area code 301. Or write to Intensive Care Parenting, 404 Wheaton Place, Apt C. Catonsville, MD 21228.
Freelance Writing Assignments:
I do freelance writing when I'm not writing about GERD or fixing up my old house. I've landed most of my writing gigs through friends of friends. Let me know if you have a project I could help with. I adore explaining difficult concepts in Plain English.
Do you have a consumer web site, brochures or flyers?
Do you find it challenging to describe medical/scientific information without using jargon?
Do the professionals in your organization spew facts at reporters rather than telling stories?
Do you need materials written at an eighth grade level? Fifth grade? No literacy?
Can you use my help?
Samples of my work can be found here:
- Tardive Dyskinesia is a bizarre and complicated medical topic that baffles many doctors. I wrote this article about tardive dyskinesia after meeting several children who had this problem. It appeared in Practical Gastroenterology, a peer-reviewed medical journal. The reviewers were experts on TD and were thrilled to have a good overview for physicians that is clear enough for consumers to read. The article was well received by the medical community - At one point, it was illegally re-posted on over a dozen web sites such as Medical News Today.
- Helping Families Understand and Manage Pediatric Gastroesophageal Reflux was requested by the editors of Zero To Three, a journal for professionals in early childhood education and early intervention. It has become one of their most popular articles. This article is more formal than my other writing samples and uses AP style with lots of citations.
- I read a very important journal article about reflux medicines causing necrotizing enterocolits. The study was fascinating, but the journal article was too complicated for many health professionals to read. I called the author and asked if I could re-write her study for nurses and parents. We published it in Neonatal Network. Here are the two versions. Version #1 by Ronnie Guillet. Version #2 by Beth and Ronnie.
- USA Today has pull-out sections focused on a specific topic. I helped frame up a recent section on Digestive Diseases and wrote the lead article. My media training came in handy here. Compare my writing to the one written by the director of the IBS group.
- I didn't write this article for the Journal of the American Medical Association, but I helped come up with the "crazy" concept of inherited GERD and I'm listed as an author. If you don't have a degree in molecular genetics, reading the original can make your eyes bleed. In this article from Reflux Digest, I explain the ramifications of the genetic discovery. It isn't exactly a translation - more of an explanation.
- Of course you can always to go www.reflux.org and see my writing. The newsletters are the best writing examples since I'm the editor and the primary writer. I collect a vast amount of information, select articles on a theme or to appeal to new members and old-timers. Then I summarize the information in Plain English. You can find back issues of Reflux Digest in the READING ROOM, at the bottom.
- This article on proteomics has more tables than text. http://genomemedicine.com/content/pdf/gm169.pdf If you don't have a science background, it is very difficult to read. Here is my summary in simpler language. It was written for doctors so it isn't as easy to read as most of my writing.
- This is called a "Featurette." It is a short article that is designed to be used by small newspapers that need to fill space. This one was issued in Spanish and English and was used by several hundred newspapers and web sites.
- Click on the CV below to see more of my writing.
As part of my work with PAGER, I received media training from a big NYC Public Relations firm. It reinforced my natural tendency to express an idea in short, meaningful stories. I challenge myself to present information as short and sweet as possible. (I come from a family that tells the LONG version of every story.)
I love helping reporters understand complex topics and they love my communication style. Here are a few examples:
Keep it Simple:
I'm very good at a style of writing that has become known as Plain Language. This means I never use jargon or 3-dollar-words when a simple term will work just as well.
I've lived in other countries and was formerly fluent in German and Spanish and I spoke basic French. I've also lived in parts of the US that are semi-foreign countries. I learned to avoid phrases and concepts that don't translate well. When speaking with people from other places, I find it very easy to speak slower and strip out all of the jargon, idioms and colloquialisms.
I also tailor my language to the audience. For example, I might use "jury-rigging" with my sailing friends, "baling wire" with friends from home, "McGuyvering" with my kids and "chewing gum and duct tape" with people who are not native English speakers.
I love to teach. I've conducted in-services for pediatricians and I speak to audiences ranging from pregnant teens to nurses. I love an informal format but I've also lectured in halls so large they had Jumbotrons. When giving one speech about GERD to congressional wives, I gave them the basic info, told three touching stories about real families and had them reaching for their hankies - - in less than three minutes!