ACHA Primer: Interacting With Companies and Preventing Commerical Bias/Influence


In serving in a volunteer leadership capacity, you should keep in mind that the American College Health Association (ACHA) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, non-profit organization committed to providing advocacy, education, communications, products, and services, as well as promoting research and culturally competent practices to enhance its members' ability to advance the health of all students and the campus community. As a tax-exempt organization, ACHA must take great care not to affiliate with (or allow its name, programs, and/or services to be used by) commercial entities in their sales, advertising, promotion, or other revenue development activities.

ACHA aims to advance the health of college students by orchestrating or providing a variety of initiatives, projects, programs, resources and services to stakeholders. For-profit companies (or other commercial entities) active in the college health business sector may also strive to help students live healthier lives. However, while there may be overlap in the aims of both ACHA and some commercial entities, volunteer leaders should always acknowledge and recognize that for these commercial entities, the underlying motive is financial profit. By their very nature, commercial entities exist to ensure return on investment to their shareholders/owners; therefore, ACHA volunteer leaders should be ever mindful that the likely objective — competitive advantage — will underlie any commercial entity's relationship with ACHA.

ACHA Policies

ACHA has developed policy documents that guide the association’s relationships and activities with respect to companies/commercial entities:

All volunteer leaders are encouraged to review and adhere to these policies (and the spirit and intent implied therein). ACHA's members and other stakeholders count on the association to be the authoritative, independent, and objective voice of college health; thus, these policies are in place to preserve the integrity and reputation of ACHA.