How to improve your writing: Your cheat sheet for UI Health Care

These editorial style tips will help keep your UI Health Care writing strong, consistent, and on-brand:

Our enterprise

1. University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics: The legal name of our hospital uses the “&” (ampersand) instead of the word “and.” So we need to write, “University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics,” not “University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics” (and tip: no “the” in front).

  • When to use “&”: Always in “University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics”

2. “UI Health Care” not “UI Healthcare”: Treat “health care” as two words, especially in the name of our enterprise.

  • When to use “health care” as two words: Always in “UI Health Care”

3. You may shorten “University of Iowa” to “UI” anytime for staff-only communications, or on the second reference for patients or the public. For example: “University of Iowa Health Care is comprised of UI Hospitals & Clinics, including UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital; UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine; and UI Physicians.”

  • When to use “UI”: Sometimes. Use your best judgement. For internal use, colleagues will understand “UI.” For the public, we want to make sure University of Iowa is known (and not confused with another “I” state such as Indiana or Illinois).

4. Avoid the abbreviations “UIHC” and “CCOM” for external audiences. If “UIHC” must be used (for staff only), use it to stand for UI Hospitals & Clinics, never for UI Health Care. Likewise, avoid using “CCOM” for Carver College of Medicine for any external audiences; use it for internal purposes only.

  • When to use “UIHC” or “CCOM”: Sparingly, and only for internal references

5. Always include “Stead Family” within the name of UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital, not just “UI Children’s Hospital.”

  • When to use “University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital”: Always!

Titles and credentials

6. Use credentials after a person’s name instead of “Dr.” prior to it: e.g., “Jane Doe, MD, PhD,” instead of “Dr. Jane Doe.” In subsequent references, refer to them by their last name only.

7. All job titles should be lowercased, except when immediately preceding a person’s name. For example: “Brooks Jackson, MD, MBA, vice president for medical affairs” is correct. So is: “Vice President for Medical Affairs Brooks Jackson, MD, MBA,” because the title comes before the name.

Other usage

8. Long live the Oxford comma! Also known as a serial comma, this is the comma that’s included before the final conjunction in a list or series. For example: “Faculty, staff, and volunteers are invited,” not “faculty, staff and volunteers.”

9. Stick with boldface for emphasizing words, but use sparingly. Avoid italics (it’s harder to read), all caps (STOP YELLING AT ME), or underlining (on screen it can be confused with a link).

10. Hyperlinks should use descriptive text or names indicating to the user where that link is going, or a short URL. Don’t use “click here” or “here” for your links. It’s not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and it makes it more difficult for those with vision loss using screen readers to tell where that link is going.

Want to learn more? These tips are based on:

Questions? Leave them in the comments below or email noon-news@uiowa.edu.

5 comments

  1. This is extremely helpful. Even after many years of observation, I did know know it was only acceptable to use UIHC to abbreviate UI Hospitals & Clinics, while not acceptable to use as UI Health Care. I’ve been confused about the capitalization of titles. I always prefer the final comma and wish it was universal. Please continue to share these tips, as I think it is important for effective and professional communication to continue in a time of increasingly less emphasis.

  2. I LOVE THIS! I wish there were more articles out there that explains ENGLISH and how to use it “Correctly”! Several times there are postings using the wrong “they’re, their or There” or using the wrong “you’re or your” or its and it’s”. This drives me in-sane! I am so happy this article was written!!! My mom was an English teacher and I learned so much and have learned so much and continue to learn so much from her beautiful writing skills!!
    Thank you!
    Erin M.

Comments are closed.