Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

First Advisor

Coke, Sallie P.

Second Advisor

Malachowski, Judith M.

Third Advisor

Butler, Scott


The incidence of chronic diseases in college students mirrors that of older adults. Yet despite the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), college student continue to have difficulty accessing medical care. Many have no insurance, limited transportation and inadequate finances during college to obtain medical care. While college health centers may improve access to care, smaller colleges often do not have the financial and personnel resources to provide student health services. Even in colleges that provide student health services, the focuses are primarily on sexual health, mental health, violence, and substance abuse. Prevention and treatment of chronic diseases services are rarely offered.

To determine the health needs of students at Dalton State College, an electronic survey of student health needs was conducted. This survey sought to determine the most common chronic and acute medical and mental health needs of students, barriers to accessing care, and need for health services on campus. Approximately 18% of students (n = 736) completed the survey. One fourth of students had no medical insurance and 30% had no primary care provider. Over 50% of students were overweight and 37% had a least one chronic medical condition. Age and BMI showed a statistically significant correlation to both acute and chronic health needs, the number of visits to a primary care provider, and the likelihood to use a student health center. The majority of students (90%) felt a health center was needed.

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Owens DNP signature page