International Society of Travel Medicine
Office hours: Monday - Friday, 9.00 - 17.00 EDT (UTC-04)

December 2020

President's Message

Lin Chen
Lin Chen,
ISTM President

The gorgeous autumn of gold, orange, and red have faded into barren branches and the air has turned crisp here in the Northeast part of the United States. The world is trying to figure out how to celebrate the winter holidays safely in the time of COVID-19. For those in the US, families and friends have reconfigured annual Thanksgiving traditions. Many are foregoing their big gatherings. Some have meticulously scheduled serial SARS-CoV-2 testing in preparation to see only a few family members. Others are adapting the recommended precautions into some semblance of holidays past.

On this aberrant Thanksgiving, I want to express appreciation to the many ISTM members and staff who have been absorbed in adjusting our educational activities to the online-virtual format, continuing on our website redesign, and persevering in the process of our conversion to 501c3 (see description by Rebecca Acosta, ISTM Counsellor). Our reflections have noted ways that travel medicine providers have contributed to the COVID-19 response and their ideas towards reactivating travel medicine practices. Positive outlook is around the corner, with promising vaccine trials, increasing availability of testing, and updated travel guidance from the World Health Organization, International Civil Aviation Organization, and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As COVID-19 vaccines become available, travel clinics may contribute by serving as COVID-19 vaccination sites. While the initial vaccines will be allocated and distributed to the top priority groups, vaccination capacity will soon need to expand rapidly to cover billions of people. When vaccines become more available, utilizing travel clinics as COVID-19 vaccination sites would improve vaccination capacity. Travel clinic staff have vast experience in vaccination and the strong foundation on vaccines leads to highly effective communication and education. Different vaccines will be rolled out in stages around the world, each country or state with its own complex allocation and distribution plans. Many ISTM leaders are working on guidance documents as well as advocating for yellow fever vaccination centers to assume a role in COVID-19 vaccination and certification, including promoting our position to health authorities (e.g. WHO, US CDC, and public health departments). I would encourage ISTM members to work with their institutions and networks to set up and support COVID-19 vaccination sites. (See position paper drafted by COVID-19 Task Force.)

I am sad to report that Betsy Wade, a great friend of ISTM and true pioneer, passed away.,She%20was%2091

Please see tribute story by Richard Dawood below.

The year 2020 has been extraordinary – a year of missing travel. COVID-19 has brought recognition of the importance of travel, the need to travel, and the joy in travel. The pandemic has also raised awareness about preparing for healthy and safe travel. I'm optimistic that successful COVID-19 vaccines will help to initiate the recovery of travel in 2021!

Lin Chen,
ISTM President

Top of page

Editor's Note

Sandra Grieve
Sandra Grieve,
ISTM Travel Medicine
News Editor

Welcome to this edition of Travel Medicine News, the Year in Review 2020, where you will find information from around the Society.

Little did I know what lay ahead when I wrote of traveler's tales in the 2019 end of year edition. As international travel has been severely curtailed throughout 2020, travelers who have managed to get away will likely have very different tales to tell. This pandemic has wreaked havoc on travel and the provision of travel health services throughout the world, with clinics closed, staff redeployed, and services curtailed due to lack of demand. Economically, further loss was incurred when expired vaccines had to be discarded. Healthcare professionals are known for their flexibility and have diversified to provide other services like test and trace programs. Cases and deaths continue to rise in some countries, but the development of COVID-19 vaccines offers hope. Meantime, while awaiting the decision of regulatory agencies in approving the vaccines for use, planning is underway on storage, distribution and administration. This is a mammoth logistical exercise. Recruiting healthcare professionals, including travel health providers, already experienced and skilled vaccinators, will add to those being recruited to the healthcare workforce. Subject to vaccine approval, the UK "Immunisation Against Infectious Disease" (also known as the Green Book), has published a chapter on COVID-19 (SARS-Cov-2), which includes priority risk groups and provisional guidance for those involved in the vaccination program. There is still much challenging work to be done.

Travel medicine education continues, albeit in a different format. ISTM offers webinars and COVID-19 online resources, including the self-guided free "PANDEMIC COVID-19 Course". Normally I would be saying that I am looking forward to meeting up with colleagues and friends at CISTM17, scheduled to take place in Kuala Lumpur in 2021. Sadly, that is not possible, but the organizers assure us that a Malaysian travel medicine flavor will be maintained. We can look forward to the program delivered through an exciting Virtual Congress Experience. Read more about CISTM17 on the website here.

