Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Needs Assessment: A Study of Perceived Need for Student Health Services by Chinese International Students

Academic journal article College Student Journal

A Needs Assessment: A Study of Perceived Need for Student Health Services by Chinese International Students

Article excerpt

The purpose of this study was to identify the unique health related needs of the Chinese international student (N=91) and identify barriers to utilization of the available health care services on the university campus. The setting was a university campus in Arkansas which had an overall enrollment of 8864 students on the main campus during the fall of 2011 (Institution Research, 2011) with 351 international students of which 148 declared China or Taiwan as their home country (Onodera, Y., 2011). The study design was a needs assessment utilizing a survey approach. The survey was developed and administered utilizing the Qualtrics survey system. The survey was developed by the author specifically for this project based on a review of literature and working with personnel in the International and Multicultural Student Services. Findings include lack of responsibility for own health care needs, failure to seek medical attention with perceived need and an underlying dependence on International and Multicultural Student Services.

The authors would like to thank Yasushi Onodera, Director of International and Multicultural Student Services Arkansas Tech University (ATU) for supporting this project; Earnest Yang, Academic Advisor (ATU) for translation services; Peng "Jack" Feng, undergraduate student in the Department of Nursing (ATU) who served as research assistant for one semester; and ATU Department of Nursing for publication support.


The rise in international students on college campuses will require accurate assessment and intervention to provide appropriate student health care services. The number of international students on college campuses in the United States (U.S.) continues to rise (Institute of International Education, 2010; Lewin, 2010). International students "... enrich the campus community and expand our intellectual, ethnic, and cultural experiences" (Carr, Koymama, & Thiagarajan, 2003, p. 131). According to the Institute of International Education, the number of international students in the U.S. rose 3% to 690,923 during the 2009/2010 academic year. "This year's growth was primarily driven by a 23% increase in Chinese student enrollment in the United States to a total of nearly 160,000 students, or more than 18% of the total international student population, making China the leading sending country" (Institute of International Education, 2010, p. 1; Mellman, 2011). The Chinese international student represents a rise in the middle class in China. These students are able to pay full tuition (Bartlett & Fischer, 2012) to universities that have taken a hit in other areas during hard economic times. The increase in international students on college campuses is an important consideration for university administrators, student health service providers, as well as primary care providers in the community.


Working with personnel in the office of International & Multicultural Student Services (IMSS) at Arkansas Tech University, China was identified as the largest group of international students on campus. Institutional Research for Arkansas Tech University groups Asian with Pacific Islander for student demographic purposes. The number of Asian/ Pacific Islander students rose from 65 enrolled in the fall of 2006 to 137 enrolled in the fall of 2011 (Institution Research, 2011). The director of IMSS provided the fall enrollment for Chinese students as 134 and Taiwan 14 (Onodera, 2011). The health care concerns identified by IMSS personnel included; a lack of education on how to care for self, overuse of the emergency department, and lack of education about how their body works including reproductive health. Working with the director of IMSS allowed a firsthand glimpse into the life of the international student on campus. Participation in the mandatory orientation program for all new international students allowed an opportunity to see what type of information the student is receiving about health and wellness and the services that are available to them on campus and in the community. …

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