Writing and Word Usage

Consistency of style and usage makes reading easier, which increases the effectiveness of our message. As a result, the UNMC Style Guide is designed to help create clear, effective and consistent communications, as well as uphold the university’s image as we communicate about UNMC.

In almost all cases, The Associated Press Stylebook should be used as a reference for grammatical questions related to communication surrounding UNMC. This style guide is a work in progress, and entries will be added, deleted, and changed with input from readers and the dynamic environment at UNMC.

If you need further assistance when writing or designing publications, please contact the UNMC Department of Strategic Communications and/or UNMC Printing Services.

Writing for the Web


In addition to the writing guidelines in our Web Style Guide, this workshop provided by web design partner mStoner, offers  tips on crafting clear, readable copy for the web.

Campus Buildings

Bennett Hall – Formerly South Hall.

Center for Nursing Science – Located on the Omaha campus, this freestanding building provides space for the College of Nursing. Note: It is not the “new” College of Nursing building or the College of Nursing Sciences.

C.L. Werner Cancer Hospital – An eight-story, 108-bed inpatient treatment center that is part of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. (Note: Always use periods in “C.L.” when referencing the hospital – do not use periods when referencing the person or his foundation).

Clarkson Doctors Building North

Clarkson Doctors Building South

Douglas A. Kristensen Rural Health Education Complex – Located on UNK’s west campus, the complex – a partnership between UNK and UNMC – includes two buildings: the Rural Health Education Complex (which opened in 2015) and the Rural Health Education Building (under construction with an anticipated opening in early 2026).

Dr. Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center – Spell out on first reference. Use Davis Global Center on second reference. This facility houses the iEXCELSM initiative and the Training, Simulation and Quarantine Center, which includes the National Quarantine Unit.

Durham Outpatient Center – Spell out each time.

Durham Research Center – Spell out on first reference. Use DRC on second reference (or DRC/DRC II if referencing both buildings). This facility was dedicated in 2003, and is the northernmost research tower.

Durham Research Center II – Spell out on first reference. Use DRC II on second reference (or DRC/DRC II if referencing both buildings). This facility was dedicated in 2008, and is the southernmost tower.

Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases

Eppley Science Hall

Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center –Do not abbreviate in any use. The name is the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, always using the ampersand symbol in all references. On second reference, use the cancer center, lowercase, instead of the proper name. NOTE: Per NU Board of Regents approval, this name represents the umbrella organization, formerly known as the Eppley Cancer Center. It also is the name of the cancer center building that opened in June 2017.

  • Approved usage – only for Twitter usage / website URL
    • Website: BuffettCancerCenter.com
    • Twitter: @BuffettCC along with BuffettCancerCenter

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center includes a:

  • A 10-story, 98-laboratory research tower named the Suzanne and Walter Scott Cancer Research Tower;
  • An eight-story, 108-bed inpatient treatment center named the C.L. Werner Cancer Hospital; and

A multidisciplinary outpatient center which includes clinics, infusion, radiation therapy, surgery, radiology and collaborative treatment/diagnostics.

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center includes a:

  • A 10-story, 98-laboratory research tower named the Suzanne and Walter Scott Cancer Research Tower;
  • An eight-story, 108-bed inpatient treatment center named the C.L. Werner Cancer Hospital; and
  • A multidisciplinary outpatient center which includes clinics, infusion, radiation therapy, surgery, radiology and collaborative treatment/diagnostics.

Harold M. and Beverly Maurer Center for Public Health –Spell out on first reference. Second reference use – Maurer Center.

Home Instead Center for Successful Aging – Spell out on first reference. Second reference use – Home Instead Center.

Hixson-Lied Center for Clinical Excellence –Located between Clarkson and University Towers, the Hixson-Lied Center houses the emergency department, a Newborn Intensive Care Unit, interventional radiology and a rooftop garden area.

Hixson-Lied Tower – Formerly known as The Lied Transplant Center (was renamed in 2017).

Joseph D. & Millie E. Williams Science Hall – The name of the former College of Pharmacy building along 42nd Street, which now houses student services, graduate studies, alumni relations and more. Second reference use – Williams Science Hall.

Lauritzen Outpatient Center (a significant part of this new center will be the Fritch Surgery Center)

The Lied Transplant Center (See Hixson-Lied Tower)

Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education – Spell out on first reference, then use “the Sorrell Center.”

