Ciranna Bird's Writing Portfolio Samples


I am a freelance farm and food safety writer focused on website content, infectious disease prevention and educating the public on the health aspects of meat, dairy, and eggs collected from animals that were raised humanely.
Below are a few portfolio samples of conferences I've covered, foodborne bacteria protocols, website content as well as an opportunity to sign up for the quarterly NC Farm and Food Safety electronic newsletter.

Conference Coverage Articles

The Medical Writer's Role in Helping Patients make Health Care Decisions

AMWA Medical Writing & Communication Conference
Denver, Colorado
October 7, 2016

I was chosen as a conference reporter for the 2016 Medical Writing & Communication Conference to cover the open session "The Medical Writer's Role in Helping Patients Make Health Care Decisions." I conducted a follow-up interview with the presenter, Kathi Whitman, MA who is a Project Manager at Intermountain Healthcare. My article was published in the AMWA Journal/V31 N4/2016 on page 164 and is also available online for AMWA members.



Highlights of the 2016 Carolina Food Summit

Rock Quarry Farm, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
September 29, 2016

In September, I attended the Carolina Food Summit: Plates, Policy, and Place. My blog article covers the Conversation Sparks: Hunger, Change, Flavor, Policy, and Sustainability panel and is available at my www.cirannabird.com/NC-foodblog.html page.

Highlights of the 2016 Piedmont Grown Annual Conference

Raleigh, North Carolina
March 10, 2016

In March, I attended the Piedmont Grown Annual Conference. My blog article shares the pieces of wisdom provided by the keynote speaker and provides an overview of the intermediate food buyers First Hands Food, Farmer Foodshare and the Sandhills Farm to Table Cooperative. The full-length article is available at my www.cirannabird.com/NC-foodblog.html page.

The Launch of the Durham Farm and Food Network

Durham, North Carolina
January 8, 2016

January 8th I attended the Launch of the Durham Farm and Food (DFF) Network. My blog article shares the excitement of learning how this new food council will promote healthy communities, environmental stewardship and economic development in Durham County. The full-length article is available at my www.cirannabird.com/NC-foodblog.html page.

The NC Choices Carolina Meat Conference and Small-scale Meat Production

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
October 12, 2015

In October 2015 I attended the two-day NC Choices Carolina Meat Conference. My blog article covers the following panel presentations: What’s the Buzz? Examining the Controversy over Production Practices; Inspected and Exempt Poultry: Options and Obstacles; Heritage Breeds and Pasture-Based Pork Carcass Quality: Research and Field Update. The full-length article is available at my www.cirannabird.com/NC-foodblog.html page.

Generate YouTube Videos: Propel Your ... Business and Be of Service

AMWA-DVC 13th Annual Freelance Conference
King of Prussia, Philadelphia
March 28, 2015

I was a conference reporter at the American Medical Writers Association Annual Freelance Conference. After attending the "The New Social Media: Using YouTube to Run Your Entire Social Media & Brand in 4 Hours a Week" presentation, I interviewed attendees and conducted a follow-up interview with the presenter, Mary Agnes Antonopoulos. My article "Generate YouTube Videos Propel Your Freelance Medical Writing Business and Be of Service:" was published in the Delawriter Spring 2015 newsletter.



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Foodborne bacteria

Raw Egg Quiz self-scoring answer key

Author:Ciranna Bird
raw egg in frying pan

Question 1-2: Intentionally eating raw cake batter or raw homemade cookie dough
If you answered “yes” to question 1 or question 2 … you are willfully eating raw eggs and raw flour.


Question 3-5: Runny egg yolks, unpasteurized egg drinks, mayonnaise, etc.
If you answered “yes” or “I don’t know” to questions 3, 4, or 5… you are eating raw eggs whether or not you intend to. If you are unlucky, one of these raw eggs may contain the bacteria Salmonella. Explore the symptoms of a Salmonella infection.


