AHCJ board service: Responsibilities, rights, restrictions and rewards

As a board member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, you have a great opportunity to shape the future of health journalism training in the United States and abroad. You help set policies and goals, advocate for the public's right to know, acknowledge and reward the best work in our field, help reporters network with each other and seek to raise the bar in our profession. Board service is a privilege and honor, one that comes with rights and rewards, but also responsibilities and restrictions. Those restrictions are in place because of AHCJ's commitment to transparency and a desire to exemplify the highest standards of conduct. [Please see AHCJ's statement of principles and conflict of interest policy.]


All board members are expected to:

  • Spend about an hour a week on AHCJ work, with committee chairs and executive committee members spending more time than that.

  • Serve on at least one board committee.

  • Make a tax-deductible financial contribution each year to the Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism (no minimum amount required).

  • Help recruit new members, sharing names with the membership committee and home office regularly.

  • Assist with the annual conference through planning a panel session, tracking down and working with keynoters, or otherwise tackling an assignment that helps pull off a successful event. You also may be called upon to help with smaller events, such as workshops.

  • Attend two in-person board meetings a year (one at the annual conference, another in the fall) and be available for telephone conference calls or consultations in between.

  • Participate in internal board listserv conversations.

  • Set the policies, goals and strategic plans for the association and center, set salary for the executive director, elect board officers.

  • Represent the association or center in the media or a public setting when called upon by the board president or executive director and it doesn't interfere with your employment.


All board members are entitled to a voice in how the board operates. They are entitled to place items on the agenda for consideration, see minutes from executive committee calls and board meetings, suggest locations for conferences/workshops, request the board take a position on an issue, etc.

While board members are asked to seek funds from their employers to cover the cost of their travel to board events as a sign of industry support, AHCJ and the Center will subsidize the cost of travel for board members to both board meetings when necessary. One way we can do this is by asking board members to organize and moderate conference sessions, allowing us to assist them as we do any speakers. Board members may be asked to share hotel rooms or make other accommodations in their travel if AHCJ/the Center picks up the costs.

 Current Restrictions

  • Board members are not permitted to enter the annual contest or serve as judges. Work that was edited or produced by an AHCJ board member may be entered in the contest, but the board member shall not be involved in selecting works to be entered or in preparing the entry, and they shall not share in any prizes.

  • Board members are not allowed to apply for AHCJ fellowship programs. A board member may be allowed to sit in on portions of a fellowship program as program finances and logistics permit.

  • Board members should remember that AHCJ staff members report directly to the executive director and should work through the director on office matters. Exceptions would be when working with the conference coordinator on approved travel arrangements, reporting in on panel session planning to a designated staffer, or answering direct questions from a staffer.