Leon S. McGoogan Health Sciences Library – First reference: Leon S. McGoogan Health Sciences Library. Second reference: McGoogan Library

Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation – Spell out on first reference, then use Munroe-Meyer Institute or MMI on second reference. In 2020, the institute moved to the former First Data Resources building so prefer that all early references say it is located ‘near’ or ‘adjoining’ UNO’s Scott Campus. 

Poynter Hall – Formerly North Hall.

Ruth and Bill Scott Student Plaza – Use full name on first reference to eliminate confusion with another philanthropic Scott in Omaha (Walter). Second reference use – Scott Student Plaza. This green space is surrounded by such buildings as the Sorrell Center, Maurer Center, Center for College of Nursing Science and UNMC Center for Drug Discovery and Lozier Center for Pharmacy Sciences and Education.

Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute – Spell out on first reference, then use Truhlsen Eye Institute.

Suzanne and Walter Scott Cancer Research Tower – The 10-story, 98-laboratory research tower that is part of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.

Truhlsen Events Center – This space is located inside the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education. Copy should denote this so as not to confuse readers with the Stanley M. Truhlsen Eye Institute, which is a separate facility.

Student Life Center (includes the Center for Healthy Living)

University Health Center-College of Nursing Lincoln Division building – Shared facility on the UNL campus. In UNMC communications, it is OK to only reference the College of Nursing Lincoln Division facility.

UNMC Center for Drug Discovery and Lozier Center for Pharmacy Sciences and Education – First reference of the pharmacy building that opened in 2016 east of the Sorrell Center. Note: The third floor is the UNMC Center for Drug Discovery (three suites of labs designed for drug discovery). The first and second floors are the Lozier Center for Pharmacy Sciences and Education, designed for active learning.

Weigel Williamson Center for Visual Rehabilitation

Wigton Heritage Center – The center, which memorializes the med center’s unique history and serves as a campus welcome center, includes the Dr. Leland J. and Dorothy H. Olson Atrium and the iconic columns and historic façade of the original University Hospital.

Wittson Hall

A to Z Guidelines

In making style determinations for print publications, our primary reference is The Associated Press Stylebook. If you have any questions, contact UNMC Strategic Communications.

academic degrees – It is our policy to include academic designations that are doctorate level or above only on first reference (John Smith, MD, PhD, spoke), followed by Dr. in subsequent references (ie: Dr. Jones said). Never use “Dr.” and MD together: ie: Dr. John Smith, MD, is …. If mention of additional degrees is necessary, the preferred form is to avoid an abbreviation and instead use a phrase: Jill Smith is a registered nurse in…

  • After a person’s name, do not use periods for abbreviations of academic degrees (ie: MD, PhD, DDS, PharmD, MBBS, etc).
  • Online faculty bio pages – All academic degrees may be cited on a faculty member’s online bio page, contrary to past policy which allowed for only doctoral degrees behind a faculty member’s name. (For example: John Doe, PT, PhD, PCS, FAPTA).
  • Lowercase degrees: Holly is working on her master of science degree.
  • Use an apostrophe: She will be awarded a master’s degree in May.

academic departments – Capitalize if referring to a specific college, department or other academic unit by its full proper name. Examples: the UNMC Department of Surgery, the UNMC College of Public Health, the College of Nursing, Munroe-Meyer Institute. Otherwise, lower case: the internal medicine department; or when listing a series such as “the colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy..”

academic health science center

academic titles – Prefer written out as opposed to offset with commas ie: Bob Bartee, vice chancellor for external affairs at UNMC. Not: Bob Bartee, vice chancellor, external affairs, UNMC. Long titles are more readable when placed after a name: Joe Smart, dean of the College of Pharmacy and professor of pharmaceutical sciences. (See titles)

acronyms – Avoid the use of acronyms, other than UNMC, When using an acronym, spell out the full words in text. Per AP Style: “…in general, avoid alphabet soup. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms that the reader would not quickly recognize.”

adviser – Use the spelling that ends in -er (not advisor) unless the other spelling is part of an official title.

affect / effect – Affect as a verb means “to influence” or produce a change in something; affect as a noun is best avoided. Effect as a verb means “to cause.” Effect as a noun means “result.” What effect did the blast have? How could he affect the situation? He effected a change in policy.

ampersand (&) – In general, use the word “and.” Use an ampersand only if it is part of a proper name: Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Dr. Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center, Joseph D. & Millie E. Williams Science Hall.