Question 6-8: The habits of the people cooking and preparing your food.
If you answered “no” or “I don’t know” to questions 6, 7, or 8 … your food most likely is being prepared unsafely. You may be eating raw eggs without your knowledge. If you are unlucky, one of these raw eggs may contain the bacteria Salmonella. Explore the symptoms of a Salmonella infection.


Salmonella infection symptoms

People more likely to get a severe case of Salmonella infection include: adults older than 60 years of age, children who are 5 years old and younger, and people with weakened immune systems due to organ transplants, cancer, diabetes, or HIV/AIDS.


These are the symptoms of a shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infection.

Children younger than 5 years of age and adults older than 60 years of age are more likely than others to develop serious illness and life-threatening complications from a STEC infection.


Return to the Raw Egg Quiz


References:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014, October 16). Braenderup Infections Linked to Nut Butter. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/braenderup-08-14/signs-symptoms.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016, August 25). Salmonella. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/general/index.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, May 5). Shiga Toxin-Producing E. coli & Food Safety. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/ecoliinfection/index.html
Medscape. (2012, Dec 17). Suspecting Foodborne Illnesses in Special Populations: Quick Facts for Providers. Retrieved from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/775976?src=par_cdc_stm_mscpedt&faf=1
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2016, July 6). Raw Dough's a Raw Deal and Could Make You Sick. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm508450.htm

Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) - Example 1

SOP EN.003 version 2
Effective Date: 11/29/2012
Author: Ciranna Bird

Purpose: Instructs laboratory analysts on how to isolate Shigella bacterium from clinical samples

Employer: MA Department of Public Health

My role:

This standard operating procedure (SOP) excerpt is part of a public record reproduced with permission from the Department of Public Health. The SOP is subject to copyright held by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Content is for informational purposes only.

Introduction & Clinical Significance

State and federal public health officials rely on the MDPH State Laboratory Institute (SLI) Enteric Laboratory to confirm the presence and characterize Shigella isolated from clinical samples. In addition to providing a brief background on the pathogenesis and transmission of Shigella, this section will highlight the Enteric laboratory's role in data surveillance and outbreak detection.

People infected with Shigella may or may not be asymptomatic. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps, usually within 24 - 48 hours after exposure to the bacteria. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, Shigella are present in the diarrheal stools of infected persons while they are sick and for up to a week or two afterwards. (CDC, shigellosis)

Shigella has a low infectious dose; according to a dose-response study an exposure of 0.07-0.01 organisms for 1-day of exposure can cause infection (Crockett, 1996). Although infection can be caused by ingestion of contaminated food or exposure to contaminated water, most transmission is person-to-person. According to the CDC, "most Shigella infections are the result of the bacterium passing from stools or soiled fingers of one person to the mouth of another person. …This happens when basic hygiene and handwashing habits are inadequate …and is particularly likely to occur among toddlers who are not fully toilet-trained.” (CDC, shigellosis)

During food-borne outbreaks, the SLI Enteric Laboratory receives original stool specimens from food-handlers, child-care workers and/or possible contacts of known cases of shigellosis. If Shigella is isolated from these clinical samples, then the food handlers and/or child-care workers are prevented from returning to work until they have cleared their infection. The detection of Shigella by SLI laboratory analysts helps public health officials – local boards of public health, food protection personnel and epidemiologists – break the transmission of Shigella.

There are four subgroups of Shigella, which are historically treated as species. Subgroup A is referred to as S. dysenteriae; subgroup B as S. flexneri; subgroup C as S. boydii, and subgroup D as S. sonnei. Shigella dysyenteriae produces Shiga toxin and causes a severe form of illness. Analysts in the SLI Enteric Laboratory use biochemical characteristics and antisera agglutinations to distinguish between the 43 Shigella serotypes.

When a hospital or private clinical laboratory located in Massachusetts detects Shigella from a patient sample, they are mandated by law to notify the Department of Public Health and submit the isolate for further testing. (CMR, Section 300.000) Upon analysis of the isolates, the SLI Enteric laboratory reports the Shigella species and serotype to CDC as part of the national passive surveillance of laboratory-confirmed human Shigella infections.

. . .


