Member profile: Cheryl Iverson, MA

Cheryl Iverson
Cheryl Iverson

The name Cheryl Iverson has become synonymous with style, specifically, the AMA Manual of Style. Although Cheryl has officially retired from her full-time position at The JAMA Network, she cochairs the committee that was recently reconvened to produce the next version of the stylebook.

Cheryl’s interest in editing, word usage, and publishing is life long. She considered a career as an English instructor (perhaps enlightening students on contemporary poetry or literature) but was also interested in the world of publishing. In the end, she found publishing to be “a nice limbo between business and academe”.

Her first job was with Scott Foresman, working on a usage index. Other than a 3-year stint as an editor in the University of Chicago Press Books division (where she enjoyed the diversity of topics and longterm projects), Cheryl spent the rest of her full-time working career at the American Medical Association. She began as an editorial assistant, then became a copyeditor, and then editing supervisor. Her most recent position was managing editor of the nine JAMA Network specialty journals. She notes that in her 37 years with the journals, she has seen great changes in the editing and publishing jobs, not the least of which was the transition from working on paper to a nearly completely electronic workflow.

In addition to her regular work with the journals, Cheryl was keen on finding an opportunity to improve the resource that medical editors use every day (the AMA Manual of Style). She volunteered to read proofs of the seventh edition, and by the eighth edition she was stylebook committee chairperson. The most recent edition (the 10th) was published in 2007, and she is hard at work wrangling the committee for the next edition and showing me the ropes as cochair.

Her work on the stylebook is widely known and respected. At a conference of the American Medical Writers Association, another attendee told Cheryl, in awe, “You’re the closest thing the field has to a rock star.”

Cheryl has also been a member of CSE for many years. She credits Susan Eastwood with mentoring her by getting her involved with the short courses. Specifically, Cheryl worked on the Short Course for Journal Editors and then became involved with the Education Committee. She enjoyed that so much that she helped to develop and launch the Short Course for Manuscript Editors and the Short Course for Managing Editors. She believes that those educational offerings are an important mission of CSE and notes that her work on the short courses and her work on the AMA Manual of Style have been her most fulfilling career contributions.

Cheryl pursues many activities outside editing, publishing, and wrangling stylebook committees. She enjoys attending concerts of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, has season tickets to several major theaters in Chicago, belongs to a book club, and is an avid knitter.

When asked about her plans for retirement, she noted, “I want to do more of everything I like already.” Those things include traveling, cooking, knitting, reading, and getting together with friends. This year, Cheryl combined several of her interests by taking a knitting trip to Wales. Up next is a knitting tour of the Scottish islands.

Whether she’s editing, managing stylebook committee meetings, knitting, or traveling, one thing is certain: Cheryl always does it with style.

STACY CHRISTIANSEN is director of manuscript editing at JAMA, Chicago, Illinois.

Winter 2014 Asking - departments