Anatomage Table – Capitalize on all references. This is an anatomy visualization system for anatomy education.

annual – Do not use the term first annual. Instead, note that sponsors plan to hold an event annually. Or use inaugural, if subsequent annual events already have been planned.


On the Omaha campus:

  • Hope Tower – designed by internationally renowned artist James Carpenter, the 120-foot tall sculpture is illuminated at night. Dedicated September 2011 and located in the Ruth and Bill Scott Student Plaza.
  • Healing – title of the stethoscope sculpture outside the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education. Artist Kevin Box. Installed August 2014.
  • Search – title of the 82-foot lighted glass tower designed by Omaha artist Jun Kaneko. Located outside the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at 45th Street and Dewey Avenue. Installed summer 2017.
  • Rock, Paper, Scissors – artists Kevin Box and Warren Cullar
  • The Letter Q by Fletcher Benton
  • Dangos by Jun Kaneko. Located on the plaza outside the Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education and at the main entrance of the Wigton Heritage Center.
  • Bronze sculpture of the late Charles “Chuck” Durham, located outside the Durham Research Center towers. Artist John Lajba. Dedicated May 2009.
  • “Soar,” the kinetic sculpture in front of the Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation near the medical center campus.
  • “Origin,” an installation of 10 ceramic columnar sculptures by Jun Kaneko, is the centerpiece of Medical Center Plaza, the front door of UNMC and the Nebraska Medical Center campus at 42ndand Leavenworth Streets. Philanthropists Bob and Polina Schlott dedicated their gift to Polina’s mother, Larisa Poluektova, MD, PhD, a professor in the UNMC Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience and co-director of the Translational Mouse Model Core Facility.
  • “Convergence” by Jenny Sabin Studio, was installed in June 2021 on the new William H. Northwall, MD, Plaza outside the Leon S. McGoogan Health Sciences Library and the Wigton Heritage Center.
  • De Nobis Abundans (“Abounds in Us”), a multicolor stainless-steel structure along 42nd Street near the entrance to the Joseph D. & Millie E. Williams Science Hall. Artist: Shasti O’Leary Soudant. Installed 2023.

Augmented and Virtual Reality – Second reference: AR/VR

biannual – Twice a year.

biennial – Every two years.

brand – A brand is more than a logo or slogan. It is a public expression of an organization’s identity. A brand embraces a unique set of values and attributes that define the essence or personality of an organization. It’s a promise to our customers, that when communicated successfully, evokes and emotional response that fosters trust and allegiance to our services. (see the brandwise.unmc.edu for all things brand-related including guidelines, templates, colors, typography, etc.).

brand promise – UNMC’s brand promise is “Breakthroughs for Life.” Nebraska Medicine’s brand promise is “Serious Medicine. Extraordinary Care” (see also “Serious Medicine. Extraordinary Care” and “Breakthroughs for Life”) 

Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) – Created in 2009 when the Nebraska legislature passed LB 603 to address the statewide crisis in mental health access. Housed at UNMC, BHECN is dedicated to improving access to behavioral health care across the state through its unique partnership with all of the graduate behavioral health training programs in Nebraska.

Breakthroughs for Life – The brand promise for UNMC. Originated in 2009.

campuswide – One word, no hyphen.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Located in Atlanta, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and works to control and prevent infectious and chronic diseases and promote good health. The centers also work with state and local health officials to provide specialized services. On first reference, use Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Precede with national, federal or U.S. if needed for clarity. CDC is acceptable on second reference and takes a singular verb.

Chihuly Sanctuary, given by Suzanne and Walter Scott – First reference on all materials. Chihuly Sanctuary on subsequent references. 

Children’s Nebraska (formerly known as Children’s Hospital & Medical Center)

Children’s Specialty Physicians – Represents the largest group of pediatric specialists in the state of Nebraska. Incorporated in 2008, Children’s Specialty Physicians grew out of an Institutional Affiliation Agreement between Children’s and the UNMC College of Medicine. The affiliation aligned the two organizations in a way that allows a shared vision for the future of pediatric health care, and ensures children have access to world-class clinical care, treatments influenced by cutting-edge research and a future generation of well-educated and highly trained medical professionals.

clinical trials – All releases on clinical trials require IRB approval.