Thank you to the Secretariat under Jodi Metzgar's direction, and the Leadership Council for continuing to keep the Society running and information flowing throughout this challenging time. I'm especially grateful to Whitney Alexander and Nancy Pietroski for their support.

I wish everyone peace over the Festive season and hope for a better year ahead.

Sandra Grieve,
ISTM Travel Medicine News Editor

Top of page


Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

The year 2020 will go down in history as the year of the COVID-19 SARS CoV-2 global pandemic. Friday December 8th, 2020 will become even more notable as the day the first COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out in the UK, a world first. The first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was administered to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan at 06.30 am in Coventry Hospital Warwickshire. In a twist of fate, the second recipient was 81 year old William Shakespeare also of Warwickshire. The puns started quickly but no doubt the Bard would have approved. With more candidate vaccines on the horizon we can be more hopeful for a better year ahead.

Dr. George Kassianos, CBE
We would like to add our congratulations to Dr .George Kassianos who was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2020, for services to Travel Medicine and General Practice. George has been a champion of travel medicine for many years and already has many well-deserved accolades to his name.

Many congratulations to George and his family.

Read the ISTM Announcement here.


Top of page

Secretary-Treasurer's Report

Mike Jones
Mike Jones,
ISTM Secretary-Treasurer


And what a deep tunnel this has become as we near the tragic landmarks of 80 million COVID-19 cases worldwide and 2 million deaths. Most of the countries that had been doing so well in Europe and many states in the United States have been laid low by a second wave and desperately need a vaccine.

As I write this, the manufacturers of three vaccines, two using mRNA technology and one using adenovirus viral vector technology, have shown potential for preventing serious COVID-19 and have begun to be approved by some countries. Many national governments appear to be ignoring the enormous potential that travel clinics have to help accelerate vaccine roll out. Attempts that colleagues and I have made in the UK to draw attention to this have been frustrated by indifference in the media and a slow recognition in Departments of Health. A second worry is that malignant disinformation will deter people from taking the vaccines when they become available. This morning I have spent a couple of hours trying to correct the impression that a contact of mine has gained that COVID-19 is less lethal than influenza and that serious adverse reactions will ensue from the use of the mRNA vaccines. Disinformation has the potential to lengthen the time that COVID-19 circulates and may cause unnecessary deaths in older age groups.

ISTM finances remain a considerable concern, but there are positive signs. Our reserves have increased in value with stock market recovery and we continue to be grateful to Todd Weiland and his colleagues at the Royal Bank of Canada for their careful stewardship. We are also grateful to the US Government for its payroll support early in the COVID-19 crisis and for the news that this debt has been forgiven, which means it does not have to be repaid. The decision to withdraw from Kuala Lumpur for the next conference was taken with huge regret, but the financial "hit" was low due to the generous attitude adopted by General Manager Alan Pryor and his colleagues at Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, the Professional Conference Organizer and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The three separate negotiations took up much time for the Society Officers and Secretariat staff.

The prospects for CISTM17 now look very positive on its virtual platform. The Scientific Program Committee continues to plan a magnificent conference, which we hope all ISTM members will attend and promote.

Lastly we are delighted to report that Jodi Metzgar has agreed to continue for another 6 months from 1st January 2021 as Acting Executive Director of ISTM. She and her Secretariat colleagues have coped magnificently with the turbulence of the last year and we are profoundly grateful to them.

Warm best wishes and for a festive season that will be much constrained for many of us by COVID-19 restrictions.

Mike Jones,
ISTM Secretary-Treasurer

Top of page

News from the Secretariat

Elena Axelrod
Elena Axelrod,
Finance Manager

Kayce Maisel
Kayce Maisel,
Project Lead

Whitney Alexander
Whitney Alexander,
Marketing Coordinator

Michelle Clark
Michelle Clark,
Meetings and Travel Coordinator

Michelle Haynes
Michelle Haynes,
Chair, Tracking and Communications
Working Group

Hannah Emetulu
Hannah Emetulu,
GeoSentinel® Data Manager

Aisha Rizwan
Aisha Rizwan,
GeoSentinel® Program Manager

Jodi Metzgar
Jodi Metzgar,
Acting Executive Director

The Secretariat has been diligently planning and making preparations for the Society's first virtual Travel Medicine Review and Update Course and virtual 17th Conference of the International Society of Travel Medicine. The team has enthusiastically adapted, supported and implemented swift change as we all navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce and reacquaint you with our team.