Procedures – References

Crockett CS, Haas CN, Fazil A, et al: Prevalence of shigellosis in the U.S.: Consistency with dose-response information. Int J Food Microbiol 30:87, 1996.

CDC. Shigellosis. http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/shigellosis/

The Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 111, sections 3, 6, 7, 109, 110, 111 and 112 and Chapter 111D, Section 6 are implemented by regulation under Chapter 105, Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR), Section 300.000: Reportable Diseases, Surveillance, and Isolation & Quarantine Requirements.


Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) - Example 2

SOP EN.018 version 1
Effective Date: 2010
Author: Enteric Laboratory

Purpose: Educates laboratory analysts on the proper procedure for sending verotoxigenic E.coli, Shigella, Camplobacter, and Salmonella typhi to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Employer: MA Department of Public Health

My role:

This standard operating procedure (SOP) excerpt is part of a public record reproduced with permission from the Department of Public Health. The SOP is subject to copyright held by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Content is for informational purposes only.

Background, Introduction

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA serves as the reference lab for the Hinton State Lab (HSLI). They are a CLIA certified facility (CLIA Identification number 11D0668319). Any isolate or human specimen submitted to the HSLI that cannot be definitely identified as an enteric pathogen in accordance with the SOP for that pathogen is sent to CDC for confirmation and/or additional testing. Additionally, some isolates are requested by CDC for additional testing such as antimicrobial susceptibility or MLVA when they are unique or part of an outbreak.

Objective, Purpose

The purpose of this document is to describe the steps taken when submitting an isolate to the CDC for identification or for confirmation, or when requested by CDC for additional testing such as antimicrobial susceptibility or MLVA.

Scope

This document applies to all members of the Foodborne Disease Surveillance Laboratories Enteric Unit and Molecular Subtyping Unit who are responsible for submitting isolates to the CDC for additional testing.

Only staff who have been certified in packaging and shipping can prepare the package for shipping. This is a certification that is renewed every 2 years.


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Safety documents

Compliance Checklist

Description: Two-sided packaging checklist

Purpose: Prevented thousand dollars of fines. Ensured safety of laboratory analysts, and employees of UPS®, FedEx®, and the United States Postal Service (USPS) during the transport of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, E. coli O157, and the pandemic A (H1N1)2009 influenza virus.

Employer: MA Department of Public Health

My role:

Checklist thumbnail Select picture to see full-size image.


Download the checklist (PDF, 2.3MB).


Triage and Test Prioritization of Suspicious Environmental Specimens

Description: Guidance document: Instructs fire chiefs, police officers and Hazardous Material responders how to collect, notify, and transport items suspected of being a biological or chemical threat

Employer: MA Department of Public Health

My role: My edits increased clarity.

Download the original document (PDF) which has 12 editing comments.


Download the edited document (PDF). My edits and changes to the format have increased legibility and clarity.


Communication Flowchart

Purpose: Outlines laboratory communication during a bioterrorism event

Employer: MA Department of Public Health

My role:

Flowchart thumbnail Select picture to see full-size image.



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Website Content

Website Audit and Content Restructure

Description: Revised the content and structure of the AMWA Carolinas Chapter Website

Organization: AMWA Carolinas Chapter

My role as a volunteer included the following activities:

Before Edits

Oct 2014 view Join Us AMWA Carolinas web page Sept 2015 Join Us AMWA Carolinas web pageAfter Edits


Website Content - Example 1

Description: Revise the historical content on the national American Medical Writers Association website

Purpose: To celebrate the 75th anniversary of AMWA.

My role as a volunteer included the following activities:

History of AMWA web page, February 2015

Before Edits
View the current History of AMWA web page April 2015 view of History of AMWA web page



Website Content - Example 2

Description: The geographical spread of AMWA Chapters from 1956-1985

Purpose: To create historical content for AMWA's 75th anniversary

My role as a volunteer included the following activites:

AMWA chapter spread thumbnail Select picture to view the presentation on the AMWA website at http://www.amwa.org/history_of_amwa.

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