College of Allied Health Professions
College of Dentistry (administrative offices in Lincoln, Neb.)
College of Medicine
College of Nursing Kearney Division
College of Nursing Lincoln Division
College of Nursing Northern Division (located in Norfolk, Neb.)
College of Nursing Omaha Division
College of Nursing West Nebraska Division (located in Scottsbluff, Neb.)
College of Pharmacy
College of Public Health

comma, in a series – Per AP Stylebook standards, do not use a comma before the last item in a series, sometimes called an Oxford or serial comma, unless it is necessary to avoid confusion. Example: Red, white and blue.

comma, before a suffix – Refrain from using commas before a suffix (ie: Martin Luther King Jr.)

credentials: The use of credentials in communication – The audience, readability and communication channel shall be considered when deciding whether to use credentials after an individual’s name.

An individual’s full credentials, including degrees received above that of bachelor’s, as well as certifications and fellowships, will be included on faculty/staff listings on the website. These also would be included when the individual’s name serves as a headline within a department/unit web page.

Only doctoral-level credentials (MD, PhD, PharmD, DPT, etc.) will be used in news releases and internal news articles, as well as within narrative within a web page.

After a person’s name, do not use periods for abbreviations of academic degrees (ie: MD, PhD, DDS, PharmD, MBBS, etc).

dates – Use the form May 15, 2016, or Nov. 9. Months that are abbreviated (only when a specific date is used) are: Jan. Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.

  • When used in a sentence with a year, a comma follows the year in all cases. Correct: The deadline was June 2, 2016, for the application.
  • Refrain from abbreviating the month when referring to the month as a whole. Correct: The month of September is especially trying. Incorrect: The month of Sept. is especially trying.
  • Refrain from using the year when the date falls in the current year, unless it is needed to clarify within the context of the communication.
  • Do not use “on” prior to a date or day of the week when its absence would not lead to confusion: The meeting will be held Monday. The class is held Jan. 20.

department and division names – Capitalize names when referring to the formal name or a specific department or division. When used in a general or informal sense, do not capitalize: She is an assistant professor in the UNMC Department of Psychiatry. She works in the department of psychiatry.

doctor – Use of doctor applies to those with an MD, DO or PhD. Never use “Dr.” and MD together.

e-learning – Always lowercase, unless it starts a sentence or is the first word in a headline.

email – Electronic mail. One word, lower case. Capitalize only when it’s the first word of a sentence.

emblem – Since October 2014, UNMC and Nebraska Medicine have shared a single emblem or logo – a shield featuring a subtle red “N” in the upper right corner. The emblem provides a visual representation of both organizations’ deep Nebraska roots and their shared mission to improve the human condition. Three white parallelograms around the N represent the education, research and patient care missions that were reflected previously in UNMC Physicians’ “ring” logo. The shield is a symbol that The Nebraska Medical Center, Bellevue Medical Center and UNMC each used in their previous brands. It symbolizes leadership, courage and protection.

entitled – Use it to mean a right to do or have something. Do not use it to mean titled.

Correct: She was entitled to the promotion.
Correct: The book was titled “Gone With the Wind.”

faculty – Singular or plural.

fellow – Lowercase fellow designations for physicians and other groups (ie: He is a fellow of the American College of …)

first-come, first-served basis

full time, full-time – Hyphenate as an adjective. Otherwise, two words. He is a full-time faculty member. He teaches full time.

fundraising, fundraiser – One word in all cases. Examples: The development officers are engaged in fundraising. The development officer is a fundraiser.

Gold, Jeffrey P. – Always written, on first reference, as: Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, (with middle initial and degree). Began serving as UNMC chancellor on Feb. 1, 2013. Also serves as Provost and Executive Vice President of the University of Nebraska.

