Role of ACHA

Background

US colleges and universities serve 20 million students and employ 3.5 million people. Institutions of higher education serve as living, learning, and working environments which impact the health of students, faculty, and staff. As communicated in Healthy People 2020, these physical and social environments offer unique opportunities to improve health for millions of people, as well as foster the capacity as a nation to develop new healthy concepts, technology, and systems necessary to address current and future health problems.

The Role of the American College Health Association

The American College Health Association (ACHA) provides leadership and advocacy to the field of college and university health. In 1985, ACHA formed the Task Force for National Health Objectives for 2000. With comprehensive input from ACHA members, this task force set priority areas for campuses and created Healthy Campus 2000.

To develop Healthy Campus 2010, the task force asked ACHA members from all regions of the United States to review draft Healthy People 2010 objectives and make recommendations concerning their relevance to institutions of higher education. Healthy Campus 2010, when possible, included baseline data and targets specifically for college populations. The delivery format was a printed manual provided to ACHA member institutions and available for purchase by others.

Creating healthy campuses requires collaboration across disciplines. In 2009, the ACHA Task Force invited colleagues from other higher education professional organizations to participate in the ACHA Healthy Campus Coalition.* As a result of this interdisciplinary collaborative effort, the scope of Healthy Campus 2020 has evolved to: include national health objectives for students and faculty/staff; promote an action model using an ecological approach; and provide a toolkit for implementation based on the MAP-IT framework. For the first time, Healthy Campus 2020 is web-based and available free of charge, which will allow higher education professionals, regardless of professional affiliation, to utilize these resources.

*The Healthy Campus Coalition was formerly known as the National Health Objectives for 2020 Coalition; the name was officially changed in July 2012.