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 mission of The Commonwealth Fund is to promote a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, and people of color. The Fund carries out this mandate by supporting independent research on health care issues and making grants to improve health care practice and policy. An international program in health policy is designed to stimulate innovative policies and practices in the United States and other industrialized countries.
THE PROGRAM ON HEALTH CARE COVERAGE AND ACCESS
The Affordable Care Act brought sweeping change to the U.S health system, expanding comprehensive health insurance to millions of Americans and making it possible for anyone with health problems to get coverage by banning insurers from denying coverage or charging more because of pre-existing conditions. As a result, the number of uninsured people has fallen by nearly half since the ACA became law. There has also been a decline in the share of people reporting problems paying medical bills or not getting needed care because of cost. The large body of research on the ACA shows that the law’s overall impact on people’s ability to afford insurance and get health care has been positive. However, three distinct, yet interrelated, problems remain: 29.7 million people remain uninsured, 44 million people with insurance have plans that are leaving them underinsured, and health care costs are growing faster than median income in most states.
In order to help meet these challenges, the coverage program and the tracking initiative conduct research on the extent and quality of insurance, health care access and financial problems stemming from inadequate coverage, and health system performance at the national, state, and local levels, including examining and developing policy options aimed at improving performance.
SUMMARY POSITION DESCRIPTION
Reporting to the Vice President and working closely with the Research Associate, Senior Research Associate, and Senior Scientist, the Program Assistant is the staff member responsible for providing daily support for the Health Care Coverage and Access Program. The Program Assistant will be expected to perform a variety of duties ranging from daily administrative and grants management tasks to writing, editing, and research responsibilities.
Grants Management (40%)
- Provide support in the development of grants, including: conducting background research; working with potential grantees to refine proposals and ensure completion of all required documents; assisting in internal reviews of proposals; taking detailed notes and preparing summaries of review meetings for proposed grants. Draft correspondence to current and prospective grantees; assemble and provide materials on Fund programs, projects, and other activities.
- Provide support for the program, including: drafting summaries of proposed grants, payment and reporting schedules, and letters of agreement; monitoring timelines and tracking grantee products, including papers and conferences; scheduling grant payments accordingly; writing summaries of results of internal review of grantee products, including papers and reports; planning meetings, forums or conferences related to grantee work; and preparing memos analyzing completed projects.
- Act as a liaison with Communications to ensure the dissemination of all grant products, including: coordinating the review of draft grantee publications by Fund staff and the promotion of grantee-published articles; tracking products as they progress in the publication process; fact checking language for the Fund website that publicizes grantee work; reviewing and providing program updates to the Fund website as needed; coordinating with grantees and Communications staff to produce webinars, podcasts, and other multimedia to promote grantee work and publicize the program.
General Administrative Responsibilities (20%)
- Provide administrative support to the Vice President: including the calendar, phone, travel, meetings, expense reports, correspondence, and distribution of program work.
- Arrange appointments and schedule conference calls and some in-house meetings. Involved in the facilitation of discussion, content of materials for attendees, and minutes/reports of the meeting/conference.
- Prepare documents for internal meetings, including the annual program plan, budget meeting, and proposal review meetings. This includes closely monitoring grantee work status and impact throughout the year, internet and library research and assembling materials and detailed information about projects. Prepare materials, including PowerPoint slides, for public and internal presentations.
- Prepare correspondence to current and prospective grantees, consultants, and experts reviewing proposed projects; assemble and provide materials on Fund programs, projects, and other activities as requested by grantees and other individuals.
- Occasionally, the Assistant will travel to relevant meetings and conferences to represent and support the work of the program and its grantees.
- Provide research and writing support for Fund reports, fact sheets, and issue briefs based on Fund commissioned surveys and congressional legislation. This work may include survey development, statistical analyses (using computer statistical software), tables and chart preparation, and report writing. After a reasonable period of time, the Assistant will be expected to participate and otherwise assist in the analysis of Fund survey and other data. This includes statistical analysis using STATA or other software as appropriate. Draft tables and charts as well as summaries of grantee reports.
- Under direction, track, evaluate and summarize federal legislation, regulations, and guidance issued on health reform law as it regards health insurance coverage and related issues, as well as state implementation of health reform. Conduct background research, including literature reviews, internet searches and track journals, working papers, legislative developments and public coverage of health policy issues related to health reform and the Health Care Coverage and Access program area.
- Maintain up-to-date internal databases of literature and federal survey releases on the Program’s areas of interest and current health reform and issues, authored by other researchers or research organizations as well as government reports including the Census Bureau, CDC, Congressional Budget Office, Department of Health and Human Services, Urban Institute, RAND Corporation, Kaiser Family Foundation, and others.
Additional Duties (10%)
- The Program Assistant will support the Research Associate, Senior Research Associate, and Senior Scientist.
The Fund’s philosophy on successful performance in the job includes the willingness on the part of all staff members to handle any assignment necessary to further the goals of the institution. This may include taking on responsibility in other program areas if the need arises.
- A college bachelor’s degree with a major in economics, public policy, or public health is preferred
- One to two years of work experience, preferably in health policy or policy research
- Strong technical skills, including proficient use of databases (Salesforce is a plus) and Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, and PowerPoint). Familiarity with STATA, SAS, or similar statistical software is a plus.
- Experience in analyzing and interpreting data
- Meeting management experience
- Ability to multi-task, prioritize, and follow through to effectively manage work and meet multiple tight deadlines
- Exceptional attention to detail and organizational skills
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Good judgment and the ability to act independently within standard guidelines
- Flexibility and skill in working as a team member
The Fund has a relatively small staff, and judgment, integrity, and the ability to listen with sensitivity to others are traits that are particularly important in an organization of the Fund’s size, where teamwork is essential to effectiveness. The ability to work collegially with a variety of Fund staff and interest in and strong commitment to the Fund’s mission and grants programs are key qualifications.
Commensurate with background and experience. We also provide an excellent benefits package including:
- Employer-paid health, dental, disability, and life insurance
- Employer retirement contributions starting at 11.125% of employee’s annual salary
- 25 days of paid time off (30 once you reach your 3rd year anniversary) and 1:00 p.m. closings on summer Fridays
- Tuition reimbursement of up to $8,000 annually
- Free daily lunch in staff dining room
Employment at The Commonwealth Fund is based upon personal capabilities and qualifications without discrimination because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual preference, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, medical condition, disability, or any other protected characteristic as established by law.