Global Center for Health Security – This is the umbrella organization for university and university-led initiatives dealing with highly infectious diseases. Collaborations occur with the National Strategic Research Institute; involve faculty and staff from UNMC colleges, Nebraska Medicine, UNL and UNO; and encompass such programs as the National Ebola Training and Education Center, the National Center for Health Security and Biopreparedness, and the Biosafety Infectious Disease Training Consortium. This center is headquartered in the Dr. Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center on UNMC’s Omaha campus.

hashtags – Allow you to create content around a specific topic and a mechanism to search for common content on Twitter and Instagram (and to a lesser extent Facebook).

  • Visit symplur.com for a database list of general health care hashtags
    • If you use a general hashtag (ie: #pathology, #cancer, #meded) you add your voice to a broader conversation/community and reach a new audience
    • If you think of your own hashtag that isn’t already used (such as #UNMCMMI), it’s easy to search and you don’t get lost in the broader hashtag conversation
  • Don’t use #UNMC because the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus has the same acronym (this is why we use #IamUNMC).
  • Use #IamUNMC for content related to UNMC. This content is seen on unmc.edu/iamunmc
  • Caution: Don’t create a hashtag, just to create a hashtag – be strategic. Be sure you (and others) have adequate content so that a conversation results, rather than it being a one-way conversation about a one-time event
  • Best practices for Twitter – use one to five hashtags total per tweet

health care – Two words (unless part of an official name).

health care provider

health care reform

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) – Spell out on first reference with the acronym in parenthesis; use acronym on second reference.

Hodgkin – Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin no longer have the ‘s associated with the name (per fall 2015). Both the NIH and ACS have the updated verbiage within its sites (see below links).


hometowns – Include hometown information, when possible. This enables the UNMC Strategic Communication’s media team to repurpose a story as a hometown release.

iEXCELSM –Acronym for the Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning – a bold, campuswide initiative that engages learners in real-life scenarios using simulation and virtual reality technology, which enables them to acquire skills and knowledge before encountering real-life scenarios. (See service mark).

iEXCEL iWall – The iEXCEL iWall is a 2-D curved, interactive, digital wall consisting of touch panel screens.

#Iamunmc – UNMC’s social media hashtag, which allows individuals to share how they experience UNMC on Instagram and Twitter.

Information technology – IT on second reference.

Munroe-Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation
Eppley Institute for Research in Cancer and Allied Diseases

Khan, Ali S. – The College of Public Health Dean prefers that we use his middle initial on first reference: Ali S. Khan, MD, MPH (As dean, we include MPH in this instance only).

Match Day – Matches medical school students with residency programs. Match Day occurs on the third Friday of March each year at each of the medical schools in the United States where the results of the National Resident Matching Program are announced. By entering the Match system, applicants are contractually obligated to go to the residency, internship or fellowship program at the institution to which they were matched.

Manikin – A manikin is an anatomical model of the human body with moveable and detachable parts, used in medical schools. Note: A mannequin is a model of the human body used by tailors and window dressers.

Maurer, Harold M. – Always referred to as Chancellor Emeritus Harold M. Maurer, MD. Served as UNMC chancellor from 1998 to 2014.

Mercer, David – There are two David Mercers in the UNMC Surgery Department (as of spring 2009).

  • One is the department chair at UNMC:  David W.
  • One is the director of the Intestinal Rehabilitation Program at Nebraska Medicine: David F. 

mission statement – Nebraska Medicine and UNMC share the following mission statement: We are Nebraska Medicine and UNMC. Our mission is to lead the world in transforming lives to create a healthy future for all individuals and communities through premier educational programs, innovative research and extraordinary patient care.

more than/over – Use “over” when referring to spatial relationships: A police helicopter flew over the hospital. Use “more than” when referring to numerals: Last summer’s helicopter rescues cost more than $100,000.

National Center for Health Security and Biopreparedness – Funded by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the center will enable UNMC to teach federal health care personnel procedures in diagnosing and treating highly infectious diseases. It is located in the Dr. Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center. 

National Institutes of Health – On second reference use NIH. Note the word is Institutes, not Institute. There are 27 different institutes and centers within the NIH.

National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) – Spell out on first reference. Avoid acronyms when possible; instead use “the institute” on second reference. The institute requests that the following boilerplate be used anytime a release is sent that involves them – The National Strategic Research Institute (NSRI) at the University of Nebraska is the only University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) in the country dedicated to delivering solutions for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction (CWMD) to U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and across other federal agencies. Learn more at nsri.nebraska.edu.

