International Society of Travel Medicine
E-mail: ISTM@ISTM.org
Skypename: istm.office
Office hours: Monday - Friday, 9.00 - 17.00 EDT (UTC-04)

ISTM Foundation

Refugees The ISTM Foundation, Inc., promotes and fosters healthy and safe travel — it focuses not only on travellers, but also on their destination and on their home communities. With increasing global mobility, health and safety issues for everyone becomes more and more critical. This applies to the movement of refugees and migrants, to tourists including low budget backpackers, to humanitarian aid workers, to business travellers, to the military and government employees, and even to sports and entertainment figures who spend much of their time traveling.

Refugees The Foundation's mission is to support the scientific underpinnings of the fields of travel and tropical medicine in order to best provide for the health and well-being of all travellers. The Foundation also acts to raise awareness of social, environmental, cultural and health issues resulting in part from travel and tourism within destination communities, with the responsibility to encourage and conduct research and develop strategies to protect these local communities from the negative impacts of tourism.

The ISTM Foundation, established 2014, is guided by:

ISTM Foundation Executive Board

President: Robert Steffen, Switzerland

Robert Steffen Robert Steffen, Emeritus Professor, is currently concentrating on research projects at the University of Zurich Centre for Travel Medicine, where until 2008 he was the Head of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention of Communicable Diseases in the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine and Director of a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Traveller's Health. Further, he is Adjunct Professor in the Epidemiology and Disease Prevention Division of the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, TX and Honorary Fellow of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine.

Dr. Steffen began systematically investigating illness and accidents in travellers in 1975. He organised the First International Conference on Travel Medicine in Zurich 1988 and became a co-founder and President of the International Society of Travel Medicine. He is the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Travel Medicine and has published more than 350 papers, book chapters, monographs - mainly in the field of travel health. For 12 years each, Dr. Steffen presided over the Swiss Influenza Pandemic Planning Committee and the Expert Committee for Travel Medicine; he was Vice-President of the Federal Commission on Vaccination and of the Swiss Bioterrorism Committee.

Dr. Steffen has held a number of critical roles in ISTM since its inception. He has served as President-Elect, President and Past-President, as well as chairing the Exam and Liaison Committees.

Vice President: Phyllis Kozarsky, United States of America

Phyllis Kozarsky Phyllis Kozarsky, MD is a Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Emory University. She started Emory’s travel and tropical disease clinic in 1988 and began working as a consultant to CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) shortly thereafter as the chief of travelers’ health. She remains a consultant to CDC’s DGMQ in travelers’ health and is the chief medical editor of CDC’s Health Information for International Travel, also known as the "Yellow Book."

Dr. Kozarsky is also a consultant to many organizations including the Coca-Cola Company, Delta Airlines, CNN, and Habitat for Humanity International. She received her bachelor's degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York and her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She is the author of many peer-reviewed articles, and is an active member many professional societies including the International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Her current research efforts have primarily focused on issues in clinical tropical medicine and travelers' health including the epidemiology of travel-related infections.

Secretary-Treasurer: Peter A. Leggat, Australia

Peter A. Leggat Peter A. Leggat, MD, PhD, DrPH, is Professor and co-Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Vector-borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University (JCU), Australia. A medical and higher doctorate graduate from the University of Queensland, he has published more than 500 journal papers, more than 90 chapters and more than 30 books, as well as presenting more than 400 papers at national and international conferences. He has consulted with various organisations, including the Australian Defence Force, the Therapeutic Goods Authority Australia and the World Health Organization. A former Fulbright Scholar and Fulbright Ambassador, he has received numerous national and international Fellowships and other accolades. He is a member of a number of charitable boards, including St John Ambulance Australia, and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Professor Leggat has a strong interest in health workforce development in public health and tropical medicine, but also in related areas such as aerospace and travel medicine, having founded the Australian postgraduate course in travel medicine in 1993. He is Dean of Education of The Australasian College of Aerospace Medicine; National Director of Training for St John Ambulance Australia; Dean of the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Immediate Past President of The Australasian College of Tropical Medicine; and Honorary Secretary of the Travel Health Advisory Group, Australia. He was formerly Director-General of the World Safety Organization. He has been a member of the JCU Academic Board (Quality Portfolio) since 2018.

Prior ISTM service: Founding Member 1991; Certificate in Travel HealthTM, 2003; Fellow, 2016. Councilor, Executive Board 2003-05; Leadership Council 2010-12; Secretary Treasurer, 2013-Present; ISTM Foundation, Secretary Treasurer, 2015-Present. Journal of Travel Medicine: Editorial Board 2000-12, Section Editor 2003-09; Deputy Editor-in-Chief 2009-11. Editor-in-Chief, ISTM NewsShare, 2010-12. ISTM Committees: Member, CTH® Examinations Committee 2001-05; Member, Nominations Committee 2002, 2003, 2008; Member, various RCISTM/CISTM Organizing/Scientific Committees 2002-11; Member, Professional Education Committee 2003-12; Member, Continuing Professional Development Committee 2011-12 (formerly Taskforce 2010-11). Interest Groups: Military Travel Interest Group, Council, 2018-Present. Executive Board Committees: Member, CISTM Oversight Committee, 2013-Present; Finance Committee, 2013-Present.

