The ACHA 2018 Annual Meeting took place in Washington, DC on May 28-June 2. The ACHA National Office staff welcomed over 2,000 college health and wellness professionals to our backyard for an extraordinary opportunity to join colleagues from across the country to unite, lead, and transform the lives of the nation’s 20 million college students.
The meeting kicked off on Tuesday with an exciting day of Pre-Conference Workshops with topics ranging from wound care to advocacy to sexual assault response to caring for transgender/genderfluid students. Also on Tuesday, ACHA welcomed a unique training brought to our attendees by BleedingControl.org called Stop the Bleed. This initiative from the American College of Surgeons is an effort to save lives by raising awareness of basic actions to stop life threatening bleeding following everyday emergencies and man-made and natural disasters. Nearly 100 attendees participated in this training, and ACHA would like to extend our thanks to the trainers who volunteered their time to teach our participants. If you were unable to attend and would like to participate in a Stop the Bleed training in your area, visit www.BleedingControl.org/class/search or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
On Wednesday the conference truly began with the Opening General Session. Attendees listened to speeches from the ACHA President, President-Elect, Student Section Chair, Mid-Atlantic College Health Association President, and ACHF Board Members. We were also treated to the musical stylings of Past ACHA President Rick Chapman, MHA, MBA, FACHA, whose beautiful rendition of “God Bless the USA” left none in attendance with a dry eye. This year’s Keynote Speaker was Anne Schuchat, MD (RADM, USPHS), the Deputy Director of the CDC. In her address, Confronting 21st Century Health Threats in College Communities, Dr. Schuchat spoke about strategies for responding to emerging health threats, and how those affected today’s adolescents and young adults. A perfect way to kick off a meeting in our Nation’s Capital.
Following the Opening General Session, the regularly scheduled meeting programs got underway. This year’s program featured more than 150 educational sessions that brought attendees cutting edge research, guidelines, programs, and best practices in college health and wellness from across the county – and beyond! With CE credit offered in 10 disciplines, attendees were sure to maximize their continuing education needs during ACHA 2018.
One of the main goals of any ACHA Annual Meeting is to create as many networking opportunities as possible for our attendees. We were pleased to bring back the highly successful Aspire: ACHA Mentoring program at the 2018 Annual Meeting. This year, we matched about 80 college health professionals with mentors, and the overwhelming response was positive from both mentors and mentees alike. We also added a Rising Leaders Coffee Hour on Friday morning to give anyone wishing to become more involved in the association a chance to meet with current leadership. Of course, we brought back old favorites such as the Newcomers’ Orientation, Opening Reception, and association and adjunct meetings.
Probably the most talked about change to ACHA 2018 was the completely revamped Awards and Fellows Celebration Dinner. Now called ACHA Celebrates! this event began with an evening dessert reception. From here we moved into the Marriott Ballroom for the 2018 Awards and Fellows presentation. Finally, the night concluded with raucous laughter thanks to a special performance by the well-known political satire group The Capitol Steps. This unique event was a huge highlight of ACHA 2018.
Another fun new piece for ACHA 2018 was the interactive Walking Challenge, which took place Thursday and Friday. Participants enjoyed taking part in this friendly competition, and were encouraged to stop by our sponsors’ booths in the Exhibit Hall for a special step boost QR code. Thanks to all who participated, and be sure to keep your walking shoes handy for next year!
From all of us at the National Office, we hope your time at ACHA 2018 was fulfilling, not only for your continuing education needs, but also for your networking needs and as a chance for collaboration with colleagues. We hope you’ll join us for ACHA 2019 in Denver, CO!
Want more highlights from ACHA 2018? Check out our website!
CE and General Meeting Evaluations for ACHA 2018.
Submit your program proposals for ACHA 2019.