Getting Conference-Ready, Part 1: Making the AHCJ-ASJA Conference Weekend Work for You

Editor’s note: This is the first of a two-part series of tips to help you get the most out of #ASJA2019, on May 5-6 at the New York Marriot Downtown. There’s plenty of time to register for two action-packed days of programming; exciting, dynamic keynoters; a plethora of networking opportunities and much more. 

For those considering both the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) conferences in early May this year, travel between the cities is easy — and worth the trip to make connections with editors and fellow writers.

First in Baltimore, Maryland, on Thursday, May 2 – Sunday, May 5, the AHCJ annual conference will feature workshops, panels, roundtables and field trips that cover the latest in medical science, health policy, public health, consumer health and the business of health care.

Then at the New York Marriott Downtown on Sunday, May 5 and Monday, May 6, the ASJA annual conference will bring together editors and writers to talk about journalism, content marketing, books and the business of writing. The four tracks will feature interactive sessions, as well as a Freelance State of the Union keynote, two exclusive mastermind opportunities, and morning movement sessions to get the day started.

Both highlight the opportunity to meet editors and agents in one-on-one meetings — called Client Connections at ASJA and PitchFest at AHCJ — to give writers a place to network and sell their stories. Both conferences also feature sessions for members and non-members alike on all days of programming, so if you’re already making the trek to one conference, it may be worth it to stick around for another day or two to extend your learning and networking options.

If you’ve already decided to attend both but don’t have the in-between travel arranged, we’ve got you covered. For those who want to travel from Baltimore to New York City with others, an ASJA “party train” will leave on Saturday afternoon once most of the AHCJ programming has wrapped up.

Trip leader and long-time ASJA member Michele “Wojo” Wojciechowski is leaving the AHCJ conference and heading toward Penn Station in Baltimore at 2 p.m. for the 3 p.m. Amtrak trip to New York. If you want to meet up, plan to be at the station by 2:30. She’s sitting in the business section, but there are several seating options available. You can reach her by email at

Otherwise, you can easily nab a ticket for one of the regular daily trips between Baltimore and New York City. Coach seats start at $54 and go up to $102 for business or $169 for flexible seating. The trip takes about three hours.

The train arrives at Penn Station in New York, where you can grab the subway to the New York Marriott Downtown. Line 2 will take you there in a straight shot for $3 in 24 minutes. Otherwise, you can hail a taxi or ride-sharing service for about $20-$25, which will take 10-30 minutes depending on the time of day and traffic.

See you at #ASJA2019!

Carolyn Crist (@cristcarolyn on Twitter) is a health and medical journalist based in Georgia whose stories have appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta Magazine, Reuters, U.S. News & World Report and Wired. Her forthcoming book, The New Science of Narcissism, will come out in fall 2020. Along with co-chairing #ASJA2019, Carolyn also co-chaired the 2018 conference.