Task force to look at health and well-being of University community

Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman has appointed a new task force to examine University policies and programs that address the health care needs and promote the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff.

The Task Force on Health and Well-Being is scheduled to conduct its first meeting on Sept. 22. The group is composed of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, and is chaired by Janet Dickerson, vice president for campus life, and Robert Durkee, vice president for public affairs.

Tilghman said she appointed the task force "with strong encouragement from the trustees." In her charge, she asked the group to answer three questions:

  • How should Princeton meet the needs of its students for medical and mental health care, and to what extent should it also meet health care needs of members of its faculty and staff?
  • What programs, services and facilities should the University provide to promote the health and well-being of its students, faculty and staff, including programs of preventive health, health maintenance, nutrition, recreation, stress management, etc.?
  • How can the University improve the balance between family and work, for example, by offering additional day care and other family support services to members of the University community?

"Each of these is an important question in its own right," Tilghman said, "but each needs to be answered in the context of a comprehensive plan for enhancing the health and well-being of all who study and work at the University and of achieving appropriate standards of excellence."

In addition to assessing existing programs, the task force is expected to focus on developing recommendations to meet those needs currently not addressed or those likely to emerge in the future. According to Dickerson and Durkee, the task force's work will involve: examining best practices and leading health and wellness programs at other universities and area employers; consulting closely with other medical service providers in the local community; and coordinating activities with other campus task forces and offices, including the University Health Services, the Four-Year Residential College Task Force and the Office of Human Resources.

The group hopes to complete a report in spring 2004.

Other members of the task force are:

Faculty: Elizabeth Gavis, associate professor of molecular biology; Uwe Reinhardt, professor of economics and public affairs and the James Madison Professor of Political Economy; Eldar Shafir, professor of psychology and public affairs.

Staff: Jonathan Baer, director of building services; Lisa Herschbach, director of studies for Mathey College; Joann Mitchell, vice provost for administration; Maureen Nash, vice president for human resources; Daniel Silverman, chief medical officer of the University and executive director of University Health Services; Eric Stein, associate director of athletics.

Graduate students: Rachel Kimbro, sociology; Ian Parrish, astrophysics (plasma physics).

Undergraduates: Adam Castano '05, molecular biology; Scott Grant '05, chemistry; Elona Toska '05, Woodrow Wilson School; Tamara Whitaker '06, chemical engineering.

Serving as staff to the task force are: Megan Adams, director of risk management; Janet Finnie, associate director of University Health Services; Ann Halliday, associate secretary; Stephen LeMenager, director of planning and administration in the Office of the Vice President for Campus Life; Alison Nelson, manager of benefits and compensation; and Karen Woodbridge, special assistant to the vice president for public affairs.

Contact: Lauren Robinson-Brown (609) 258-3601