At the end of 2003, between 1,039,000 and 1,185,000 persons in the United States were living with HIV/AIDS (Glynn and Rhodes 2005) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 40,000 more persons in the U.S. become infected with HIV each year (CDC 2003). According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the international statistics are even more sobering: there were approximately 39.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS in 2004, and an estimated 4.9 million newly infected people in 2004 with 3.1 million human deaths attributed to AIDS in that year alone (UNAIDS 2004). The disease pandemic emerged in North America in 1981 (Vargo 1992), and in just over two decades, the disease has become one of the greatest pandemics in human history (in contrast, the bubonic plague took over 2,000 years to cause 50 million deaths) (Walker 1991).
The American College Health Association was founded in 1920 and serves as a leadership and advocacy organization for college and university health. In the early 1980s, the association created an HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Task Force and then a short time later, a Human Dignity Task Force. Both work groups were established to expand the working definition of "health" in the higher education context as a response to the AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) pandemic. In less than ten years, both task forces were dissolved or subsumed into other committees. This dissertation examines the evolution of the association in response to the continuing AIDS pandemic in a critical hermeneutic paradigm, with particular focus on the organizational and cultural forces that led to changes in structures and philosophies.
This critical hermeneutic inquiry (Herda 1999) examines those organizational changes using narrative data from research conversations with twelve health and higher education professionals, following participatory inquiry research methods (Herda 1999). The narratives were analyzed within the categories of Narrative Identity (Kearney 2004; Ricoeur 1992, 2004), Oneself as Another (Ricoeur 1992), and Mimesis and Imagination (Kearney 1999; Ricoeur 1992). A narrative approach in critical hermeneutics is employed to discover unique characteristics of a professional organization's evolution and the implications for leadership in college health, for educational initiatives, and for public health policies in general.
The findings include defining health as a condition of human dignity, reorienting organizations around individuals, and re-imagining leadership development for social responsibility. The implications of this study include suggestions for organizations (such as professional associations), higher education practitioners, curricular initiatives at the undergraduate and graduate level, and future collaborations for college health promotion. The co-constructed narratives of this study describe the metaphor of HIV/AIDS as a disease pandemic that has infected all of human existence. This re-imagined narrative compels the future consideration of the intersections of the personal and political, of the individual and the community, and of the privilege of health and the experience of illness for all people and in all communities/organizations.
|Advisor:||Herda, Ellen A.|
|School:||University of San Francisco|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/08, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Health education, Higher education|
|Keywords:||AIDS, College health, Critical hermeneutics, Dignity, HIV/AIDS, Health promotion, Narrative inquiry, Organizational change, Social responsibility|
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