Elena Axelrod, Finance Manager

Since 2002, Elena has served in a variety of roles at ISTM. Currently, she works as the Data & Finance Manager, managing accounts payables and receivables for the Society and Foundation, maintaining contracts and legal documents, reconciles all transactions, and supports the annual audits.

Kayce Maisel, Project Lead

Kayce staffs the Digital Communication Committee and Professional Education Committee and has been instrumental in implementing our new Learning Management System, Learning @ ISTM. As Project Lead, she assists with the planning and execution of projects including webinars, the Review and Update Course, and the Scientific Program for CISTM17.

Whitney Alexander, Marketing Coordinator

Whitney coordinates the updating and maintenance of the ISTM website, society communications (newsletter, emails, social media, and Journal of Travel Medicine promotions). She also provides marketing support inclusive of strategy, branded materials, and CISTM Sponsorship.

Michelle Clark, Meetings and Travel Coordinator

As the Meetings Coordinator for ISTM, Michelle is responsible for activities related to the planning and execution of international congresses, educational meetings, conferences, expositions, Board meetings, committee meetings, GeoSentinel® meetings, and CTH® examinations. She has also been providing support in other areas such as the new Learning @ ISTM, as the Society has temporarily halted in-person meetings.

Michelle Haynes, Membership and Customer Service Coordinator

Michelle provides support and assists members and the greater travel medicine community. She processes membership applications, registrations, fulfills orders, and is the first in line for email and phone queries.

Hannah Emetulu, GeoSentinel® Data Manager

Hannah assists with data management and quality control for GeoSentinel®, performing quarterly data analysis, training new data personnel at GeoSentinel® sites, and answering accessibility issues.

Aisha Rizwan, GeoSentinel® Program Manager

Aisha has been the Program Manager for GeoSentinel® since August 2019 and brings an impressive background in preventative health, project management and clinical research. She coordinates GeoSentinel® leadership and keeps all of the GeoSentinel® projects and activities running smoothly and on track.

The Secretariat has a new phone system which makes it easier than ever to contact staff directly by phone. Our office number has remained the same (+1.404.373.8282). Please use this extension guide below:

Michelle Haynes, Membership and General Society information, Press "1" or dial extension 1006
Whitney Alexander, Marketing, Press "2" or dial extension 1001
Kayce Maisel, Programs, Press "3" or dial extension 1002
Michelle Clark, Meetings, Press "4" or dial extension 1003
Elena Axelrod, Accounting, Press "5" or dial extension 1000
Aisha Rizwan, GeoSentinel®, Press "6" or dial extension 1005
Hannah Emetulu, GeoSentinel®, Press "7" or dial extension 1004
Jodi Metzgar, Acting Executive Director, Press "8" or dial extension 1007


Jodi Metzgar
ISTM Acting Executive Director


Top of page

GeoSentinel Logo

David Hamer
David Hamer,
Co-Principal Investigator

Michael Libman
Michael Libman,
Co-Principal Investigator

Kristina Angelo
Kristina Angelo,
CDC Medical Epidemiologist

Grace Appiah
Grace Appiah,
CDC Medical Epidemiologist

Vanessa Field
Vanessa Field,
Chair, Tracking and Communications
Working Group

Phillippe Gautret
Phillippe Gautret,
Chair, Special Populations
Working Group

Kevin Kain
Kevin Kain,
Chair, Enhanced Clinical Surveillance
Working Group (ECLIPSE)

Karin Leder
Karin Leder,
Chair, Data Working Group

Phyllis Kozarsky
Phyllis Kozarsky,
Special Advisor on
behalf of the CDC

GeoSentinel® Leadership Team:

