Approximately 1.3 million students attend one of the 271 institutions of higher education in New York State. A large proportion of these students are unvaccinated for preventable diseases, such as influenza, meningococcal disease, cervical cancer, tetanus, and pertussis. Factors, such as a lack of regular preventive visits, financial barriers, misperceptions of risk, and incomplete vaccination records, lead to the potential of disease outbreaks among college campuses. Although many students enter college missing vaccinations, institutions of higher education have a unique opportunity to ensure that students receive annual, age indicated, and catch-up vaccinations. A sustained increase in vaccination rates across institutions of higher education has the potential to help the entire state lower its incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases.
In response to this opportunity, the New York State Health Foundation awarded the NYU Student Health Center funding to establish the NYS Higher Education Immunization Collaborative, a statewide quality improvement collaborative focused on increasing vaccination rates among students attending colleges and universities across New York State.
The Collaborative focuses on influenza, Tdap, and HPV and includes two tracks:
- Teams that deliver targeted vaccines on campus
- Teams that rely largely on referral networks and community partnerships to provide targeted vaccines to students
Together, we will:
LEARN. We will generate new understanding of the vaccine preventable diseases that can impact our campuses. We will strengthen our quality improvement capabilities and our capacities to implement best practices and evidence based interventions to increase vaccination rates.
NETWORK. We will share successes, challenges, and work towards common goals. We will collaborate with our public health experts, quality improvement faculty, and each other and leverage the synergies of our collective knowledge, skills, and experience.
IMPROVE. Starting small and spreading our successes, we will improve our processes and systems across the domains of community engagement, system design, decision support, information systems, self-management, and healthcare organization. We will track our individual and collective improvements through shared metrics to allow us to benchmark among ourselves and against national standards.
LEAD. We will be at the forefront in leading efforts within and across our institutions in developing new knowledge and learnings; bring about change that will increase immunization rates; reduce the incidence of vaccine preventable disease on our campuses; and ensure that our students are healthier and our campuses safer.