The Commonwealth Fund


NYC or Washington, District of Columbia

Date Posted

April 28, 2022

Job Category

Reporting to the Vice President, the Program Assistant is the staff member responsible for providing daily support for the Controlling Health Care Costs 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.


The United States spends far more per person on its health care system compared to the rest of the world. Eighteen percent of the nation’s economy is devoted to health care — 50 percent higher than Switzerland, the country that spends the next-highest share, and nearly double what many other high-income countries spend.

Despite all this spending, Americans’ health outcomes are often worse than those in other advanced nations, and there is ample evidence of waste and inefficiency. Evidence also shows that U.S. prices are out of line with what people elsewhere pay for the same medical services, devices, and pharmaceuticals. This is true even for products made in the U.S. and sold on global markets.

This level of spending puts a strain on businesses, governments, and household budgets. It also diverts resources away from wage growth, job creation, education, and other social and economic needs.

The Commonwealth Fund’s Health Care Cost Control program seeks to slow health spending by:

  1. Identifying and explaining cost-drivers.
  2. Developing and evaluating promising regulatory and market-based approaches to address the drivers of health care spending.
  3. Increasing adoption of evidence-based approaches by federal and state governments, employers, and insurers.

Pharmaceutical spending and commercial health services prices are specific areas of research and policy development. Additional projects investigate the role of government and private sector payers in lowering health care prices through public policy and market-based reforms.

It is hoped that findings from these and other analyses will inform new approaches to controlling costs that yield far better value for our health care dollars.


This position can be based out of our NYC or DC locations. The Commonwealth Fund offers flexible working arrangements. As of May 2022, The Commonwealth Fund Staff are free to work from home up to 3 days per workweek.


Specific Responsibilities

Grants Management (50%)

  • 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; planning meetings or webinars related to grantee work; and preparing memos analyzing completed projects.
  • Act as a liaison with Communications to ensure the effective dissemination of all grant products, including: obtaining feedback from Communications staff on the communications plans for proposals; 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; 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 (30%)

  • Provide administrative support to the vice president: including the calendar, phone, correspondence, and distribution of program work. Rarely, provide assistance regarding travel and expense reports.
  • Arrange appointments, 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 correspondence to current and prospective grantees, review proposed projects; assemble and provide materials on Fund programs, projects, and other activities as requested by grantees and other individuals.

Research and Analysis (20%)

  • Conduct background research in Fund program area as needed by the vice president, including literature reviews, Internet searches and tracking journals, working papers, legislative developments and public coverage of health policy issues.
  • Occasionally attend relevant meetings, conferences, and webinars in support of the programs.
  • Prepare documents for internal meetings, including the annual program plan meeting. Prepare materials, including PowerPoint slides, for public and internal presentations.
  • Provide research and writing support to vice president for Fund publications. Assist with editing grantee work for publication on the Fund website.

In addition to serving the above roles for the Controlling Health Care Costs Program, the Program Assistant will provide administrative and grants management support for the Fund’s Climate and Health Initiative also under the vice president’s direction.

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 public policy or public health is preferred
  • One to two years of work experience in health policy, policy research, or the health care industry
  • Strong interest in the Controlling Health Care Costs Program’s topics of study
  • Strong technical skills, including proficient use of Microsoft Office (Excel, Word, and in particular PowerPoint)
  • Highly skilled at project management, including multi-tasking, prioritizing, and meeting multiple tight and competing 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.

Application Process

Please submit your resume and a letter of interest with subject line “Program Assistant, Controlling Health Care Costs – [Your Name]” to

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.

Date Posted


About the Organization

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.


Denise Huza <>