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February 21, 2008


In appreciation

When I gathered my mail at home today I noticed a particularly appealing self-mailer promoting the services offered by the freshly christened Life Solutions, formerly promoted rather stuffily as the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program.

It struck me how much care had been put into the writing, design, paper choice and printing of the document. There was something about it that said “Don’t just toss this with all the cell phone, Dish TV and missing-children flyers. This is something pleasing to look at and something that might be pretty useful. It was put together by somebody who cares.”

I am familiar with employee assistance programs (EAPs). I was on a committee in the mid-1970s that proposed one for Pitt. We said that it would cut down on sick leave, raise productivity and get the drunks and drug addicts among us the help they needed.

I turned to our various old EAPs over the years for support in dealing with a smoking supervisor, an unwise marriage, fear of a senior administrator and a paralyzing fear of abandonment.

Through it all I never became a drunk or took a lot of sick days. I managed to get consistently excellent reviews for my work. I stood up for institutional change I knew to be right and I remain both proud and privileged to be included in the University community.

There are many things that makes us a great university. In 2008, Life Solutions is just one of them. It offers a lot more than the old EAP ever could. It is ready to help us remain productive and whole as we care for a dying parent or an autistic child, pay off foolishly acquired debt, learn how to save more for retirement or even flee an abusive lover.

I encourage any of my co-workers whose copy of the Life Solutions promotional piece is already being recycled to give either the Benefits office or Life Solutions a call and ask for a fresh copy. Even if you’re only 25, you might use it until you’re 75.

Steve Zupcic

Community Relations


U.N. credibility

The recent piece on the applicability of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights to women (University Times Feb. 7) will hopefully prompt people to question the credibility of an institution that makes such a declaration yet includes as its members such nations as Sudan, Iran, Cuba, North Korea, China and Venezuela.

Amesh A. Adalja

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center


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