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Putnam Scholars Application

Who should apply

The ideal candidate for the Putnam Scholars Program (PSP) is an early career faculty member on the path to independence as a researcher, educator, or evaluator of health communication. Putnam Scholars gain additional support provided by a formalized mentor-mentee relationship, a community of like-minded scholars for inspiration and collaboration, professional networking, and financial support for attending ACH-affiliated activities. Candidates should be progressing toward a career related to health communication; this could include research focused on health communication, health communication education or skills training, dissemination of health communication ideas or products in related fields. As the PSP is designed to help candidates grow as scholars of communication in health care, applicants should have a familiarity with health communication research, education, evaluation, or dissemination.

Important 2021 Dates:
ACH Putnam Scholars and Mentors are expected to attend the Putnam Scholar Retreat and coinciding conference. For 2021, the Putnam Scholar Retreat will be held Sunday, October 17, 2021 in Rio Mar, Puerto Rico*. This is the first day of the ACH International Conference on Communication in Healthcare (ICCH), which will be held at the Wyndham Grand Golf and Beach Resort in Rio Mar Sunday, October 17 – Wednesday, October 20. Putnam Scholars and Mentors are provided travel expense reimbursement to attend the Putnam Scholar Retreat and corresponding ACH conference each year. In the event of ICCH cancellation due to continuing pandemic concerns, the retreat will be held virtually.

*Please know that ACH’s first priority is the health, safety, and well-being of everyone involved with ICCH. We are monitoring the situation closely and will adjust the program as needed.

Eligibility Criteria

Career stages of applicants

This program encourages early-career faculty who show potential for conducting high-quality research, education, or evaluation in communication as evidenced by publications or scholarly presentations. Eligible applicants are members of the ACH/EACH community and show promise as future leaders in the field of health communication.


  • Applicants must possess either an academic (e.g., PhD, MPH) or clinical degree (e.g., MD, NP, PhD clinical psychologist, etc.) or a combination of both; and
  • Applicants must be at an early career stage. Qualifying appointments include: near completion of a post-doctoral fellowship on the cusp of transitioning to a faculty role; within 5 years of a faculty appointment at the Instructor or Assistant Professor level.

Demonstrated Potential

  • Applicants should have demonstrated promise for success in the field of health communication as evidenced by peer-reviewed publications, public presentations, trainings or educational curricula, institutional (internal) or external funding, fellowships, awards, or other related recognition.


Institutional Support

  • Prospective PSP scholars must have an established institutional home or mentorship to help with career development and administrative/logistical barriers within their home institution (e.g., norms for professional growth and achievement, service departmental/university expectations for advancement, etc.).
  • Applicants who plan on changing institutions, such as finishing a post-doctoral fellowship or moving to a new appointment, should explain anticipated institutional support.
  • Mentors for PSP scholars will have a track record of contributing to field of health communication, and experience mentoring junior faculty in research, educational, evaluation, or dissemination of health communication scholarship. If a PSP applicant does not have a mentor in mind, please contact Laura Singler ([email protected]) prior to applying. The ACH Research Committee will work to pair the applicant with an appropriate mentor according to the applicant’s career goals and interests.
  • Prospective scholars and mentors must be or become ACH members. Strong applications will have mentors who will commit to attending the ACH Forum and ICCH research conferences when they are held in North America during the PSP scholarship period.

Instructions for Preparing an Application

Applicants’ final application packages are due Monday, April 5, 2021 by 5 PM Eastern Time. All materials must be uploaded as a single PDF document ordered as below. Please use Arial font at 11pt for all application materials. Late applications will not be accepted. The application should include:

  1. Cover letter

The cover letter will be a one-page, single spaced statement that includes:

  • The applicant’s degrees, training, current position, and current institutional affiliation. If you anticipate a change, please describe the nature of this change and how it might affect your participation as a Putnam Scholar;
  • A clearly identified mentor*;
  • A brief summary of the proposed project in health communication;
  • A concise statement of career goals in health communication;
  • If the PSP applicant does not have a mentor in mind, please contact Laura Singler ([email protected]) prior to applying. The ACH Research Committee will try to pair the applicant with a mentor appropriate for the applicant’s career goals and interests in health communication.
  1. Project plan

A one-page, single spaced project plan will provide an overview the proposed objective the applicant will pursue over the two-year fellowship program. This statement should outline the applicants’ approach that will be used during the program. The plan should:

  • identify an area of research, education, or evaluation related to communication and healthcare;
  • state how participation in the PSP will help the applicant achieve specific research, education, or evaluation goals;
  • propose a detailed project timeline in the form of a Gantt chart or table indicating project goals and intermediate benchmarks;
  • outline plans for funding, feasibility, and execution of the project
  • list anticipated deliverables, such as manuscripts, curricula, evaluations, or other intellectual or practical products concordant with the applicant’s proposed project goals.
  1. Candidate background and training plan

A one-page, single spaced candidate background and training plan statement will summarize the candidate’s prior health communication research or educational experience, the rationale for pursuing a mentored fellowship, and an explanation of the synergy between the candidate’s background, interests, and mentorship resources. This document should address:

  • how PSP participation will contribute to the applicants’ background and current interests; and
  • what skills or training objective s/he will accomplish during the PSP fellowship period.
  1. Candidate and Mentor CV

The candidate must include a copy of her/his CV as well as the CV of her/his mentor.

  1. Letters of support

Each PSP applicant should submit two letters letter of support:

  1. One letter should be from the applicant’s home department or institution acknowledging support, including an appointment or affiliation, dedicated work space, access to library resources and other campus resources, clinical, service or other responsibilities to the institution or department, research support (e.g., research assistant, administrative support, funding, etc.), protected time to pursue an independent project for the PSP. Describe the anticipated consistency of support throughout the duration of the Putnam Scholars Program. This letter should also acknowledge support from the applicant’s supervisor or department chair that s/he is aware the applicant is applying to the PSP program to achieve her or his career goals in health communication.
  2. A second letter should be from the applicant’s proposed project mentor. This letter should explain 1) the duration and nature of the relationship; 2) how the applicant’s project relates to the mentor’s scholarly, educational, evaluation, or other professional expertise; 3) a clear rationale for the applicant’s proposed training plan (e.g., in/formal classes, books, webinars, meetings, conference calls, etc.); 4) a proposed timeline of how these activities will be enacted; and a detailed communication plan describing the frequency and intensity of contact between applicant and mentor. The mentor should indicate a significant track record for mentoring scholars to independence.

A single letter can be included if the applicant’s proposed mentor is also his or her workplace supervisor or department chair.

For questions related to the application, please contact Laura Singler at [email protected]

Putnam Scholars Application

Applications are now closed. Please check back in early Spring 2022 to apply for the next cohort.

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