Health promotion and strategic educational and programmatic planning empowers colleges and universities to position their students to reach their full academic and personal potential.

Sexual assault, suicide, and substance use/misuse are a few of the on-campus health challenges that have captured national attention in recent years. CHMI's College Campus Health program is an impactful way to create and implement a strategic plan for physical, sexual, and mental health promotion on college campuses. The program builds upon an already robust framework in mental health promotion, substance abuse, and suicide prevention to now include recommendations and expert partnerships in the areas of physical and sexual health.

MORE ABOUT THE COLLEGE CAMPUS HEALTH PROGRAM

In a 2014 survey of 275 college based counseling centers, 94 percent of directors report that recent trends toward a greater numbers of students with severe psychological problems continue to be true on their campuses.1 In addition to improved mental and sexual health, sound physical health and nutrition are also critical aspects of students’ total wellness and should be included in efforts to create an environment for optimal academic achievement and personal growth. As young people transition to college, there is typically a marked decline in both exercise and nutritional priorities.2 Since students are emerging adults still forming their identities and routines, the college environment is uniquely suited to promote positive behavior change and instill better health practices.3

Combining the existing framework in mental health promotion, substance abuse, and suicide prevention with recommendations in the areas of physical and sexual health, CHMI’s College Campus Health program aims to establish learning communities of member schools and to position college students to reach their full academic potential by creating a sustainable culture of health on campus.

The College Campus Health framework outlines six key areas that constitute a culture of total health on campus and offers guidelines for programming and policy.

  • Policy, Systems, and Strategic Planning
  • Mental Health
  • Sexual Health
  • Physical Health and Nutrition
  • Wellness
  • Substance Abuse & Misuse

The College Campus Health program is a four year commitment that begins with the development of a campus-wide interdisciplinary task force that serves as the primary working group responsible for coordinating efforts with CHMI. This team consists of representatives from key departments and offices on campus – including student representation – that work together to provide comprehensive health programming to the student body.

Following the development of the task force, the College Campus Health program:

  • provides schools with a comprehensive assessment in their priority framework areas
  • supports the task force in developing a strategic plan toward strengthening health programming in priority areas
  • connects the school with both national and local partners who serve as expert content advisors
  • works closely to manage the relationship between the content advisors and the task force as the strategic plan is implemented
  • promotes the successes of the program on campus and lends support in evaluation

The program is currently available to institutions of higher education (including community colleges, four-year colleges, and both private and public colleges) in our Community Health Transformation regions, which are disproportionately impacted by chronic disease. These communities include: Adams County, Mississippi; The Coachella Valley, California; Central Arkansas (Little Rock); Northeast Florida (Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns Counties); Greater Houston, Texas (Harris County); and Knox County, Illinois.


References:
  1. Gallagher, R.P. (2015). National Survey of College Counseling Centers 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2016 from http://www.collegecounseling.org/wp-content/uploads/NCCCS2014_v2.pdf.
  2. Racette, S. B., Deusinger, S. S., Strube, M. J., Highstein, G. R., & Deusinger, R. H. (2005). Weight changes, exercise, and dietary patterns during freshman and sophomore years of college. Journal of American College Health, 53(6), 245-251. doi: 10.3200/JACH.53.6.245-251
  3. Kim H-S, Ahn J, No J-K. Applying the Health Belief Model to college students’ health behavior. Nutrition Research and Practice. 2012;6(6):551-558. doi:10.4162/nrp.2012.6.6.551