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Safe and Healthy Campus Community

NYU includes a complex network of global communities in which social and physical factors combine to influence health. Many health issues – such as violence and unintentional injury, transportation safety, and the risk of communicable disease – affect not only an individual but also the population at large. With its growing position as a global university, it is critical for NYU to focus on risk reduction strategies and proactive approaches for health and safety issues common to all students and staff studying and working at sites throughout the world.


Key Facts

Transportation Safety

  • • Intentional and unintentional injuries are the two leading causes of death for 15-24 year olds in New York City.1
  • Between 1996 and 2003, a total of 3,462 NYC bicyclists were seriously injured in crashes with motor vehicles.2
  • 97% of the bicyclists who died in crashes in NYC from 1996 and 2005 were not wearing a helmet. Most fatal crashes (74%) involved a head injury.2
  • More than half of the NYU students who ride bicycles or in-line skate do not wear helmets.10
  • Pedestrian injury is one of the top ten leading causes of hospitalization due to injury for 15-24 year olds in New York City.3
  • Pedestrians accounted for 52% of traffic fatalities in NYC from 2005-2009.4
  • There are 4 times as many pedestrians killed or severely injured per mile of street in
    Manhattan as in the other four boroughs.4
  • Between 1990 and 2003, there were 315 accidental deaths on the New York City subway system.5

Violence

  • Nationally, more than 1 in 4 college-aged women report experiences that meet the legal definitions of rape or attempted rape.6
  • Between 1995 and 2002, U.S. college students ages 18–24 were victims of approximately 479,000 crimes of violence annually, including rape/sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.8
  • Approximately 90% of NYU students report feeling safe on campus during the daytime.9

Communicable Disease

  • 12.3% of college students reported negative impact on individual academic performance as a result of having a cold or the flu.10
  • Immunization can decrease the chances of getting influenza by 70-90% in healthy adults when there is an optimal match between the available vaccine and circulating influenza strains.11
  • An annual average of 41,400 deaths have been attributed to influenza using mortality data between 1979 and 2001.12
  • Nearly 100% of NYU students have received two MMR immunizations.
  • Many NYU students do not receive all of the CDC recommended vaccinations, including less than 40% receiving an annual influenza vaccination.9

safe and healthy campus community indicators

Recommendations

  1. Develop health requirements to reflect emerging global infectious disease patterns.
    As the world and the University become more interconnected, the emergence of infectious disease, prevalence of disease, and varying healthcare resources in different countries have the potential to impact the health and wellness of NYU students as they pass throughout the Global Network University (GNU). Vaccines uniquely protect both individuals and communities; other measures such as proactive screenings for infectious disease and self-reported health histories are also critical for reducing the risk of potential infectious disease outbreaks throughout the NYU community. The University’s health requirements ensure a basic level of prevention and protection for the NYU global network.

  2. Increase preventive measures that minimize the transmission of cold and flu.
    Viral infections, such as colds and influenza, are common among college and university students, with an estimated influenza incidence of approximately 9% to 20%; flu-like illness is associated with increased health care use, substantial decline in health status, and impaired academic performance.14  Thorough hand-washing and the maintenance of hygiene have been clearly linked to reductions in the transmission of viruses which cause colds and flu within homes and communities.13 In addition, annual influenza vaccination is the most effective way of preventing influenza and its consequences, including lower rates of healthcare use and impaired academic performance among college students.14 Despite the proven benefit of influenza vaccination, the immunization rate for NYU students has been consistently below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 80%. Disseminating information about and facilitating the use of preventive measures can minimize the number of people affected by cold and flu in the NYU community and lessen the negative impact these illnesses have on personal and academic functioning.

  3. Increase the number of bystanders able and willing to intervene on behalf of a student in crisis.
    Within a university, a bystander could be a student, faculty or staff member who has information about a person in distress or a situation with the potential to become dangerous.15 Bystander intervention offers “an approach that empowers people who witness abusive behavior or statements to intervene.”16 Interactive educational programs utilizing hands-on training with role play and behavior modeling have been found to be effective in increasing students’ perceived ability to step in on behalf of a peer.17 In addition, such education strengthens students’ confidence and intention to intervene.18 Empowering members of the NYU community with the tools and resources to aid and support their peers is necessary to cultivate a safe and healthy University environment.

  4. Coordinate sexual assault, online harassment and other violence prevention efforts throughout the GNU.
    The U.S. Department of Education strongly recommends that colleges and universities take proactive measures to prevent harassment, discrimination, and violence, as well as ensure that students, faculty, and staff are able to recognize and respond appropriately to these types of behaviors.19 Additionally, suggestions from the American College Health Association highlight the necessity of a university-wide collaboration to frame a violence prevention strategy.20 Emphasizing clear protocols and standards across NYU’s global network will further refine the efficiency and function of the University’s already expansive violence prevention efforts.

