Health and well-being task force issues final report

In a final report issued Nov. 9, the University's Task Force on Health and Well-Being recommended several significant changes in University policies and programs to address the health care needs and promote the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff.

Recommendations in the 38-page document include: a substantial increase in the size of the University Health Services staff; major improvements of the facilities at McCosh Health Center and Dillon Gymnasium; and a considerable expansion of the child care opportunities available to members of the University community.

This was the third report issued by the task force, appointed last fall by President Shirley M. Tilghman and chaired by Janet Dickerson, vice president for campus life, and Robert Durkee, vice president and secretary of the University. The group, composed of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, released a January 2004 report proposing a set of goals and guidelines and a June 2004 report identifying several major themes and a number of initial findings. All three reports are available on the task force's Web site .

In its initial report, the group summarized the philosophy behind its efforts: "The task force believes that as an educational institution, a residential community and an employer eager to attract, retain and motivate the best possible faculty and staff, Princeton University should seek to provide a campus environment and a range of programs that sustain and enhance the physical, psychological and emotional health of undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, faculty and staff, and that assist them in achieving an appropriate balance between work and personal/family life."

The task force spent the past year assessing existing programs and developing recommendations for needs not currently addressed or those likely to emerge in the future.

While preparing its report, the task force simultaneously worked to support the implementation during the past year of several measures to enhance the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff. These include actions ranging from improving the Student Health Plan prescription drug plan to contracting with a 24 hours-a-day/seven-days-a week employee assistance and work/life counseling program (see "Steps already taken" ).

" ... There is much more that needs to be done if Princeton is to address the needs we were asked to examine and live up to the principles we propose at the beginning of this report," the task force states in its final report. "The agenda we present ... is extensive and ambitious. We recognize that a number of our proposals require additional work or substantial resources before they can go forward, and that everything we propose cannot happen at once. At the same time, we hope that the University will take as many steps as it can as quickly as it can."

The task force lays out proposals in seven categories (see "Major recommendations" ): overarching recommendations regarding communications; recommendations addressing the health care needs, and promoting the health and well-being, of students through the Student Health Plan and University Health Services; recommendations addressing the health, well-being and work/life balance of members of the faculty and staff; recommendations in the areas of fitness and nutrition that help meet the needs of students, faculty and staff; recommendations regarding critical facilities needs at McCosh Health Center and Dillon Gym; and recommendations regarding child care.

Read the full story .

Contact: Ruth Stevens (609) 258-3601