Nick Thompson Fellowship Award

The Nick Thompson Fellowship Award is intended as recognition of service to EMWA above and beyond the normal responsibilities of the membership or elected offices. The Nick Thompson Fellowship Award confers lifetime free EMWA membership on the elected fellows. You can read the full policy regarding this award by clicking here.

Any active EMWA member can nominate an active member for the award at any time. If you know of an active EMWA member who is deserving of this award, please contact the Chair of the Fellowship Committee by e-mail. This position is currently held by Art Gertel.

About Nick Thompson

Nick Thompson was an active member of EMWA during its early days. Tragically, Nick was killed in a car crash in the winter of 2000. At the banquet of the Montepellier conference in 2001, the President at the time, Keith Veitch, noted sadly the loss of one of our most beloved members and, with the agreement of the Executive Committee, announced the creation of the Nick Thompson Fellowship in his memory.


The latest recipients of the Nick Thompson Fellowship Award


Art Gertel presenting Raquel Billiones with her certificate for the Nick Thompson Fellowship Award for her services to EMWA at the EMWA conference in Berlin in May 2022.


It was a pleasure to recognize a 26-year member, Raquel Billiones, as one who has contributed to the evolution of EMWA in many ways, since becoming a member in 2006. She has worn many different hats: including, as co-founder and co-chair of the medical device special group, which led to establishing the medical device education track. Medical device training has become an integral part of EMWA's curriculum, and nearly all workshops are fully booked, demonstrating the recognition of the value of training in this discipline.

Overall, Raquel has been heavily involved in supporting EMWA's training program. She organized three Expert Seminar Series, a Symposium Day, and has originated and led at least 15 workshops. She has served as a workshop observed and has been an EPDP member since 2020.

Raquel has made substantial contributions to EMWA's journal, Medical Writing. She has been on the editorial board since 2010, has been a section editor and a guest editor of two issues. Moreover, she has written numerous articles for the journal and, last year, she took up the mantle as Editor-in-Chief.

In addition to these activities, Raquel is involved in numerous committee activities: she has been an Honorary Secretary for two years, is a co-founder of the Sustainability SIG, and is currently supporting the Ambassador program, the Medical Device CORE reference, and the Getting into Medical Writing group.

While she may be small in stature (I hope she forgives me for this), Raquel looms large in the EMWA firmament. She makes herself available to all and is much-appreciated for her breadth of knowledge and experience, which she shares willingly. Many members have relied on her guidance and advice over the years, and career paths have been influenced by her insights.

Raquel marshals her energy and dedication to embody the very spirit of the Nick Thompson Fellowship, and it is with great pleasure that we welcome Raquel to the Band of Fellows.

On behalf of the Nick Thompson Fellows,

Art Gretel (Chair)


A professional association’s journal is not just the voice, but also the face, of an organization- connecting with members and non-members, alike. The journal is a living, evolving organism - requiring frequent renewal (every issue) – yet, of necessity, retaining its core essence and identity, issue after issue. The Editor-in-Chief must deploy an impressive array of skills: planning, leadership, project management, inspiration, as well as the ability to identify and motivate contributors (most of whom are already committed to tasks that pay their salaries). After each successful issue, The Editor-in-Chief must start all over again! Phil Leventhal took the helm of EMWA’s journal, Medical Writing (at the time, titled The Write Stuff), in 2011, following Barry Drees’ long and capable stewardship, and has ably guided the journal’s expansion and development, with a thematic focus that serves as an invaluable resource to the profession.

Somehow managing to juggle a young family, his “day job”, and journal responsibilities, Phil has demonstrated not just his many essential skills, but also his unwavering dedication to EMWA.

In recognition of his selfless contributions to the Association, as well as to the profession, EMWA has named Phil as a Nick Thompson Fellow. Please join us in congratulating Phil!

Art Gertel, on behalf of the Nick Thompson Fellows


The Nick Thompson Fellows welcomed James Visanji to their ranks at the EMWA Vienna Conference in May 2019. An EMWA member since 2007, James has been an incredible asset to EMWA over the years and has been an untiring contributor toward making EMWA the vital, thriving, and financially stable organisation we know today.

Most EMWA members are unaware of the tireless behind-the-scenes efforts by James who, having served as Treasurer from 2013-2019, has taken on this thankless role (any volunteers?).  His business sense and pragmatism have served EMWA very well, as has his willingness to tackle difficult situations.