Board Member: Christina Greenaway, Canada

Christina Greenaway Chris Greenaway is an infectious disease physician, clinician researcher and internationally recognized expert in migrant health. Her research program has focused on identifying and addressing the infectious disease health disparities among migrants. The overall objective of her research program is to promote the health of the migrant population and decrease their health disparities. To achieve this she has conducted observational studies, retrospective cohort studies with large linked administrative datasets, systematic reviews, economic analyses and has developed screening and clinical guidelines for migrants in Canada and Europe using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) methodology.

Chris has a long standing interest in TB and been involved in clinical care of patients with TB for almost 20 years. She established the TB clinic at the Jewish General Hospital in 2001. She has conducted research related to the diagnosis and treatment of TB and the TB burden and screening strategies for the migrant population. She has written screening guidelines for active and latent TB for the Canadian Collaboration for Immigrant and Refugee Health (CMAJ 2011) and for the European Centers for Disease Control (2018 ecdc.europa.eu/en/news-events/ecdc-issues-migrant-screening-and-vaccination-guidance). She is a co-PI on a multi-province CIHR funded study (2017-2020) that is using linked administrative databases to develop a risk prediction tool for the development of active TB among migrants. This data will be used to determine the most cost-effective screening and treatment strategy to achieve TB elimination in Canada.

Board Member: Martin Grobusch, The Netherlands

Martin Grobusch Professor Martin Peter Grobusch (MD, PhD, MSc, DTM&H, FRCP) obtained his medical degree from Bonn University, Germany, and completed his specializations in internal medicine, infectious diseases and tropical medicine in the UK and in Berlin, Germany. Following a period of full-time tropical diseases research at the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Tübingen, Germany, and the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, Gabon, he was appointed Full Professor (Chair) of Infectious Diseases at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa in 2005. In 2010, he took up the position as Professor (Chair) of Tropical Medicine and Travel Medicine and Head of the Center of Tropical Medicine and Travel Medicine at the Academic Medical Center of the University of Amsterdam. He is Visiting Professor at the University of Tübingen, Germany, Adjunct Member and Professor at the Institute of Infectious Diseases and Molecular Medicine at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and Director of the newly-founded Masanga Medical Research Center in Masanga, Sierra Leone.MPG’s main research interests are malaria, HIV/tuberculosis and co-infections, viral haemorrhagic fevers, travel medicine and general infectious diseases topics as they arise from clinical practice. In addition to the home base in Amsterdam, he heads clinical research groups based in Lambaréné/Gabon, Cape Town/South Africa and Masanga/Sierra Leone. Up to date, he has published over 400 papers in peer-reviewed journals (h-index: 46) and contributes to several journals in editorial functions as well as in various functions to several infectious diseases related societies (MPG is ESCMID Fellow).

Board Member: Kevin Kain, Canada

Kevin Kain Dr. Kain's research efforts are focused on new diagnostics and interventions for global infectious disease threats particularly as they pertain to women, children, migrants and travellers. The labs efforts are also focused on global equity, knowledge sharing including the transfer of appropriate technologies and the training of research scientists in LMICs, enabling and empowering them to address global health problems in a sustainable fashion. Dr. Kain is the recipient of the C. Woolf Award for the Excellence in Teaching from the University of Toronto, a Career Scientist Award from the Ministry of Health, the Bailey Ashford Medal from the American Society for Tropical Medicine, awarded for "Distinguished work in tropical medicine", and the SL Medal (from Mahidol University, Thailand) for "Outstanding Achievements and International Leadership in Malaria Research". Dr Kain was profiled by TIME magazine as one of "Canada's Best in Medicine". He has also received the: Pfizer Visiting Professorship, University of Washington; Fred Barrett Lectureship, University of Tennessee; Distinguished Global Health Service Award, University of California; The Henry Wong Lectureship In Medicine, MacMaster University; Tom Marrie Lectureship, University of Alberta; Forbes Lectureship, University of Melbourne. He has over 325 peer-reviewed publications.

Board Member: Joseph Torresi, Australia

Joseph TorresiA/Prof Torresi is an infectious diseases physician at the Austin hospital, Heidelberg Victoria, Australia and Associate Professor of Medicine, Austin Health, University of Melbourne. He is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and has a PhD in Microbiology. He is head of the Travel Medicine at the Austin hospital and the current manager of the Austin Centre for Infection Research. He is the co-director for the Melbourne GeoSentinel Surveillance network site. He has directed numerous clinical and basic research projects and clinical trials in infectious diseases and travel medicine.

Dr Torresi is head of the Hepatitis and Virology Molecular Biology Research laboratory, Austin hospital, University of Melbourne and is responsible for several projects in hepatitis B and C pathogenesis and immunology and influenza research. He is a founding committee member of the Viral Hepatitis SIG of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases.

Dr Torresi is the author of over 120 publications including original papers, reviews and book chapters and books and peer reviewed conference proceedings. He is the co-author in several books and book chapters on the topic of travel medicine.