  5. Diversify modalities for disseminating violence and injury prevention information.
    A variety of methods for delivering health information have been found to be effective in increasing knowledge and changing attitudes related to violence and injury prevention.  These include, but are not limited to, theater,21 bystander training,17 and social marketing.22 Utilizing multiple modalities ensures that NYU has a comprehensive approach of communicating violence and injury prevention messages to all members of its diverse body of students. In addition, diversifying modalities allows for a range of formats, each of which might engage a specific segment of the NYU student community.23

  6. Increase personal responsibility for transportation safety (for example, bicycling, walking, rollerblading, or skateboarding).
    Research demonstrates that using a cell phone while walking puts pedestrians at greater risk of traffic related injury and crime victimization.26 In addition to reducing awareness of their surroundings,25 using a cell phone impairs a pedestrian’s ability to cross an intersection safely compared to crossing when undistracted.24 Many injuries sustained while traversing the city can be prevented if individuals take appropriate actions to ensure their safety. There is evidence to suggest that a multi-pronged social marketing approach including peer agents, distribution of educational literature, access to free or reduced cost-protective gear, and a signed commitment by the student can be successful in changing student behavior related to transportation safety.22 When used concomitantly, such efforts can support students’ accountability for their own safety, whether they travel by bicycles, rollerblades, subway, or on foot.

  7. Improve infrastructure to support safe walking, bicycling, and other self-powered transportation.
    In conjunction with citywide efforts to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists,4,27 NYU strives to improve opportunities for self-powered transportation by its students. Environmental factors recognized for their support of transportation-related physical activity include the presence of streetlights, agreeable scenery, and sidewalks.28 By creating a setting more conducive to safe walking, cycling, or other transportation, NYU encourages students to use active modes of transportation.

a) Flu vaccination

  • Data Source: ACHA#40C
  • Survey Question: Have you received the following vaccinations (shots series of shots): influenza (the flu) in the last 12 months (shot or nasal mist)?
  • Definition: proportion responding “yes”

b) Received information on violence prevention

  • Data Source: ACHA #2B9
  • Survey Question: Have you received information on the following topics from your college or university: violence prevention?
  • Definition: Provide information to all who report interest in receiving information on violence prevention.

c) Helmet wearing when bicycling

  • Data Source: ACHA#4B
  • Survey Question: Within the last 12 months, how often did you wear a helmet when you rode a bicycle?
  • Definition: of those who rode bikes, proportion responding “always”

  1. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Injury Surveillance and Prevention Program. Bureau of Environmental Disease Prevention. 10 leading causes of injury death, New York City: 2007-2009. Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/ip/ip-death-inj-rank.pdf
  2. New York City Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene, Parks and Recreation, Transportation, & the New York City Police Department. Bicyclist fatalities and serious injuries in New York City 1996-2005. Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/bicyclefatalities.pdf
  3. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Injury Surveillance and Prevention Program, Bureau of Environmental Disease Prevention. 10 Leading Causes of Injury Hospitalizations (Live Discharges), New York City: 2007-2009. Retrieved from http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/ip/ip-hosp-inj-rank.pdf
  4. New York City Department of Transportation. (2010, August). NYC pedestrian safety study & action plan. Retrieved from:
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/nyc_ped_safety_study_action_plan.pdf
  5. Gershon, R. R. M., Pearson, J. M., Nandi, V., Vlahov, D., Bucciarelli-Prann, A., Tracy, … Galea, S. (2008). Epidemiology of subway-related fatalities in New York City, 1990-2003. Journal of Safety Research, 39(6), 583. Retrieved from https://ezproxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/218403835?accountid=12768
  6. Koss, M., Gidycz, C., & Wisniewski, N. (1987). The scope of rape: Incidence and prevalence of sexual aggression and victimization in a national sample of higher education students. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 55(2): 162–170.
  7. Fisher, B., Cullen, F., & Turner, M. (2000). The sexual victimization of college women: Findings from two national-level studies. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice and Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  8. Baum, K., & Klaus, P. (2005, January). Violent victimization of college students, 1995-2002 (NCJ Publication No. 206836). Washington, DC:  U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  9. American College Health Association. (2009). American College Health Association - National College Health Assessment 2009 NYU Data. Hanover, MD: Author.
  10. American College Health Association. (2011, Spring). American College Health Association - National College Health Assessment Spring 2011 Results. Hanover, MD: Author.
  11. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, March 9). Selecting the viruses in the seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine. Retrieved from
    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/professionals/vaccination/virusqa.htm
  12. Dushoff, J., Plotkin, J.B., Viboud, C., Earn, D.J.D, & Simonsen, L. (2006). Mortality due to influenza in the United States—An annualized regression approach using multiple-cause mortality data. American Journal of Epidemiology, 163(2), 181-187.
  13. Barker, J., Stevens, D., Bloomfield, S.F. (2001). Spread and prevention of some common viral infections in community facilities and domestic homes. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 91(1), 7-21.
  14. Nichol, K.L., D’Heilly, S., & Ehlinger, E.P. (2008). Influenza vaccination among college and university students: Impact on influenza like illness, health care use, and impaired school performance. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, 162(12), 1113-8.

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