U-M expands support for faculty, staff traveling abroad


University of Michigan employees now have additional resources for enhanced safety and support for personal and business trips abroad.

Travel Health Services, located in University Health Service, recently began to offer travel health consultations to faculty and staff who do not have a UHS primary care provider.

In a recent campuswide message, Valeria Bertacco, vice provost for engaged learning, and Patrick Morgan, chief international safety officer, encouraged all university travelers — business and personal — to register their trips with the university and sign up for travel insurance.

As the university enters the summer travel season, Morgan said he hopes more faculty will realize these resources are available for personal travel abroad, as well as for business-related trips.

Travel-abroad health insurance, which is offered through GeoBlue, is free for international business travel and $1.57 a day for personal international travel, and it can cover dependents and spouses traveling with the employee.

“Our university is at its best when we are globally connected,” said Rob Ernst, chief health officer, executive director of UHS, and associate vice president for health and wellness in Student Life. “Ensuring every Wolverine is as safe and prepared as possible, whether here on campus or around the world, is essential to our mission.”

Heather Vance, UHS travel and immunization chief, noted that Travel Health Services offers consultations for employees to receive updated immunizations and to discuss personal considerations based on their individual health conditions, destination and length of stay.

There is a $100 fee for employee travel consultations. The fee is waived for currently enrolled students. Immunizations are billed to the patient’s health insurance. University travelers also may access resources like UHS’ Travel Health Education Program, which is self-led and free.

“Our travel clinic offers important preparedness for unpredictable circumstances,” Vance said. “Aside from greater peace of mind while you travel, you will also be safer and healthier.”

Travelers have support from the Global Engagement Team within the Office of the Provost, which uses the travel registry to communicate with travelers during a crisis abroad. Before trips, the team can advise faculty and staff on strategizing travel, particularly to parts of the world at risk of conflict or infectious disease.

“​​University support is of critical importance for the students that we send to low- to middle-income countries,” said Amy Hunter, research associate with U-M’s William Davidson Institute. “Many of these countries have yellow fever virus transmission areas, so it is helpful to refer students to UHS as an authorized travel clinic for the yellow fever vaccine.”

Said Geoff Emberling, associate research scientist with the Kelsey Museum of Archeology: I have had great support, including planning for evacuation in the event of conflict like the civil war (in Sudan) that began without warning.”

Morgan said he is thankful to have a strong partnership with faculty traveling abroad.

“By utilizing U-M resources, faculty are able to conduct their critical work in lower-resourced locations abroad while managing health and safety risks,” he said.


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