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  • 30 min Review & 30 min Consultation
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Barbara Gastel

Country: United States of America


Qualification: M.D.; Johns Hopkins University



Communication style

Experienced mentor, will speak slow in easy English, and has interacted with ESL researchers.


  1. Instructor profile
Barbara 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 has authored, with Robert A. Day, the most recent editions of How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper (ABC-CLIO, 2006, 2011, and 2016). 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.
Barbara 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). From 1996 through 2007, Barbara 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. 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 was the 2010 recipient of the John P. McGovern Science and Society Award, given by the scientific research society Sigma Xi. She also received the 2012 Texas A&M University Distinguished Achievement Award for Extension, Outreach, Continuing Education, or Professional Development and the 2015 Texas A&M University Bush Excellence Award for Faculty in Public Service.
Education
  • MD, 1978, Johns Hopkins University
  • MPH, 1978, Johns Hopkins University
  • BA, 1974, Yale, summa cum laude (major: biology/history of medicine)
Honors
  • Texas A&M University Bush Excellence Award for Faculty in Public Service, 2015
  • Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Extension,
  • Outreach, Continuing Education, or Professional Development, 2012
  • John P. McGovern Science and Society Award, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, 2010
  • Council of Science Editors Award for Meritorious Achievement, 2010
  • Honored Editor in the Life Sciences, Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, 2006
  • John P. McGovern Award for Excellence in the Field of Medical Communications, American Medical
  • Writers Association Southwest Chapter, 2006
  • Outstanding Texas A&M Science Communicator, Texas A&M University Chapter of Sigma Xi, 2003
  • Distinguished Service Award, Council of Science Editors, 2002
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, elected 2001
  • Harold Swanberg Distinguished Service Award, American Medical Writers Association, 1998
  • Golden Apple Award, American Medical Writers Association, 1993
  • Fellow, American Medical Writers Association, elected 1991
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1973
Academic and Related Employment
  • 2008–present: Professor of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences and of Humanities in Medicine, Texas A&M University
  • 2004–2008: Associate Professor of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences and of Humanities in Medicine, Texas A&M University
  • 1989–2004: Associate Professor of Journalism and of Humanities in Medicine, Texas A&M University
  • 1985–1989: Assistant Dean for Teaching and Teaching Evaluation and Assistant Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology and International Health, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
  • 1983–1985: Visiting Professor of Technical Communication, Beijing Medical University (now Peking University Health Science Center)
  • 1981–1983: Assistant Professor of Science Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1980–1981: Special Assistant to the Director, National Center for Health Care Technology, US Department of Health and Human Services
  • 1978–1980: Special Assistant, Office of the Director, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health
Review Work
  • Journals: American Journal of Epidemiology, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, Emerging Infectious Diseases, JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, Journal of Health Communication, Journal of Public Health Policy, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, Journalism and Mass Communication Monographs, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, Public Understanding of Science, Science Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, Technology and Culture
  • Book Publishers: Allyn and Bacon, Cambridge University Press, Council of Biology Editors, Harvard University Press, ISI Press, Mayfield Publishing Company, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Oryx Press, Oxford University Press, Routledge (Taylor and Francis), Texas A&M University Press, University of Toronto Press, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
  • Conferences: American Medical Writers Association annual conference, Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication annual convention
  • Granting Agencies: International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications, Smithsonian Institution, University of Alaska Coastal Marine Institute, Washington Sea Grant Program, The Welcome Trust
Select Publications
  • Appiah B, Gastel B, Burdine JN, Russell LH. Science reporting in Accra, Ghana: sources, barriers and motivational factors. Public Understanding of Science 24(1): 23-37, 2015.
  • Gastel B. AuthorAID: an international service and chance to serve. Medical Writing 22: 284-287, 2013.
  • Appiah B, Gastel B, Burdine JN, Russell LH. The future of science journalism in Ghana: evidence-based perspectives. Journal of Science Communication 11(1): C04, 2012; 5 pages. Accessible at http://jcom.sissa.it/archive/11/01/Jcom1101(2012)C01/Jcom1101(2012)C04/Jcom1101(2012)C04.pdf. 2012.