Dr Torresi has been a member of ISTM since 1997 and has served on several scientific committees including those of CISTM8, CISTM9 and was associate chair CISTM10, Chair of the 4th Regional ISTM, (APICTM 2008), Co-chair, 7th Australasian Viral Hepatitis Conference, 2010 and current member of the v2V Dengue Vaccine initiative steering committee. He is a frequently invited speaker to national and international conferences on topics of travel medicine and hepatitis.

Executive Director: Diane L. Nickolson, United States of America

Diane L. Nickolson Joining the Secretariat in 2010, Diane brings more than 20 years of experience in professional societies to ISTM. She has worked with healthcare associations and international societies as both a manager and a consultant throughout her career. Highlights of her career includes more than fourteen years with the American Bar Association as a director in its continuing legal education department developing national continuing legal education courses and products. She served as Deputy Director to an international medical society, where she was responsible for strategic planning, financial budgeting and reporting, marketing and membership activities, development and sponsor relations, international congresses and regional meetings, operations, and its peer-reviewed journal and newsletter. Immediately prior to coming to ISTM, she served as Executive Director of a national optometric association, focusing on strategic planning, accreditation and certification programs, membership and marketing, as well as the typical functions relating to managing an association. Diane has managed staff teams ranging from three to more than 75 people.

Diane has lectured and published in the field of association management, and has been active in the association community through the years. She has lived in the Atlanta area since 2004, and takes pleasure from the temperate weather, nearby mountains and lakes. In her personal time, she appreciates spending time with Robert, their families, and of course Zeus, their beagle. She also enjoys cooking, reading, volunteering, boating, and traveling to explore new cultures, experiences and cuisines.

Non-Voting Member of the Board


Top of page

Click here to view the 2015-2016 ISTM Foundation Annual Report


Top of page

Activities and Projects

International Migration Conference. Human migration is now at an all-time high, accounting for 240 million persons and is shaping world events and fueling political and public debates. People have been migrating since the beginning of human history to escape natural catastrophes, wars and suffering. As a result, migrant populations are heterogeneous and are facing a broad range of health needs. Migrant medicine is a rapidly developing discipline to address the complexity of such needs.

The ISTM is held an international forum October of 2018 to discuss scientific evidence on migration-related issues, with a specific focus on the health aspects affecting migrant populations and host communities in Rome, Italy. The forum will brought together public officials, policy makers, clinicians and others who care for migrants and their introduction into their host communities.

Annual travel medicine research grants. Grants are awarded through a peer review process, and are designed to stimulate travel medicine research by supporting pilot studies or small research projects. These awards typically assist young or newer investigators and investigators in lower income communities to learn skills in investigative work and test hypotheses so that they may then apply to other agencies for more substantive research grants.

Our goal is to support needed research by promising young researchers who may not otherwise find funding, as federal and other institutional research support becomes more difficult to obtain. By cosponsoring awards, we hope to expand the awareness of our awards among the research community and attract the best possible candidates each year. We award research grants on global health, travel medicine and migration medicine issues.

Biennial travel grants for ISTM conference presenters. Travel grants and a waiver of registration fees are awarded to presenters of abstracts from resource-poor countries as well as to young investigators who otherwise do not have the funding to attend international conferences.

GeoSentinel. This emerging infectious disease network was created in 1995 as a joint project between the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

With the recognition of growing problems related to emerging infectious diseases, global health security has become an important agenda item for many countries. New microbes, drug resistance, the potential for accidental or purposeful release of hazardous bioagents, and the globalization of travel and trade continue to be serious challenges.

The U.S government recognized with GeoSentinel's creation that real- time evaluation and reporting of illness in returned travelers (tourists, missionaries, migrants etc.) across multiple sites in multiple continents could serve as an early warning for incipient epidemics and spread of infectious diseases from one country to another. Over the past 20 years, the GeoSentinel Surveillance network has provided robust data that for the first time defined the spectrum of illness and its relation to place of exposure for many significant health risks that face travelers and migrants. GeoSentinel has several major objectives that include serving as an emerging infections sentinel network to conduct surveillance for emerging infectious diseases; rapidly sharing novel data on emerging infections with participating sites, internet information services, and public health authorities (e.g. World Health Organization, European CDC, Public Health Agency of Canada, US CDC); and analyzing, presenting, and publishing surveillance results collaboratively with CDC, GeoSentinel sites, and our two regional partners, CanTravNet and EuroTravNet.


Top of page

Please Donate to the ISTM Foundation

Diane L. Nickolson We encourage contributions to the ISTM Foundation to help support these important efforts. You can donate through our secure online portal by clicking here or on the "Donate Now" button below. All contributions to the ISTM Foundation, as a 501(c)(3) organization are fully tax deductible under the United States law. Please check with your tax professional for details in your home country.

Border For more information please contact Diane Nickolson of the ISTM Secretariat. The Foundation greatly appreciates your support and thanks you for your commitment to developing tomorrow's leading healthcare professionals addressing travel medicine and global health.