In 1861, Dr. Edward Hitchcock was named the medical director of the department of physical education at Amherst College, which is generally given credit as the first college health service. Soon other institutions of higher education established physical education departments that evolved into independent college health programs. As the field of college health expanded, leaders from numerous campuses began meeting to share information and discuss formation of a national organization. As a result, the American College Health Association was founded in 1920 to promote campus health care for students and advance the interests of college health.

Since its inception in 1920, the American College Health Association has been dedicated to the health needs of students at colleges and universities. It is the principal leadership organization for advancing the health of college students and campus communities through advocacy, education, and research.

Today, ACHA represents over 1,100 institutions of higher education, representing the collective health and wellness needs of 10 million college students. ACHA’s membership represent the diversity of the higher education community: two and four year schools, public and private, large and small, and minority serving institutions. ACHA serves over 8,500 individual college health and wellness professionals and leaders of all disciplines.