  • Gastel B. Impact of international medical graduates on U.S. and global health care: summary of the ECFMG 50th anniversary international conference. Academic Medicine 81 (Supplement to Number 12): S3-S6, 2006.
  • Gastel B. Concurrent sessions: exploring issues relating to international medical graduates. Academic Medicine 81 (Supplement to Number 12): S63-S68, 2006.
  • Gastel B. Hosting a biomedical communication intern: from idea through implementation. AMWA [American Medical Writers Association] Journal 21: 97-101, 2006.
  • Gastel B. Publishing excellent conference reports: editors and reporters share advice. Science Editor 25: 118-121, 2002.
  • Whalen E, Gastel B. Science editing and caregiving: experience and guidance. Science Editor 24: 114-119, 2001.
  • Gastel B. 1999 Council of Biology Editors Annual Meeting. [Conference summary.] Serials Review 25(4): 7-10, 1999.
  • Gastel B. Summer reading for science editors. CBE Views 22: 76-78, 1999.
  • Gastel B. Improving the social responsiveness of medical schools: summary of the conference.
  • Academic Medicine 74 (Supplement to Number 8): S3-S7, 1999.
  • Gastel B. Gifts for and from editors: thoughts from CBE members. CBE Views 21: 206-207, 1998.
  • Gastel B. Medical writers' delegation visits Russia, Estonia. CBE Views 21: 90, 1998.
  • Gastel B. Teaching key groups to communicate science to nonspecialists. CBE Views 20(3): 82-85, 1997.
  • Gastel B, Moore JE. Resources on popular science communication. CBE Views 20(3): 96-99, 1997.
  • Gastel B. Medical writers' visit to China and Mongolia: delegation leader's diary. AMWA Journal 11(2): 19-25, 1996.
  • Gastel B. Biomedical editing in China and Mongolia: glimpses from a recent visit. CBE Views 19(2): 3-5, 1996.
  • Gastel B. Toward a global consensus on quality medical education: serving the needs of populations and individuals: summary of the consultation. Academic Medicine 70 (Supplement to Number 7): S3-S7, 1995.
  • Acuff GR, Albanese RA, Batt CA, Berndt DL, Byers FM, Dale BE, Denton JH, Fuchs RL, Gastel B, Heidelbaugh ND, Ivie GW, Kendall K, Kopchick JJ, Lewis DH, McCasland FV, Menning EL, Phillips TD, Potter ME, Rodricks JV, Scholl DR, Shadduck JA, Tarnowski SJ, Tillotson JE, Van Dresser WR, Womack JE. Implications of biotechnology, risk assessment, and communications for the safety of foods of animal origin. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 199: 1714-1721, 1991.
  • Gastel B. A strategy for reviewing books for journals. BioScience 41: 635-637, 1991. (Reprinted: CBE Views 16: 50-52, 1993; Plant Science Bulletin 40: 79-81, 1994.)
  • Gastel B. A menu of approaches for evaluating your teaching. BioScience 41: 342-345, 1991.
  • Gastel B. An award program for teaching excellence. Academic Medicine 66: 192-193, 1991.
  • Gastel B. Book reviewing: confessions, commendations, and cravings of an addict. CBE Views 14: 3-6, 1991.
  • Gastel B, Weng YQ. Medical journals in China. Annals of Internal Medicine 112: 70-72, 1990.
  • Gastel B. Writing for HMO Practice. HMO Practice 3: 158-160, 1989.
  • Gastel B. Teaching biomedical communication in China: reflections on two years' experience. CBE Views 10: 19-21, 1987.
  • Gastel B (with Chien SC, translator). (Article on writing scientific papers.) JAMA (Chinese edition) 6: 309-310, 1987.
  • Gastel B (with Chien SC, translator). Notes on biomedical communication. 1. Some introductory comments. 2. Writing clearly in English. JAMA (Chinese edition) 5: 66-68, 1986.
  • Gastel B. Abel and onward: some early history of hemodialysis. Medical Instrumentation 20: 62-64, 1986.
  • Gastel B, Jaffe ER. Research in hematology: progress and promise. Blood 62: 932-936, 1983.
  • Gastel B, Cornoni-Huntley J, Brody JA. Estrogen use and postmenopausal women: a basis for informed decisions. Journal of Family Practice 11: 851-860, 1980.
