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Task Force on Health and Well Being: Progress Report - page 3 / 24





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At the risk of oversimplification, the undergraduate focus groups emphasized the importance of better communication about what is available at UHS and under the SHP; the importance of expanding and improving mental health services, dental care, and access to fitness facilities; and the importance of addressing issues related to stress reduction and nutrition.  Undergraduates were interested in an integrated health-wellness-fitness center, especially if it served to encourage students to make a more significant commitment to healthier living patterns.

Major themes that emerged from the graduate student groups were the importance of adequate and affordable housing close to campus; concerns about some of the provisions of the student health plan and the cost for dependents; a desire to improve dining and nutrition; an interest in providing some decentralization in fitness/wellness programs (e.g., providing some programs at the Graduate College and incorporating some fitness facilities into graduate housing areas); and concerns about the status of post-enrolled graduate students.

In the focus groups with administrators and bi-weekly staff, major themes included a desire for respect and appreciation for what they do; for greater flexibility in hours of work and in uses of vacation time and sick leave; and for a stronger institutional message that it is acceptable, even desirable, to take time during the day for exercise or renewal.  Stress was identified as the most pressing employee health issue.  There was also considerable interest in expanding the health care plans to cover preventative care, including incentives for exhibiting healthy behaviors (exercising, smoking cessation, weight loss); in increasing staff access to Dillon through expanded hours and reduced fees; and in additional work/life services.  Interest in an integrated wellness center was mixed with caution about too much centralization.

Faculty expressed concern about the needs of graduate students and post-docs; interest in a more creative flex-time program for staff that would better serve faculty needs; and support for greater efforts to educate the community about health care, wellness, and health insurance options.  Faculty ranked parking as one of the most vexing quality of life concerns on campus.  


In addition to conducting its own survey among students, faculty, staff, and retirees on a range of health and well being issues, the task force recommended that the University contract with an outside company (Bright Horizons) to help it conduct a comprehensive child care needs assessment.  Bright Horizons is one of the most highly regarded companies in the child care field, and it has a consulting division that has performed similar assessments for a number of our peer institutions (including Yale and Duke) and for several major New Jersey companies.  As part of this assessment, Bright Horizons will be conducting a survey about child care needs and issues among faculty and staff, graduate students, and post-docs.  We expect to receive its report over the summer.  The task force conducted a user survey at Dillon Gym in late February to learn more about who uses Dillon and for what purposes.  

Site Visit

A delegation of students and staff visited the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford in late January.  Again at the risk of oversimplifying, the Berkeley visit allowed for

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