Special Projects Fund

Project Title

Increasing Immunization Rates on New York State College Campuses Using the Breakthrough Series Model

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Special Projects Fund

Date Awarded

November 17, 2015








Approximately 1.3 million students attend one of the 271 institutions of higher education in New York State. Though often overlooked, a large proportion of these students are unvaccinated for preventable diseases, such as influenza, hepatitis B, and meningitis.

Factors, such as a lack of regular preventive visits, financial barriers, misperceptions of risk, and no uniform method of vaccination record-keeping, lead to the potential of disease outbreaks among college campuses. Although many students enter college missing age-indicated vaccinations, the campus environment provides an opportunity to provide annual, indicated, and catch-up vaccinations. In 2015, NYHealth awarded New York University (NYU) a grant to implement a peer-based learning network focused on increasing vaccination rates among college campuses across New York State.

Under this grant, NYU established the first learning collaborative to engage colleges in increasing vaccination rates among their student bodies. Specifically, the collaborative convened college student health centers to develop sustainable, system-level improvements to increase immunization rates and learn and apply quality improvement methods. NYU engaged a diverse set of 60–90 institutions of higher education, including public, private, and community colleges statewide. Participating student health centers collected data and measured test techniques they use to increase immunizations. Through learning sessions, student health centers reported on successes, barriers, and lessons learned from these tests and share their reports and assessments. Upon completion of the collaborative, the colleges developed an implementation toolkit on best practices for increasing vaccinations among college students across the State.