National College Health Assessment comes to TRU

Courtney Dickson, Roving Editor Ω

- PHOTO COURTESY ALEX E. PROIMOS/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

– PHOTO COURTESY ALEX E. PROIMOS/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The American College Health Association (ACHA) will be emailing 5,000 TRU students, asking them to complete the National College Health Assessment (NCHA) on March 11.

The email that will appear in students’ inboxes will be from the address NCHA-WEB@acha.org. Chelsea Corsi, wellness coordinator, wants to ensure students the email will be safe to open.

Results from the survey will be analyzed and compiled into a report by the ACHA and sent back to TRU.

In order to ensure that students’ information will be kept confidential, the IT department teamed up with wellness and counselling to create 5,000 fake email addresses that the surveys will be sent through. This way, personal information (personal email address and names) will not be attached to the surveys. This means that the American government will not be able to access personal information about participants. No one will be able to see who said what.

Corsi had to seek ethics approval from the TRU research ethics board to distribute the survey due to the private and personal nature of some questions.

The NCHA is broad. Questions about mental health, exercise, nutrition, sexual practices, alcohol and drug use and what demographics students belong to appear in the survey. Corsi said there is even a question about whether a student has been a victim of stalking. For a sample of the NCHA visit achancha.org.

The goal of the survey is to get a representative random sample of various student demographics from different TRU campuses about their overall health, so the university can have a better idea of what’s happening on campus.

Corsi is a member of the Canadian Organization of University and College Health (COUCH). At the June 2011 annual general meeting for COUCH, they asked as many Canadian institutions as possible to take part in the survey.

The wellness centre and counselling services hope at least 900 students will participate.

“If we don’t have that, we don’t have enough information,” Corsi said.

According to Corsi, the NCHA has never been done at TRU.

The survey can be filled out until March 31 and there will be two reminders sent to chosen students during the 20 days. The survey will only take between 20 to 30 minutes to complete.

“It’s a very important 20 minutes to us,” Corsi said.

As a bonus to filling out the survey, each student that participates will be entered into a draw to win a prize of $500 in cash.