Case Western Reserve University's health benefits program for postdoctoral researchers was recently recognized by two organizations as a successful program other institutions could look to.
"Universities and other training institutions must provide the same benefits to all postdocs regardless of their funding source. Training program administrators are encouraged to look toward institutions such as the University of California and Case Western Reserve University as models for the successful implementation of these plans," according to a statement from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
The statement was part of the organizations' stance on health benefits for postdoctoral (postdoc) researchers. Postdocs are scholars who have already earned doctorate or similar graduate degrees, and choose to pursue additional mentored training to help increase their ability to secure a permanent position in their chosen field. "
Case's Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (part of the School of Graduate Studies) was created in 2003, and postdoctoral scholar was designated as a formal position. The postdoctoral scholar position was created to promote greater equity among postdoc positions, and the new health benefits plan was implemented January 2006. Prior to that, based on the postdoc's designation, affiliation, and the source of funding for the position, s/he could be eligible for a plan that ranged from medical benefits only to full employee benefits, explained Rachel Begley, postdoc coordinator.
Begley said postdoc is a research position that is sort of in the middle; the researchers have earned advanced degrees, but they aren't faculty or employees. Because of inequities, Case officials researched options, and representatives from the National Postdoctoral Association came to campus and offered recommendations. After reviewing various plans, many Case postdocs now have "medical, dental, vision and life insurance at the same cost they were paying just for medical. Having a comprehensive benefits package is an advantage, because it's not offered at every institution. We were pleased to hear that Case is a recognized leader in providing health benefits to postdoc researchers," Begley said.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.