Governance & Financials

Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism

The Center is classified as a supporting 501(c)(3) for AHCJ, Inc.

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism is to ensure that journalists are properly trained to cover news events, trends, and issues in all aspects of health care journalism, including the business of health care, public policy, medical research, medical practice, consumer health issues, public health, health law, and ethics. The core principles guiding the Center are:

  • That journalists who are properly trained can better convey the complex dimensions of health care challenges and issues in the United States and the world.
  • That news coverage about health and health care must remain independent. It must analyze health care issues with fairness, accuracy, and balance.
  • That high-quality journalism about health and health care issues can increase the capacity of citizens and policymakers to adopt health care policies that can improve the health of all citizens.
  • That high-quality journalism about health and health care issues can improve the ability of citizens to make wise decisions about behaviors that promote health, treatment options, and their choice of health care providers.

Center Policies

The Center shall organize, facilitate, and present discussions in a neutral and informative manner by exploring varying views and perceptions of health and health care.

The Center’s Board of Directors shall make the final decisions concerning content of programs and presentations, regardless of the source of funding — by grant, contribution, or other form.

The Center supports the Association of Health Care Journalists, Inc. by securing grants and other funding to subsidize the costs of conferences, workshops, reporting resources, a web site, and other professional development efforts. The Center shall be bound by the fundraising policies of the Association.

Contributions to the Center are deductible as charitable contributions. Through grant and other funding, The Center supports the Association of Health Care Journalists, Inc. by providing funding for conference stipends, special workshops, reporting resources, this web site, and other efforts. It is guided by a 12-member Board of Directors.

Fundraising Policy

The Association of Health Care Journalists and the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism seeks to minimize the possibility and appearance of inappropriate influence from outside parties. The association imposes strict limitations on the sources of its funding and embraces transparency, independence and sustainability when evaluating whether to accept funds from outside parties.

Any uncertainty over a potential funder or the funding arrangement will be referred to the board of directors.

We recognize that a fundraising policy is a work in progress and may need to be revised from time to time, with input from our members. In all cases, AHCJ will strive to be both editorially independent and financially viable.

The association does not intend for this policy to take the place of its statement of principles or to serve as a policy on conflicts of interest, since its purpose is distinct.

We subscribe to standards of editorial independence adopted by the Institute for Nonprofit News. We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions.

We accept gifts, grants and sponsorships from individuals, organizations and foundations to help with our general operations, coverage of specific topics and special projects. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that operates as a public trust, we do not pay certain taxes. We may receive funds from standard government programs offered to nonprofits or similar businesses.

Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors or any revenue source. We do not give supporters the rights to assign, review or edit content. We make public all revenue sources and donors. As a news nonprofit, we avoid accepting charitable donations from anonymous sources and government entities. We will not accept donations from sources who, deemed by our board of directors, present a conflict of interest with our work or compromise our independence.

In an effort to create common definitions and foster richer dialogue, the association has adopted four categories of potential funders, with limitations and restrictions for each.

The status of these categories will be revisited annually by the board of directors.

Category A


  • media companies; media foundations; medical journals;
  • nonprofit, nonpartisan foundations not controlled by commercial firms;
  • nonpartisan research organizations;
  • publicly funded agencies, universities and hospitals;
  • nonprofit colleges/universities;
  • individual nonprofit academic medical centers that are members of AAMC or major teaching affiliates of AACOM member schools;
  • and other educational institutions with an interest in improving the quality of health care journalism consistent with the mission of AHCJ.

Examples include: UCLA, Harvard Medical School, National Institutes of Health, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, New England Journal of Medicine, Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, MD Anderson Cancer Center, RTI International, the Urban Institute.


  • Sponsorship of events, educational programming and other fund-raising activities
  • Grants for events, publications or educational programming
  • Advertising
  • Exhibiting
  • Gifts (cash or in-kind)

Category B

WHO: Companies or groups that have no specific interest in health care but which sell or supply products or services that journalists may consider useful in their work. Examples include computers, notepads, tablets, automobile rentals, hotels, airlines and freelance agencies.


  • Advertising and exhibits
  • In-kind donations for fund-raising activities, i.e. raffle, silent auction

Category C 

WHO: Not-for-profit associations or societies that represent those who sell health care services or who lobby legislators on health care issues; or nonprofit, nonpartisan foundations controlled by commercial firms or their representatives. Examples include the American Medical Association, American Academy of Trial Lawyers, America’s Health Insurance Plans, the NIHCM Foundation, and Families USA.