Nebraska Medicine – UNMC’s primary clinical partner. Spell out in all references. Nebraska Medicine represents the clinical integration of The Nebraska Medical Center, the state’s largest and highest rated hospital, Bellevue Medical Center and UNMC Physicians. The campus at 42nd and Dewey is referred to as The Nebraska Medical Center campus.

  • When both are referenced, it’s OK to use UNMC/Nebraska Medicine on second reference or use medical center campus.

National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center (NETEC) – UNMC/Nebraska Medicine, in collaboration with Emory University in Atlanta and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, co-lead the center, which sets the gold standard for special pathogen preparedness and response across the nation’s health systems.

Non-Hodgkin – Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin no longer have the ’s associated with the name (per fall 2015).


  • Spell out one through nine. Use figures for 10 and greater. Exceptions: When referring to age, money or percentages, use figures.
  • Spell out first through ninth for order in time or location – starting with 10th use figures (Correct: First floor & 10th place. Incorrect: 1st floor & tenth place).
  • Use figures and hyphenate dimensions in adjectival forms before nouns (Correct: The 6-foot man was 6 feet tall.  Incorrect: The six foot man was six-feet tall.)
  • Always use numerals when describing an age, never spell the number out except when an age begins a sentence, as in: Nine-year-old John Doe… (Examples: 1-month-old child; Ben, 7, was…; Sally, 1 month….)
  • Write out numbers that begin a sentence.

OB-GYN – Abbreviation for Obstetrics and Gynecology. OB-GYN is acceptable in all references.

organizational values – In June 2016, UNMC and Nebraska Medicine announced, for the first time, a set of shared organizational values. The six values – innovation, teamwork, excellence, accountability, courage and healing, or iTEACH for short – are the characteristics that all colleagues should possess in order to achieve our collective goals.

orthopaedic – Used when referring to the branch of surgery concerned with conditions of the musculoskeletal system.

patient references:

Correct: Inpatient and outpatient
Incorrect: In-patient or out-patient

part time – Always hyphenate as an adjective, but otherwise is two words. She is a
part-time student and she also works part time.

percent – Use the % sign when paired with a numeral, with no space, in most cases (a change in the 2019 AP Stylebook): Average hourly pay rose 3.1% from a year ago; her mortgage rate is 4.75%; about 60% of Americans agreed; he won 56.2% of the vote. Use figures: 1%, 4 percentage points. For amounts less than 1%, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.6%. For a range: 12% to 15%, 12%-15% and between 12% and 15% are all acceptable.

period – Only one space between a period and the beginning of the next sentence.

phone numbers – Do not use periods in place of hyphens in a phone number. Do not use parentheses around the area code. Correct: 402-559-4353. 

precision medicine – Preferred phrase (instead of personalized medicine).

preventive – Preferred over preventative.

principal investigator – Holder of an independent grant administered by a university and the lead researcher for the grant project, usually in the sciences, such as a laboratory study or a clinical trial. 

Refrain from using (‘s) when the word ends with (s), even if it is a proper name.

Correct: Francis’
Incorrect: Francis’s

Use of nouns and pronouns – Team/Nebraska should have ‘its’ as a pronoun, Huskers should have “their” as a pronoun

postdoc – One word (based on usage by the National Institutes of Health). Short for postdoctorial.

postgraduate – Study after earning a first degree in an area. One word, no hyphen.

punctuation – Commas and periods are placed inside the closing quotation mark; colons and semicolons are placed outside. Question marks are placed inside quotation marks when they apply only to the quote; outside when they apply to the whole sentence. Examples: “There are several faculty members attending,” he said. He wrote a report called “Our Medical Innovations.” Who said “waste not, want not”?

Exclamation points should be used sparingly (or never).

Refrain from using commas before “and” in a list.

Correct: Red, white and blue
Incorrect: Red, white, and blue

Refrain from using commas before a suffix

Correct: Martin Luther King Jr.
Incorrect: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Use one space after periods.

scientific poster photos – Scrutinize images taken of scientific posters to ensure that what is on the poster (info/visuals) can be photographed and/or posted online or to social media without violating HIPAA and patient trust. The clinician may have taken the image (at the consent of the patient) for education/research purposes only and thus the forum – even if it’s in a public venue — would be a protected place in their view. (Compliance will review the media consent form used for education/research purposes for possible changes).

service mark – The service mark symbol need only appear on the first and most prominent use of a document or marketing piece. Subsequent use is unnecessary and can create visual clutter.

