As a principal component of the core values of our association, ACHA
fully embraces social justice, human dignity, and respect for all.
Accordingly, the association has adopted the following organizational positions with regard to matters of equality and human rights:
The American College Health Association, on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the adoption of our Anti-Bias and Anti-Violence Statement, would like to reiterate our commitment to ending bias and violence on college campuses.
We believe that for a campus community to be truly healthy, it must be guided by the values of multicultural inclusion, respect, and equity. Intolerance has no place at an institution of higher learning.
The Association supports all individuals regardless of race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, veteran status, disability, or genetic information. We encourage all campus health professionals to be actively engaged in the struggle to end oppression, to prevent bias-related violence in our campus communities, and to take action to eradicate injustice. We also encourage governmental officials—federal and state—to adopt policies that reflect these values and ideals.
Originally adopted by the ACHA Executive Committee on behalf of the Board of Directors on July 15, 1999. Updated and reaffirmed by the ACHA Executive Committee on October 21, 2020.
Access to Health Care Services for Transgender Patients
As a society, we have made significant strides in removing barriers and improving health care and outcomes for our transgender and gender diverse population. Individuals are more empowered to disclose their medical concerns regarding their gender identity to their health care providers, and are doing so in larger numbers and at younger ages than they have in the past. Health care services should be made universal to all and should not discriminate in any way, whether this be on the basis of age; race; ethnicity; sex; sexual orientation; gender; gender identity; marital status; physical size or ability; religious, spiritual or cultural identity; neuro diversity; socioeconomic status; or veteran status. This is consistent with ACHA’s long-held values of cultural inclusion, respect, equality, and equity.
Therefore, ACHA opposes any policy, at any level, that restricts, limits, or discourages access to gender-related services for transgender and nonbinary youth and/or adults in our communities. This includes government requirements for data sharing that target gender-affirming care and diagnoses related to gender identity or gender dysphoria. The sharing of this confidential, personal medical data, even when de-identified, erodes trust in healthcare services and interferes with the patient-provider relationship to the detriment of the person’s physical and mental health. The health and well-being needs of all college students, including those who identify as transgender and nonbinary, must always be the highest priority of health care providers and campus health centers.
Originally adopted by the ACHA Executive Committee on behalf of the Board of Directors on February 25, 2020. Updated and reaffirmed by the ACHA Executive Committee on February 8, 2023.
Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Care Services
The American College Health Association (ACHA) supports students’ unfettered access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services – including education, counseling, testing for sexually transmitted infections and HIV, access to contraceptive options, emergency contraception, preconception counseling, pregnancy and postpartum care, and abortion. These services reflect a reproductive healthcare framework based on an individual’s right to have children, not to have children, and to parent children in safe and sustainable communities. With the June 2022 United States Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that formally overturned Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, individual states are now able to regulate and restrict abortion services. Numerous states have already adopted severely restrictive reproductive health laws or are prepared to enact such laws – some of which outlaw abortion at early gestational age without exception or limit access to safe and effective medications.
The Dobbs ruling sets a dangerous precedent at both the state and federal levels – one that could result in restrictions on bodily autonomy as well as institutions' and professionals’ ability to provide sexual and reproductive health information and resources to students. Unfortunately, ongoing legal challenges threaten the ability to provide comprehensive reproductive health care throughout our country and ACHA vows to support and advocate for our member institutions with education and research as they navigate this changing medico-legal landscape.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that abortion is an essential component of comprehensive health care. Lack of access to the full spectrum of reproductive health services will disproportionately affect people of color, those with limited income or who are living in rural areas, adolescents, trans persons who can become pregnant, and other communities that experience marginalization and health inequity.
While there are a variety of individual and institutional views on reproductive health care, access to comprehensive, evidence-based sexual and reproductive health resources is vital in supporting the long-term success and retention of students in higher education. Access to these services is crucial in supporting students in completing their degree.
Adopted by the ACHA Board of Directors on March 10, 2023.
The American College Health Association (ACHA) joins numerous
professional health and human rights organizations in support of
marriage equality. The Association recognizes that denial of equal civil
rights can contribute to diminished health and quality of life. With
due consideration and respect for varying philosophical positions and
alternative viewpoints, ACHA encourages continued dialogue and
collaboration to promote social justice.
