JAWS Health Journalism Fellowship

JAWS Health Journalism Fellowship in partnership with The Commonwealth Fund is a unique opportunity for emerging and early career journalists who have an interest in and passion for upping their health care reporting skills.

Application deadline: 5 p.m. ET, November 7, 2022. 

Questions? Contact Liz Seegert, project director, .

The Inaugural Journalism & Women Symposium  Health Journalism Fellowship

Sponsored by The Commonwealth Fund 

To improve access, quality and efficiency in our health care system, patients and communities need far more accurate, accessible and useful information devoid of misinformation or jargon. A rigorous, science-based but far more inclusive, empathetic and compelling approach to health care reporting is needed.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demanded that journalists in every coverage area and at every level, location and type of outlet cover health care issues. It’s the perfect moment and opportunity to raise professional awareness, elevate and grow health care reporting, diversity and representation. By training more journalists in this coverage and by diversifying the reporting pool, we’re certain to get better and more inclusive health care reporting for our communities.

With generous support from The Commonwealth Fund, the Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) is pleased to offer a unique opportunity to emerging and early career U.S. based  journalists who have an interest in and passion for upping their health care reporting skills. This fellowship is in keeping with JAWS’ mission to advance the professional growth and empowerment of women journalists, by bringing new women journalists – and advancing current journalists – into health care reporting, an area still dominated by men; and giving them the tools to tell stories about diverse experiences and cultures affected by health care.

About the fellowship

JAWS will train and support six emerging journalists who want to learn more about and complete an [extensive] project on a key component of health care, including but not limited to:

– health equity/disparities

– cost and quality of care

– health care coverage and access 

– women’s health/women’s reproductive health

– delivery system reform

– Medicare/Medicaid

Both staff reporters and freelance journalists are encouraged to apply. 

Fellows will be selected by December 5, 2022. Upon completing and signing a letter of acceptance detailing their commitment, each fellow will spend the next eight months (January – August 2023) working on a substantive reporting project, assisted by a reporting grant of $4,000 to cover project-related time and expenses and mentoring by an experienced health journalist for the duration of the project (and beyond). Additionally, fellows will receive a one-year complimentary membership to JAWS (a $75 value), and complimentary registration and travel expenses to CAMP for 2023 (a $3,500 value).

To qualify, fellows are required to complete a comprehensive project by August 31, 2023, publish their work by September 30, 2023, and present their work at JAWS CAMP 2023. They will receive ongoing support, mentoring, and (in the case of freelancers) assistance in defining an appropriate media outlet for their work, if needed.

 Fellows will meet with their mentors regularly (in person and remotely) for the duration of the project. They will also attend several webinars (remotely) on specific aspects of health reporting (topics and dates TBD) throughout the fellowship year, to help inform their reporting. Liz Seegert, a veteran health journalist and core topic leader for the Association of Health Care Journalists, will act as project director for the fellowship and will provide additional support and mentoring throughout the year.

Fellows will gather in person as a group in early 2023 to tap into expert insight and guidance, discuss and flesh out their proposals, and learn about key health reporting resources.  (location and date TBD). Final projects will be presented at CAMP 2023.

The fellowship is open to both U.S.-based staff and freelance journalists. Mentors and the JAWS board will work with freelancers to help them define and pitch their proposal to an appropriate print, radio, digital or broadcast outlet if needed. 

Requirements to be submitted to this Google Drive folder

Selected applicants agree to write/produce a three-part (or longer) series, based on original research and reporting. Applicants will submit a proposal outlining their project, (see below) along with a proposed timeline. The reporting project must be completed by August 31, 2023 and published or aired by September 30, 2023. Fellows will present their work during a panel discussion at CAMP 2023.

 The criteria will include clarity and originality of proposed in-depth story projects; quality of samples of published or produced work; and high-impact potential of proposals geographically and across different ethnic or racial populations. The application deadline is Monday, November 7, 2022.

Applicants must have at least two years of experience as a journalist. They may report in any format –  audio, television, documentary, photojournalism, print, or digital, podcast or any combination of multimedia for a recognized mainstream or ethnic media outlet.  Blogging, academic writing, and public relations do not count toward journalism experience. (Freelancers will receive assistance with pitching and placement if needed).

Applicants must submit a full fellowship application by 5 p.m. ET, Monday, November 7; they agree to commit to one all-day, in-person meeting in early 2023 to present their proposals, meet their mentors, and work collaboratively to refine, source, and flesh out their ideas. Fellows will meet periodically as a group throughout the duration of the fellowship.

Applicants must provide the following:

  • A detailed 1-2 page proposal describing the reporting project they wish to undertake and why – please include sufficient sourcing/links to indicate that you have done some “homework” on the topic. 
  • A proposed project timeline, including projected publication/broadcast dates 
  • Current resume 
  • Cover letter containing:

Applicant name

Mailing address

Office phone

Mobile phone


Employer (Freelancers should specify their length of affiliation with an outlet expected to publish or broadcast the story.)

Employer address

Employer phone

Employer’s circulation or size and audience demographic (Please indicate whether this media outlet serves a general audience or a specific ethnic or other minority community.)

  • A letter of support from a supervisor or editor at their current media outlet (if staff) affording you time off and editorial support to work on the project, or if freelance, a letter or email from an editor you have worked with regularly indicating willingness to run the project, provided it meets appropriate editorial criteria. NOTE: freelancers without a regular media outlet can indicate a request for help with placement.
  • An optional letter of recommendation which speaks to the quality of your work and commitment to your project and/or health reporting. Letters from friends or relatives are strongly discouraged. Not submitting a letter of recommendation will not affect your application review. 
  • No more than three (3) reporting samples – either clips, audio/video stories, or multimedia samples. They can be attached as pdf files or links to files on the applicant’s or media outlet’s website. Please be sure all submitted links work properly before submitting the application  and are not behind a publication paywall – the selection committee will not be able to chase down broken or inaccessible links.
  • Fellows agree to meet with their mentor (via phone or Zoom) at least monthly to discuss progress.
  • Fellows agree to participate in one in-person meeting (1-day), which will include guest speakers, brainstorming, how-tos, and time to meet one-on-one with their mentor and/or the project director; fellows also agree to meet via Zoom periodically as a group to discuss progress.
  • Fellows agree to attend/participate in a series of three (3) webinars throughout the fellowship; which may help them deepen plans for covering their story and/or provide additional resources or sources.
  • Fellows agree to present their final projects at a panel at CAMP 2023 and discuss their experience with attendees.

Apply now! Deadline to apply is 5 p.m. ET, November 7, 2022


About The Commonwealth Fund

The Commonwealth Fund — among the first private foundations started by a woman philanthropist, Anna M. Harkness — was established in 1918 with the broad charge to enhance the common good. Today, the Fund supports independent research on health care issues and makes grants to promote an equitable high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for people of color, people with low income and the uninsured.


About The Journalism and Women Symposium (JAWS)

JAWS is an organization for working journalists, journalism educators and researchers from across the country. Members meet in person and online to share resources, support, training and information about the issues that affect women in the industry. JAWS advances the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism and advocates for more inclusive coverage of the diverse experiences and cultures that comprise our society.


Questions? Contact Liz Seegert, project director,