“Serious Medicine. Extraordinary Care” – The brand promise of Nebraska Medicine. (see also brand promise)

Simulation in Motion-Nebraska (SIM-NE) – Spell out on first reference. Use SIM-NE on second reference. The program seeks to enhance the quality and accessibility of emergency medical education to rural/frontier areas of Nebraska by delivering high-quality, technologically advanced simulation training.

Social media accounts (Twitter/Instagram/Facebook) – Go through the Department of Strategic Communications to develop new accounts. The communications department will help you assess your objective, audience and the amount of content it will take to maintain a long-term presence. Additional reminders:

  • Frequency of posts – Ideally, three- to four times a week on Twitter; one to two times a week on Facebook.
  • Use the correct brand colors/fonts on UNMC graphics
  • Make images consistent across all UNMC social media platforms
  • Use appropriate logos

Ensure media authorization forms are signed by students for photos

state abbreviations – Spell out the names of the 50 U.S. states when used in the body of a story, whether standing alone or in conjunction with a city, town, village or military base. Do not use the two-letter ZIP code abbreviations in text.

state-of-the-art – Hyphenate as an adjective: he has a state-of-the-art computer system.

systemwide – One word, no hyphen.

telemedicine – One word.

time – In most cases, Associated Press style is preferred. List time with a.m. or p.m. with a space after the number and without zeros. Correct: 2 p.m., 6:30 a.m. Incorrect: 5 or 5:00 p.m.

titles – Refrain from capitalizing titles following a name (ie: Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States). Capitalize titles when they precede a name (President Abraham Lincoln).  (See also: academic titles).


toward – Not towards.

UNeMed Corporation – UNeMed is the technology transfer and commercialization office for UNMC.

UNeHealth – The contracting and fiscal arm for industry-funded clinical trials on behalf of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. It is housed in Sponsored Programs.

UNePlan – The strategic planning tool used at UNMC to develop, track and align the strategic directions of the academic units, business units and auxiliary units.

UNeTech (Nebraska’s Biomedical Technology Institute) – Established July 1, 2015, the University of Nebraska’s biomedical technology institute is a joint venture led by UNMC and the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The naming schema is consistent with the other NU subsidiaries associated with UNMC and UNO, including UNeMed and UNeHealth.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Spell out on first reference. Second reference: UNL.

University of Nebraska at Kearney – Spell out on first reference. Second reference: UNK.

University of Nebraska at Omaha – Spell out on first reference. Second reference: UNO.

University of Nebraska Medical Center – The state’s only public academic health science center. UNMC is acceptable on second reference, or in internal documents/marketing.

universitywide – One word, no hyphen. (Note: The University of Nebraska System Office hyphenates this word).

URLs – When a URL includes www., do not include http:// in front of it.

vision – The partnership of UNMC and Nebraska Medicine will be a world-renowned health sciences center that:

  • Delivers state-of-the-art health care.
  • Prepares the best-educated health professionals and scientists.
  • Ranks among the leading research centers.
  • Advances our historic commitment to community health.
  • Embraces the richness of diversity to build unity.
  • Creates economic growth in Nebraska.

voice – When talking about UNMC, our brand personality is: innovative, visionary, caring, and hardworking. We communicate honestly and openly in a professional yet conversational tone. We are approachable, respect diversity and one another, and communicate effectively.

Depending on the social platform, the audience, and the content, our voice on social media may be more lively and informal when appropriate, representing the energetic campus community of faculty and students at UNMC.

website – One word. Also, webcam, webcast and webmaster. But as a short form and in terms with separate words, the Web, Web page and Web feed.

X-ray – Use for both the photographic process and the radiation particles themselves. Uppercase X; hyphenate. Not x-ray.

ZIP code – Capitalize ZIP (Zone Improvement Program); lower case code. Do not put a comma between the state name and the ZIP code.

Zucker, Irving H. – UNMC’s Irving H. Zucker, PhD, prefers to use his middle initial because another Irving Zucker does similar research at Berkley.

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