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Testimonials and Practical Applications

Interested in participating in the ACHA-National College Health Assessment? The following participants describe why they selected the ACHA-NCHA as their surveying tool and how they will apply or have applied the collected data on their respective campuses. We encourage all health professionals and institutions of higher education to join us as we continue building this increasingly relevant set of data!

The following were participants in the Spring 2004 ACHA-National College Health Assessment:

Charles H. Koehler, Jr. (St. Louis Community College)
We participated in the Spring 2004 ACHA-NCHA as a follow-up to the survey we had done in 2001 (and in 2000 on one campus). We hope to put the results to good use through social norms programs and allocation of resources and development of related activities.

The data has helped us in our working toward a proactive, comprehensive health education program, which would include social norming. It has encouraged development of health education by several departments and brought the topic to our Leadership Team. We also will be using the results in presentations to faculty, staff, administration, and board members.

The data will be used in nursing, science, mathematics, social sciences, communications, and health classes. It is also likely to be used by our ASO community partners.

Rick Howell, MS (Florida State University)
We participated in the ACHA-NCHA because it was suggested for use by the grant-funding agency. We also liked the fact that the survey was nationally validated and that we could compare our outcomes with other like-sized institutions.

Angel Weisbrod, RN-C, MA (St. Mary's University)
We participated in the ACHA-NCHA, as opposed to other similar survey instruments, because it covered a wide variety of physical, social, and mental health issues. It has the ability to compare data with other college populations, as opposed to non college individuals.

Bene Gatzert (University of California, Berkeley)
The reasons we participated in the ACHA-NCHA included (in no particular order):

  • Comparability with national data (specifically, aggregate NCHA data)
  • Pilot tested two surveys with a few students and overall, they suggested we use ACHA-NCHA
  • Project of ACHA
  • More campuses seem to use ACHA-NCHA than other such college health surveys

We want to continue to build upon this first go-around with the survey by conducting additional population-based health research (TBD). Once we look at the data more closely, we might see areas to explore further using a variety of informal or formal research/assessment methods.

Patricia Fabiano, PhD (Western Washington University)
We participated in the ACHA-NCHA because it provides information on a broad array of health and social issues facing college students. I wanted an instrument that went beyond a narrow scope and included the broader conditions affecting the health of our students. The ACHA-NCHA is one of the most versatile health and social issues inventories available to those of us interested in advancing the health and success of students.

I felt so strongly about the versatility of this survey that I influenced the Washington State College Coalition for Prevention to use it for Washington State's first statewide assessment of college student drinking. One of the major selling points to the eleven Washington colleges and universities who participated was the many health topics that they would receive information on -- in addition to alcohol and drugs.

We use the suvey to identify and prioritize our health initiatives on campus. We use the data to inform policy and programming decisions not only in the "health center" but also in other campus programs that care about the health of students. I present our biennially collected NCHA data to the Division of Student Affairs at our annual retreat. It is always met with interest, questions, and spurs much conversation. In addition, we are using the survey for our AOD prevention strategic planning for the state of Washington.

The data has also been utilized by other departments on campus: The Counseling Center has used the depression data, a health education faculty member has written an article on the depression data, and Financial Aid has used the "debt data." Each year I do a presentation to the parents of new students, and I show the parents the data that shows the students use them as a source of health information, and more so, believe them as a source of that information. They are always encouraged by this data… Similarly, they are surprised and happy to see the differences in what students report regarding actual drug and alcohol use and actual sexual activity and perceived drug and alcohol use and perceived sexual activity. The difference between "actual and perceived" is a revelation to them.

Priscilla Quirk, MEd (Ithaca College)
My small Health Promotion Research Committee is working with the Center for Faculty Excellence to make our ACHA-NCHA data available to professors to use with students in their classes. We actually provided mini-grants over the summer for professors to develop projects/units in which students will have hands on experience with the data in SPSS form. Five professors will be using the data this fall, one from our school of communication, several from humanities and sciences, and one from health science and human performance. Some time in the spring the professors will present their student projects in an open forum. We're pretty excited about this - what a great way for students to learn about data collection and analysis, health issues, and themselves!

Nancy Stockert, PhD (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
We decided to participate because the ACHA-NCHA

  • is less expensive
  • asks more of the questions to which we need answers
  • allows additional questions specific to our location and population
  • provides data analysis and returns our data file so we can research the impact of selected variables, interactions, etc.
  • allows us to conduct the survey via the web
  • has excellent consulting and support services
  • is produced by ACHA, an organization we are pleased to support

Along with other information, the data has provided support on our campus for tobacco policy changes and for more focus on stress and mental health needs. It has helped us get grant funding for programming that we would not otherwise have been able to do.

In the greater campus community, the data has been used to provide needs assessment/baseline data for the alcohol task force (systemwide) and for the sexual assault task force. The latest set of results will be shared with the counseling center and other student affairs offices, as well as campus security and others. We have used the data to indicate that students' health can impact college success and retention. We have also incorporated the data into presentations for students and parents. The ACHA-NCHA findings have encouraged other research into our student population by helping us to provide the best small set of questions for an ongoing freshman survey and enabling us to refine our client satisfaction and other smaller-scale surveys. We hope to have funding to continue to administer the survey every two years, to provide an ongoing evaluation of the health of the student body and at least correlational evidence of the effectiveness of our programs (or the need to revise our approaches).