  • Gastel B, Brody JA. The use of estrogens by postmenopausal women: a review of the issues. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Gerontology 1: 217-229, 1979.
  • Butler RN, Gastel B. Aging and cancer management. Part II: research perspectives. Ca--A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 29: 333-340, 1979.
  • Butler RN, Gastel B. Hearing and age: research challenges and the National Institute on Aging. Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology 88: 676-683, 1979.
  • Gastel B. Measles: a potentially finite history. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences 28: 34-44, 1973.
Teaching Grants
  • University Scholars Mentorship Grants, Honors Program, Texas A&M University, Spring and Fall 2006 and Spring 2007 ($500 per semester)
  • College of Liberal Arts Honors Course Grant, Texas A&M University, 2005 ($1,000)
  • Honors Curriculum Development Grant, Texas A&M University, 1992 ($2,000)
Teaching Awards
  • 2002 Class Friend Award, Class of 2002, Texas A&M College of Medicine
  • 1997 Graduate Student Council Faculty Excellence Award, Texas A&M University
  • 1987 Award for Outstanding Dedication to Quality Teaching, presented by classes of 1989 and 1990, UCSF School of Medicine
Encyclopedia Entries
  • Gastel B. Career paths, medical writing/medical journalism. In: Priest SH, ed. Encyclopedia of Science and Technology Communication. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, 2010: 111-113.
  • Gastel B. Medical journalism. In: Priest SH, ed. Encyclopedia of Science and Technology Communication. Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, 2010: 473-475.
Select Book Reviews/Other Reviews
  • The Story Within: Personal Essays on Genetics and Identity. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education 20(2): 45-46, 2014.
  • A History of the Present Illness: Stories. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education 20(2): 44-45, 2014.
  • Crash: A Mother, a Son, and the Journey from Grief to Gratitude. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education 19(2): 44, 2013.
  • Visual Strategies: A Practical Guide to Graphics for Scientists & Engineers. Science Editor 36: 59, 61, 2013.
  • Conversations for Paco. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education 19(1): 48, 2013.
  • Twelve Breaths a Minute: End-of-Life Essays. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education 18(1): 55-56, 2012.
  • Becoming a Doctor: From Student to Specialist, Doctor-Writers Share Their Experiences. Annals of Behavioral Science and Medical Education 17(2): 50, 2011.
  • Scientific Writing = Thinking in Words. Science Communication 33: 408-409, 2011.
  • Hyping Health Risks: Environmental Hazards in Daily Life and the Science of Epidemiology. New England Journal of Medicine 360: 548-549, 2009.
  • Climate Chaos: Your Health at Risk: What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family. Science Communication 30: 415-417, 2009.
  • Narrative Matters: The Power of the Personal Essay in Health Policy. Science Editor 31: 54, 2008.
  • Dictionary of Medical Biography. New England Journal of Medicine 357: 1166, 2007.
  • An Introduction to Clinical Emergency Medicine. AMWA Journal 22: 38, 2007.
  • Embargoed Science. Science Editor 30: 22-23, 2007.
  • The Great Stink of Paris and the Nineteenth-Century Struggle against Filth and Germs. New England Journal of Medicine 355: 2051, 2006.
  • Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers. Science Communication 28: 274-277, 2006.
  • A Field Guide for Science Writers. 2nd ed. Science Editor 29: 160-161, 2006.
  • Pentothal Postcards. New England Journal of Medicine 353: 2414-2415, 2005.
  • The Elements of International English Style. Science Editor 28: 160-161, 2005.
  • Ideas into Words: Mastering the Craft of Science Writing. Science Editor 27: 93-94, 2004.
  • Mavericks, Miracles, and Medicine: The Pioneers Who Risked Their Lives to Bring Medicine into the Modern Age. New England Journal of Medicine 350: 91-92, 2004.
  • Writing, Speaking, and Communication Skills for Health Professionals. Science Editor 26: 97-98, 2003.
  • Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science. Science Editor 25: 201-202, 2002.
  • The Best American Science Writing 2000 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2000. Science Editor 24: 199-200, 2001.
  • Writing in the Sciences: Exploring Conventions of Scientific Discourse. Science Editor 23: 18, 2000.
  • Improve, Perfect, and Perpetuate: Dr. Nathan Smith and Early American Medical Education. New England Journal of Medicine 340: 1601, 1999.
