Writing to the Assistant to Reach the Physician

Susan, who works for a healthcare research organization, wrote to ask how to start an email when she is sending it to the assistant for forwarding to a physician. Susan usually uses this approach, but she wonders if it is correct:

Dear Ms. Young on behalf of Dr. Jones, 

I wonder why Susan doesn't simply write to Ms. Young and ask for her help:

Dear Ms. Young:

I am writing to ask you to please forward this invitation to Dr. Jones. The invitation is . . . [Here Susan tells Ms. Young why the invitation will interest Dr. Jones. Without such information, Ms. Young is likely to delete the message.]

After the brief introduction and a thank-you to Ms. Young, Susan can insert a visual break and begin again:


Dear Dr. Jones,

I use this method when I send email to training managers for forwarding to employees who will attend business writing classes. Although the roles are different in my situation, the method works well. 

How do you get email to an executive through his or her assistant? Or if you are an assistant, which approach moves you to forward a message to your executive?  Please share your thoughts.

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