Generally, no support is sought in this category, however, a very limited number of organizations in this category will be allowed to exhibit at the annual conference. If you think you qualify as a Category C organization, please contact for further information.

Category D

WHO: Private or public corporations or not-for-profit entities that sell products or services in the health care field. Examples include manufacturers of health care products, health care insurers, health plans, individual or corporate providers or medical practitioners, medical management organizations, private hospitals, marketing or public relations companies with an interest in healthcare, and any other entities with a commercial interest in the field, whether for-profit or not-for-profit.


No funds or in-kind support of any kind will be sought from funders in this category.

Originally approved by the board in May 2004

Most recent approved clarifications: April 2021

Most recent board review: April 2021

Investment Policy for AHCJ and Center for Excellence

The purpose of this policy is to ensure the day-to-day financial needs of the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) and the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism are met, while allowing the organizations to take advantage of opportunities to grow their assets. The underlying premise of this policy is to grow the organizations’ reserves in a responsible manner while respecting the principles of conflicts of interest to which they adhere.

The assets for AHCJ and the Center will be divided into two categories:

Operating Fund: Once a year, when figures from a given fiscal year are finalized, the executive director and treasurer will analyze available funds and set aside the equivalent of 18 months’ budget (based on expenses in the just completed year). At no point will this fund be allowed to dip below 12 months. The purpose of the Operating Fund is to provide sufficient cash to meet current financial obligations of the organizations in a timely manner. The objective of the Operating Fund is to preserve capital at no risk and a high level of liquidity. Restricted funds will not be counted toward the 18-month requirement; they will be governed by the agreements under which the funds were accepted.

Long Term Reserve Fund: The purpose of the Long Term Reserve Fund is to maximize growth. The Long Term Reserve Fund includes assets in excess of the Operating Fund and that is specifically designated by the Board of Directors for long term investment. The objective of the Long Term Reserve Fund is to achieve appreciable growth without jeopardizing the organizations’ core assets, at a minimum level of liquidity.

Note: As per earlier adopted policy, the Board will not consider creating an endowment until assets in both funds combined exceed three times the projected annual budget.

Investment Guidelines

Prohibitions: No investments shall be made:

  • in individual companies
  • in mutual funds or other investment vehicles whose purpose is to invest exclusively or primarily in health care products and services, drugs or devices, or tobacco or alcohol products.
  • in limited partnerships
  • in derivative instruments
  • in currency products

Operating Fund: Operating funds must be available for current fiscal year expenses and should be easily accessed and kept in cash and cash equivalents or highly liquid, low risk investments such as a federally insured bank account, government obligated money market accounts, certificates of deposit and notes issued by commercial banks, or taxable municipal bonds. The operating fund shall be managed by the Executive Director and fiscal officer, with reports to the board. The executive director, at his or her discretion, may seek advice from an investment advisor. If he or she chooses to do so, the procedures outlined below shall be followed.

Money placed into the Long Term Reserve Fund can be invested by the Executive Director and fiscal officer following the guidelines above, but it is anticipated that from time to time the services of a registered investment advisor may be sought to manage the Long Term Reserve portions of the organizations’ funds.  The following procedure shall be followed to engage a new or replace a current registered investment advisor.  The same procedure shall apply for both individually managed accounts and mutual funds (with the exception of money market mutual funds, government bonds, and certificates of deposit).

  • The Finance Committee will recommend the hiring or replacing of an investment advisor to the Board of Directors.
  • The Finance Committee will review the candidate(s) and make a recommendation to the Board of Directors, which shall have the final approval.

As a matter of good business practice, the Finance Committee will solicit competitive bids from investment managers every three years. The executive director and any member of the board or the Finance Committee shall disclose any relationship with any bidder and should recuse himself/herself from the selection process entirely.

The investment manager(s) is charged with designing, recommending and implementing an appropriate asset allocation plan consistent with the investment objectives, time horizon, risk profile, guidelines and constraints outlined in this policy. He or she will also give, at a minimum, quarterly reports to the Executive Director and Treasurer, as well as keep those officers advised of any material changes that could affect the organizations’ investments. The executive director will ensure any agreement with a financial advisor has a termination clause.

This policy will be re-evaluated twelve months after it is enacted.

Enacted April 2012 / Re-confirmed April 2013

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