Adopted by the ACHA Board of Directors on May 27, 2013.
The American College Health Association (ACHA) supports institutional, as well as legislative or regulatory initiatives to promote a campus climate guided by the values of inclusion, respect, equality and equity. ACHA rejects all forms of intolerance and bias (whether implicit or explicit).
Such a climate is essential to college health.
Consistent with those values, ACHA rejects all forms of discriminatory conduct with respect to: age; race/ethnicity; sex; sexual orientation; gender, including gender identity and expression; marital status; physical size; psychological/physical/learning ability; religious, spiritual or cultural identity; socioeconomic status; or veteran status.
Reaffirmed by the ACHA Board of Directors on October 21, 2019
Sexual Violence Position Statement
The American College Health Association (ACHA) understands that “campus sexual and relationship violence are serious public health issues that adversely affect college and university students because students cannot learn in an atmosphere in which they do not feel safe. Sexual and relationship violence comprise a continuum of behaviors that include, but are not limited to, sexual/gender harassment, sexual coercion, sexual abuse, stalking, sexual assault, and rape.” As such, ACHA issues an updated Position Statement on Sexual Violence on College and University Campuses.
For the full the position statement, please click here.
Adopted by the Executive Committee on behalf of the Board of Directors on May 10, 2016.
Expedited Partner Therapy
The American College Health Association (ACHA) affirms its support for expedited partner therapy (EPT) and recommends this therapy as a useful option for partner treatment. EPT is the clinical practice of prescribing and dispensing medications for the treatment of chlamydia and/or gonorrhea to the sexual partner(s) of patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea without the health care provider first examining the partner(s).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded that EPT is a useful alternative to the standard approach and recommends it as an additional option for partner treatment while not replacing other options recommended for select populations. To effectively treat patients with sexually transmitted diseases, the patient’s current sexual partner must be treated as well to prevent reinfection. Via EPT, a patient’s partner(s) can receive treatment for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea at the point of diagnosis of their partner.
Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea are significant issues on our nation’s college campuses. EPT provides an enhanced opportunity for clinicians to disrupt the transmission of these diseases and provide effective treatment to America’s college students. Therefore, ACHA supports the CDC EPT recommendation and urges states and their respective health agencies to enact legislation to allow expedited partner therapy for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea.
Adopted by the ACHA Executive Committee on behalf of the Board of Directors on August 29, 2018.
Formal Comments/Responses to Current Events
As an advocacy-centered organization, the American College Health Association understands the importance of being responsive to current, national, and international events. However, in an ever-changing world dominated by the 24-hour news cycle and social media, it has become increasingly challenging to choose when ACHA should and should not comment.
In this current climate, ACHA has often been faced with the reality that the weight of a reaction may become diluted the more one reacts. Therefore, ACHA has chosen not to respond to political announcements, posturing, or social media posts, regardless of the source. Instead, ACHA has reserved its formal comments for response to factual news, major events, or genuine policymaking that may have a significant impact upon the health and well-being of college students and our college communities, both now and in the future. In addition, ACHA has chosen to comment upon issues affecting the most vulnerable and marginalized members of our community, repeatedly defending our shared values of cultural inclusion, respect, equality, and equity. We welcome the feedback of our ACHA members on this approach.
Adopted by the ACHA Executive Committee on behalf of the Board of Directors on September 8, 2017.
Vaccine Use to Promote Health and Prevent Disease
Immunizations offer safe and effective protection from
vaccine-preventable diseases. The United States is experiencing
re-emergence of these diseases, in part due to factors such as
un-immunized and under-immunized persons and global travel. The American
College Health Association (ACHA) strongly supports the use of vaccines
to protect the health of our individual students and our campus
communities. In recognition of the vital role that vaccine coverage
plays in community immunity (herd immunity), ACHA discourages nonmedical
exemptions to required vaccines. Best practices for institutions of higher education include following recommendations for institutional prematriculation immunizations guidelines, encouraging students who request nonmedical waivers to be
counseled by a health service clinician, and considering exclusion of
unimmunized students from school during outbreaks of vaccine-preventable
Adopted by the ACHA Executive Committee on behalf of the Board of Directors on April 15, 2014.