Serving on AHCJ’s Board is so rewarding. Will you join us?

AHCJ board president

Felice Freyer, AHCJ board president (Photo courtesy of Paola Rodriguez)

Have you enjoyed learning and networking at AHCJ’s annual conferences or fellowship programs? Made use of our tip sheets, webinars, listserv — or otherwise found value and fun in being a member of AHCJ? Or have you had some thoughts on how we can improve what we do? 

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, now is the time to consider volunteering to help govern this organization. I highly recommend it. 

The annual AHCJ Board of Directors election is under way, and professional category members have until June 15 to declare their candidacy. Every year, six of the twelve seats are up for grabs, and board members serve two-year terms. 

I’ve been a board member since 2009 and consider it among the most rewarding experiences of my professional life. (But it doesn’t feel just “professional” — because I’ve made so many good friends along the way.) Let me walk you through what’s involved. 

Why should you join the board?

For starters, because we need you. To keep this organization vital and responsive, we need new people and fresh ideas. 

Serving on the board will give you an opportunity to contribute to the continued success of AHCJ and work to elevate the quality of health care journalism.

By serving on the board, I’ve made new connections, broadened my horizons, and relished being part of this enterprise — being in the thick of things. Board service has meant I could attend every annual conference while also doing my part to help make the conference successful. I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie of our board dinners and other gatherings, and especially the feeling that I can make a difference shaping an organization that does important work.

AHCJ’s board has a history of harmony and common purpose. In my experience, board members have always worked together well, agreed on most important matters and resolved differences without rancor. 

If I join the board, what will I have to do?

Our staff manages the day-by-day operations, but the board sets policy and direction for the organization.

We have laid out board members’ responsibilities in detail on this page. Before throwing your hat in the ring, check it out. I have found that board service is not onerous — but it does require a serious commitment. 

We estimate that board service requires, on average, an hour a week of work. But some moments are busier than others, and you can always do more — as many do. Board members are expected to attend all our meetings. The board meets once each spring and fall, usually for several hours, plus occasional shorter Zoom meetings or email votes when a concern arises that can’t wait. 

Every board member serves on a committee, and some board members also chair a committee. Some step up in other ways such as moderating the listserv or helping with efforts to increase diversity.

What are the downsides to board service?

For me, there’s been only one downside — that I’m not eligible to enter my work into our annual contest. But I agree with that rule and feel a twinge of pride when I tell my editors I can’t enter because I help lead an organization with high ethical standards. 

If I decide I want to run, what is the process? 

You have a week to declare your candidacy. Write a 400-word combination bio and candidate statement explaining who you are and why you want to serve. Email it to before 5 p.m. CST on June 15. Members will vote by email June 20 through July 1, and winners will be announced July 5.

I’m not sure I’m ready for board service, but I want to get involved. Is there something else I can do? 

Yes! You can volunteer to serve on one of our committees. I first became involved with AHCJ when I joined the Right to Know Committee, which advocates for access to information. It’s a wonderful way to get to know the organization and make a contribution. In addition to Right to Know, we have committees overseeing finance and development, membership policies and recruitment, freelancers’ concerns and the annual contest. They are listed here, and you can volunteer by contacting the chair.

And finally, you can make a difference simply by voting in the board election. You will receive an emailed ballot. Reading the candidates’ statements and filling out the ballot takes just a few minutes, and it’s a significant contribution every member can make.

Leave a Reply