Student Travel Abroad

Read the CDC Notice to U.S. College and University Student Health Centers and International Study Abroad Program Offices regarding the Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Current Council Members

  • Catherine Ebelke, United States of America, Co-Chair
  • Julie Richards, United States of America, Co-Chair
  • Jenny Kind, United States of America
  • Robin Maestripieri, United States of America
  • Ken McClain, United States of America
  • Richard Moody, United States of America
  • Anamaria Muresan, Canada
  • Mark Newell, Australia
  • Despoina Pavlopoulou, Greece
  • Gail Rosselot, United States of America

In May 2015, the ISTM Executive Board voted to approve the formation of the Student Travel Abroad Group (STA) with the goal to Raise awareness among those who care for student travelers of the unique issues that impact this group.

Primary Goals Include:

  • Promote educational and research initiatives to improve the health of student travelers by identifying the unique needs of this population
  • Develop evidence-based practice recommendations for students who travel
  • Design tools to reduce student travel risk 

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Universities: Which illnesses do your students acquire while studying abroad?

We are recruiting universities to join the ISTM Student Travel Abroad (STA) Interest Group research project "Travel Health-related Preparation Practices and Occurence of Health-related Events among Undergraduate Students Studying Abroad."

There is a lack of research on pre-travel care for students who participate in study abroad offices and on the specific health-related events encountered by these students while abroad. This project aims to gain knowledge and insight on health-related preparations by universities with undergraduate student study abroad offices and student health centers, and health-related events experienced by undergraduate students while studying abroad. This knowledge will be used to inform university study abroad offices, undergraduate student travellers, clinicians, public health officials, and other stakeholders.

The ISTM Student Travel Abroad (STA) Interest Group is partnering with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct a large undergraduate student traveller research project. Our group is very excited about the potential for valuable information this study will reveal about student travellers. Currently several schools have completed the Institutional Review Board (IRB) process and are now collecting data (these schools include Stanford, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Virginia.) Our group is very interested in assisting other colleges and universities in participating.

If you are interested in your college or university participating in this project, please contact Sarah Kohl, our project lead, who can assist with the IRB process. Please don’t hesitate to join us in this very exciting endeavor! You may contact us for further information through the ISTM Secretariat by email or phone: +1 (404) 373-8282.

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Student Travel Abroad

Students who travel for education, community service, pleasure or employment are a rapidly expanding population for travel medicine providers. Historically this population has been comprised of younger adults, but now we see ever increasing numbers of students of every age traveling internationally. Medical students in their 30s going to Asia, second career nursing students in their late 40s volunteering in Central America, Fulbright scholars in their late 20s heading to Africa, pre-teens attending camps in South America, as well as retirees signing on to lifelong learning programs on every continent. Increasingly, institutions of higher learning are requiring students to spend at least some of their time studying abroad. At the same time, younger students are spending summers engaged in international, rather than domestic enrichment programs.

Student travelers are more broadly defined than ever before and physicians, Physician Assistants, nurses, and pharmacists care for these travelers in a variety of settings for pre- and post-travel. Program organizers, teachers, and tour operators also have a strong interest in the travel health needs of this population. This group invites ISTM members who have an interest in student travel to join and help us identify priorities and activities. We welcome all health professionals into this multi-disciplinary special interest group as well as those with qualifications or special experience in student health.

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The Student Travel Abroad Interest Group Charter

  • Raise awareness among those who care for student travelers of the unique issues that impact this group
  • Develop evidence based good practice in the care of students who travel before, during, and after travel, and help develop tools to reduce student travel risk
  • Promote research by describing the unique needs of the student traveler
  • Promote educational and research initiatives to improve the health of student travelers
  • Work closely with other ISTM Committees and Professional and Interest groups to promote the health of student