Office of the Secretary of Health Affairs

2017-2018 Officer: Saugat Karki, MD | skarki3@uncc.edu

About

The Secretary of Health Affairs shall facilitate and develop the relationship between the GPSG and University Health Services. He or she will meet as necessary with the University Student Health Services Director (or his or her designee) and report to the GPSG Senate. 

Initiatives

Karki-Valley Graduate Assistant Paid Sick Leave Initiative

Saugat Karki and GPSG President Taylor Valley began researching sick leave policies at universities across the UNC System and the United States, and learned that UNC Charlotte lags behind other institutions when it comes to providing paid sick leave to graduate assistants.

Currently, there is extreme variation between the way sick leave is handled between administrative, research, and teaching graduate assistants. Some departments set strict make-up requirements, which may cause students to come into work sick. Sick workers is bad for workplace efficiency, and could cause even more lost time if the illness is spread. Additionally, The Graduate School sets an umbrella policy that GAs should work no more than 20-hours per week. If a student is sick and has to make up time, they will be forced to work more than the 20-hour threshold in a given week. 

The Karki-Valley Paid Sick Leave Initiative asks for the following:

  • 5-hours per semester of paid sick leave for all graduate assistants, regardless of department, designation, or current practices.
  • Include this policy as an umbrella policy from The Graduate School and the Department of Human Resources so that it is included in all Graduate Assistant contracts. 

Sex Week Collaboration

Did you know that in 2010, 54% of pregnancies in the state of North Carolina are unintended? In fact, NC ranks 14% higher than the national average. 

Saugat Karki and the GPSG team are collaborating with the Sex Week student organization to increase awareness of sexual health and pregnancy planning. 

Summer Gym Access Fees

Many graduate students stay on campus over the summer to work as Graduate Assistants and to take summer classes. GPSG believes that all employed GAs and enrolled graduate students should receive free access to the Belk Gym between the final day of the spring semester and the start of fall semester. Most GAs make approximately $4,000 in the summer session before taxes. While paying a $25 gym membership might not be much for a full-time worker, this fee is ~1% of a GAs summer income. Saugat and the GPSG team will continue to fight for free summer gym access for the graduate student body.