Interested in medical writing? This week, our featured physician executive is Barbara Gastel, M.D., M.P.H.
Barbara Gastel, a physician specializing in biomedical writing and editing, is professor of integrative biosciences, humanities in medicine, and biotechnology at Texas A&M University, where she coordinates the master's degree program in science and technology journalism.
Dr. Gastel earned a BA from Yale and an MD and an MPH from Johns Hopkins. After medical school, she did an American Association for the Advancement of Science mass media fellowship at Newsweek. She then worked in communication and administration at the National Institutes of Health. She also has taught science writing at MIT, and she spent two years as visiting professor of technical communication at Beijing Medical University (now Peking University Health Science Center). Before coming to Texas A&M University in 1989, she was assistant dean for teaching at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.
Dr. Gastel is the author of three books: Presenting Science to the Public (ISI Press, 1983), Teaching Science: A Guide for College and Professional School Instructors (Oryx Press, 1991), and Health Writer's Handbook, now in its second edition (Blackwell Publishing, 2005). In addition, she coauthored, with Robert A. Day, the sixth edition of How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (Greenwood Press, 2006). She also has written many articles and chapters on writing, editing, teaching, and medical topics. From 2000 to 2010, she edited Science Editor, the periodical of the Council of Science Editors.
From 1996 through 2007, Dr. Gastel directed the US aspect of a program, funded by the China Medical Board of New York, to teach English-language biomedical writing and editing in Asia. Since 2007, she has been Knowledge Community Editor for AuthorAID at INASP, a program to help researchers in developing countries to write about and publish their work.
Dr. Gastel has received awards from the American Medical Writers Association and the Council of Science Editors, and she is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2006, the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences named her an Honored Editor in the Life Sciences. She is the 2010 recipient of the John P. McGovern Science and Society Award, given by the scientific research society Sigma Xi.