History of SAACHS

It seems the plan to start this association was hatched somewhere between the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch in the minds of at least 2 doctors, Dr Phil Slayen (UCT) and Dr Jan van Heerden (Stellenbosch) in 1978. A constitution was drawn up and Dr Phil Slayen was installed as the first chairperson of the fledgling Association of Student Health Services with Dr van Heerden functioning as the vice-chairperson.

Dr Jan van Heerden was given the job of organizing the first symposium of the association, Dr Slayen being out of the country at that time. So it was that on Monday 16 July 1979, the inaugural meeting to accept the constitution was held at the University of Natal. Present at that first meeting were representatives from the Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Potchefstroom, Orange Free State, Pretoria and the Witwatersrand. Observer representatives attended from the Universities of Natal, Durban-Westville, and Zululand.

The purpose of this Association was 'to make a worthwhile contribution to the South African medical and paramedical scene' .


Dr Francois Malan (Stellenbosch) was appointed the first secretary/treasurer from 1982 to 1988. Dr Jan van Heerden was elected the first Honourary Life Member and Patron of the Association, this one year after he retired from the University of Stellenbosch. He was responsible for drawing up a set of ethical guidelines for the Association.

1985 saw the Association reaching out to the Technikons and Teacher Training Colleges. It took some time before they showed any interest, but by 1988 observers from the Natal Technikon and Northern Transvaal Technikon attended our annual congress.

1986 saw the introduction of our newsletter 'IN CORPORE SANO.' [In a healthy body]

1988 a chain of office was made to be worn by the officiating chairperson. It bore the logo of the Association (Hermes) together with the name of the newsletter.

1989 Dr Jan van Heerden was elected as the first Honourary President of the Association.

1995 marked the beginning of regional meetings and the retirement of our President on account of ill health.

1996 the South African Association of Student Health Services changed its name to South African Association of Campus Health Services, mainly because by this time most institutions had extended their services to staff as well as students.