ACES Evolve 2023

Beyond Do No Harm: Medical Editing for Inclusivity | Vee White, Toni Willis

Despite rapid scientific and technological advancements, medical language can be slow to evolve to reflect changing understanding and sensibilities. Although its ideal is to “do no harm,” medicine has a long history of bias and discrimination in practice and research. Medical editors should have an acute understanding of that past and present to form an accurate and transparent approach to inclusive language. This session will focus on what it means to have inclusive medical content and its complexities, how to select appropriate terminology, recommendations for querying, and available resources beyond the AMA style guide.

IntermediateAll editors, Students, Freelance editors, Book editors, News editors, Technical, medical editors, Words and Language


Vee White provides developmental editing, copyediting, and fact checking at Vee White Editorial, specializing in medical content. With about 15 years’ experience, they have worked at and with publishers, nonprofits, and businesses, as well as directly for authors. Vee is leading the New Editors Guide Task Force for ACES and is a member of the D&I Assessment Task Force for the American Medical Writers Association. They received an inaugural ACES Richard S. Holden Diversity Fellowship and founded the LGBTQ+ Editors Association. They also coauthored an international survey on plagiarism with Andrea Klingler and are currently presenting and disseminating the results.

Toni Willis is a medical editor at RTI Health Solutions, where she edits medical research proposals and client-facing medical deliverables. She has also worked in book, magazine, and journal editing, engaging with a wide variety of scientific and literary content for diverse audiences. Currently, she is Co-Chair of the Black Employee Resource Group at RTI, and along with Vee, a member of the D&I Assessment Task Force for the American Medical Writers Association.

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