The financial stability achieved under James’ watch has allowed EMWA to keep the membership fee stable for several years now. Further, EMWA was able to expand its educational offerings, and even offer free events such as the Internship Forum/Getting into Medical Writing and the Freelance Business Forum.

In addition, he continues to deliver high quality workshops for regulatory writers, including DDA1a – Writing Global Submission Dossiers and DDF11a – Subject Narratives for Clinical Study.

James has shown a willingness to step forward and give of his time and energy to benefit our members and our profession.

Art Gertel presenting Sam Hamilton with her certificate for the Nick Thompson Fellowship Award for her services to EMWA at the EMWA conference in Barcelona May 2018.


In 2018, Sam Hamilton received the Nick Thompson Fellowship Award for 13 years of dedicated service to EMWA. Sam served on the Executive Committee from 2014 to 2016, as vice president and president.

For EMWA, this was a period of rapid change, during which time EMWA became a far more outward-looking organisation. Sam devoted her time and considerable energy towards achieving a heightened profile for EMWA.  

Key to the advancements Sam secured was her dedication to the CORE Reference project (, providing a new tool to clinical and regulatory writers producing clinical study reports, considering both recent and forthcoming changes to the scientific and regulatory environment. This initiative, conducted jointly with AMWA and with the input of external stakeholders, including regulatory agencies, is not just a key milestone for EMWA, it is expected to shape the work of medical writers for years to come. 

Sam was a strategic thinker and dynamo for EMWA, helping to drive numerous initiatives, serving writers across the spectrum. These included a number of special interest groups (SIGs) and a new stream of conference seminars (the Expert Seminar Series [ESS]) aimed at longstanding writers. These successes have expanded the offerings that EMWA makes to its members, to the benefit of the association and the medical writing community in general. 

Sam was Freelance Advocate for 8 years to 2014 and a longtime contributor to EMWA’s journals, The Write Stuff and Medical Writing, as Section Editor for the freelance section “Out On Our Own” to 2014 and for the Regulatory Public Disclosure Section from 2018. Sam has supported the EMWA education programme as a workshop leader since 2008. 


In 2015, both Wendy Kingdom and Julia Cooper were given this award in thanks for their long-term commitment and contributions to EMWA.

Wendy is a long-time EMWA member - serving tirelessly on the Education Committee and as Education Officer.  The Education Programme represents the core of the EMWA member offerings and it has developed over the years into a robust, multi-disciplinary curriculum due, in no small part to Wendy’s contributions.  Dovetailing with the Education Programme, she is the presenter of four workshops and often teaches two at each conference. Wendy also assumed the office of Treasurer for four years and was involved with the changes of Head Office during turbulent economic times. She was a regular contributor to The Write Stuff and is a Section Editor for the re-named Journal, Medical Writing.

Wendy Kingdom receiving her award from Art Gertel, Chair of the Fellowship Committee.


Julia, one of the founding members of EMWA, served as President, Education Officer, and helped establish the EMWA Professional Development Committee (EPDC), chairing it and shepherding it through its inception and introduction of the EMWA Professional Development Programme (EPDP).  She served as Honorary Secretary for many years and was a key member of the EC when EMWA was transitioning from a rather loosely-structured collaboration among professional medical writers into a formal professional association. Julia served as a member of the Finance Committee and, of course, she has contributed to the backbone of our organisation as a workshop leader.


Both of these long-serving members have been instrumental in establishing EMWA as a premier organization, recognised as an essential resource to the profession.


Previous Nick Thompson Fellowship Award winners

From left:
Marian Hodges
Alistair Reeves
Stephen de Looze
Barbara Grossman
Barry Drees
Elise Langdon-Neuner
Art Gertel




Not shown:
Geoff Hall (deceased)
Wendy Kingdom
Julia Cooper
Julia Forjanic Klapproth
Sam Hamilton


Year                                       Recipient                                            

2001       Geoff Hall and Art Gertel

2002       Barry Drees

2005       Barbara Grossman

2007       Marian Hodges

2009       Stephen de Looze

2011       Elise Langdon-Neuner and Alistair Reeves

2015       Julia Cooper and Wendy Kingdom

2017       Julia Forjanic Klapproth

2018       Sam Hamilton

2019       James Visanji

2021       Phillip Leventhal

2022       Raquel Billiones