  • Her-2: The Making of Herceptin, a Revolutionary Treatment for Breast Cancer. CBE Views 22: 87-88, 1999.
  • What Do Authors Do? (children's book). CBE Views 22: 52, 1999.
  • Medical Meanings: A Glossary of Word Origins. CBE Views 21: 122, 1998.
  • The Best Intentions: Unintended Pregnancy and the Well-Being of Children and Families and Dubious Conceptions: The Politics of Teenage Pregnancy. Orgyn 8(4): 55-56, 1997.
  • Successful Scientific Writing: A Step-by-Step Guide for Biomedical Scientists. CBE Views 19: 157, 1996.
  • Evaluating Women's Health Messages: A Resource Book. New England Journal of Medicine 335: 359, 1996.
  • On Being a Doctor. CBE Views 18: 98, 1995.
  • Women's Health--Missing from U.S. Medicine. New England Journal of Medicine 332: 1386-1387, 1995.
  • A Short Guide to Writing About Biology. 2nd ed. BioScience 44: 621-622, 1994.
  • Sentinel for Health: A History of the Centers for Disease Control. New England Journal of Medicine 328: 671, 1993.
  • Communicating Science: A Handbook. American Scientist 81: 200, 1993.
  • Philip Morrison's Long Look at the Literature: His Reviews of a Hundred Memorable Science Books. CBE Views 14: 99-100, 1991.
  • Reporting Science: The Case of Aggression. Journalism Quarterly 67: 1142-1143, 1990.
  • News and Numbers: A Guide to Reporting Statistical Claims and Controversies in Health and Related Fields; and Health Risks and the Press: Perspectives on Media Coverage of Risk Assessment and Health. New England Journal of Medicine 322: 560, 1990.
  • Shaping Written Knowledge: The Genre and Activity of the Experimental Article in Science. CBE Views 12: 70, 1989.
  • Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences; The Basics of Technical Communicating; and Writing for Your Peers: The Primary Journal Paper. BioScience 39: 401-402, 1989.
  • Learning to Heal: The Development of American Medical Education. BioScience 37: 358-359, 1987.
  • The Loss of Self: A Family Resource for the Care of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders. New York Times Book Review March 23: 47, 1986.
  • Journal of General Internal Medicine. American College of Physicians Observer March: 18-19, 1986.
  • Paul Ehrlich: Scientist for Life. BioScience 35: 668, 1985.
  • Encounters with Qi: Exploring Chinese Medicine. New York Times Book Review October 13: 16, 1985.
  • Presentation of Data in Science. Chinese Medical Journal 98: 310, 1985.
  • Heart Attacks (film). Science Books & Films November/December: 112, 1983.
  • The Disease Detectives: Deadly Medical Mysteries and the People Who Solved Them; and A Virus of Love and Other Tales of Medical Detection. New England Journal of Medicine 309: 864-865, 1983.
  • Salt: The Hidden Threat (film). Science Books & Films May/June: 291, 1983.
  • The Hunt for the Legion Killer (film). Science Books & Films January/February: 164, 1983.
  • High Blood Pressure: What It Means to You, and How to Control It. Science Books & Films January/February: 139, 1983.
  • A Celebration of Medical History. New England Journal of Medicine 307: 322, 1982.
  • Sex Education in the Eighties: The Challenge of Healthy Sexual Evolution; Children and Sex: New Findings, New Perspectives; and Sexual Expression: A Manual for Trainers. New England Journal of Medicine 306: 1243, 1982.
  • Sourcebook of Medical Communication. New England Journal of Medicine 306: 377, 1982.
  • Traveling Healthy: A Complete Guide to Medical Services in 23 Countries. Ladycom June: 17, 1981.
  • Writing for Communication in Science and Medicine. Johns Hopkins Medical Journal 147: 202-203, 1980.
  • Medicine and Literature. Forum on Medicine 3: 486-487, 1980.
  • Aging, Death, and the Completion of Being. Forum on Medicine 2: 635, 638, 1979.
  • Psychiatry for Students of Medicine. Johns Hopkins Medical Journal 140: 327-328, 1977.
  • Multiple reviews in Appraisal: Science Books for Young People.

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