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Task Force on Health and Well Being: Progress Report - page 1 / 24





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Task Force on Health and Well Being: Progress Report

April 2004

In January 2004, the Task Force on Health and Well Being issued a report that described its progress over its first four months of work.  In that report, we proposed a set of principles that might guide the University in its consideration of issues related to health and well being; presented background information and some initial findings and recommendations; identified a number of major needs and challenges; and outlined a work plan for the spring.  This report presents additional findings and recommendations and identifies work that the task force will do over the summer to refine its proposals and look carefully at costs, priorities, potential sources of funding, and staffing and space implications in preparation for a final report next fall.    

Topics covered in the January report included University Health Services (UHS), the Student Health Plan (SHP), the employee benefits program, work-life issues, child care, and issues of particular concern to undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty, staff, and retirees.  This report will not repeat the material provided in the January report, but it does build on that report and interested readers are encouraged to refer to it.  It can be found, along with this report, on the task force website at www.princeton.edu/hwbtf.  

Like the January report, this one does not attempt to be all-encompassing.  One of the lessons we have learned is that there are very few University policies, services, or actions that do not in one way or another have an impact on the health and well being of members of this community.  We also have learned that almost every member of the community has ideas about how the health and well being of particular individuals—or of the community as a whole—could be improved.  There are a number of topics that we believe are worth further consideration and attention, but that we will not address in this report.

In some cases this is because the topic falls outside our purview or is already being addressed by others.  One good example is the provision of additional, affordable, and accessible housing for graduate students and post-docs, as well as for faculty and staff.  We are persuaded that the availability of sufficient affordable and accessible housing plays a significant role in the health and well being of members of our community who want to live close to campus but whose financial circumstances make it difficult for them to find such housing.  The University has identified the provision of additional housing as a priority and is already developing plans to more fully meet these needs, and it has instituted several shuttle systems that connect University housing (as well as faculty/staff parking locations) to the main campus.  

Other good examples are programs and strategies to address issues related to the abuse and excessive use of alcohol by undergraduates and issues related to sexual harassment and assault.  These areas are being addressed by several offices and initiatives, and the task force believes that they deserve continuing and high priority attention.  Similarly, the University has made significant progress in recent years in addressing issues related to the wage levels of lower paid members of the staff.  Here too we believe that continuing vigilance is necessary to be sure that the University is treating all members of the community fairly and with respect.  

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