  • David Hamer, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Michael Libman, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Kristina Angelo, CDC Medical Epidemiologist
  • Grace Appiah, CDC Medical Epidemiologist
  • Vanessa Field, Chair, Tracking and Communications Working Group
  • Phillipe Gautret, Chair, Special Populations Working Group
  • Kevin Kain, Chair, Enhanced Clinical Surveillance Working Group (ECLIPSE)
  • Karin Leder, Chair, Data Working Group
  • Phyllis Kozarsky, Special Advisor on behalf of the CDC

GeoSentinel® Support Team

  • Aisha Rizwan, Program Manager
  • Hannah Emetulu, Data Manager

GeoSentinel® Committee Chairs:

  • Andrea Boggild, Chair, Publications Committee
  • Pat Schlagenhauf, Chair, External Collaborations Committee (ECCo)

GeoSentinel® CDC Cooperative Agreement renewal

The GeoSentinel® team is working intensively on a response to the CDC's Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to support research activities that will assist with the prevention, detection, and management of international travelers who become ill during or after travel. Along with applying for the NOFO as a surveillance and research network, the leadership structure of GeoSentinel® is currently under review and will be undergoing restructuring primarily to be better adapted to the mandate and mission of the new NOFO, but also for better administrative efficiency. The current GeoS leadership structure consists of 2 co-principal investigators (PIs), and 4 working group chairs, in addition to CDC collaborators, a Program Manager, and a senior advisor. The 4 standing working groups are Tracking and Communications, Special Populations, Enhanced Clinical Surveillance (ECLIPSE), and Data Collection. If funded for this new Cooperative Agreement, this five-year extension of GeoSentinel® would result in a transition from a network focused purely on surveillance to a global network that conducts research on travelers and migrants, while continuing its current core surveillance mission. A proposal for the new GeoSentinel® governance structure has been sent to a Selection Committee, being chaired by Peter Leggat, President-elect of ISTM. Job descriptions for new and challenging positions in the leadership of GeoSentinel® will be circulated shortly, and we encourage suggestions for qualified nominations.

Website, communications and webinars

Until in-person meetings are able to safely resume, GeoSentinel® has implemented quarterly webinars with a goal of bringing our sites together during these unprecedented times. We have worked diligently to maintain communications with our Network members, and providing a forum for debate and feedback. The webinars have been well attended and may well remain even after our annual meetings are reinstated.

A new and improved independent GeoSentinel® website is under construction and due to launch in December 2020. Once the new version of the website is online, our new content will be available for visitors and members of the Network, and an enhanced communication infrastructure. We would like also like to welcome our new Website and Communications lead, Torin Lee, who is coordinating the final construction and content of the site.

Project Updates

SMAC study examines host disease severity markers measured at clinical presentation, as novel triage tools to aid in the early identification and management of severe COVID-19. The study is enrolling at multiple sites and coordinated at the Toronto site.

HEROS (HEalth Care pROphylaxis Study) study is a multi-site randomized adaptive trial design examining interventions to prevent COVID-19 in front line health care workers. The protocol is being amended to create an adaptive study design

CITrSS (COVID-19 International Traveler Sentinel Surveillance) project is progressing, with the goal of broad-based sentinel surveillance to generate signals to inform our understanding of locations where COVID-19 is circulating, especially in countries with poor testing or limited surveillance capacity, and a separate enhanced surveillance project looking at all imported respiratory tract infections.

A pre- and post-travel COVID-19 seroconversion study is under development.

Several other studies are active, but enrollment is restricted at present given the very low volume of international travel. These include:

i. SEVTRAV, looking at advanced diagnostic testing for severe imported illness of unclear etiology

ii. SMART, which examines severity markers in malarial infection

iii. NEURAL, which evaluated neurocognitive sequelae of malaria

iv. CHIDEZIMA, which has been running for several years, and collects detailed data on long term outcomes following infection with Chikunguya, Dengue, Zika, and Malaria

As usual, there are several ongoing retrospective analyses, including healthcare abroad, both planned and unplanned, and intestinal protozoal infection. We also have a large number of protocols in development at different stages, some of which will form the first new projects of our anticipated new Research Network Cooperative Agreement, which if granted to GeoSentinel® would start in September 2021.

Recent publications

Grobusch MP, Weld L, Goorhuis A, Hamer DH, Schunk M, Jordan S, Mockenhaupt FP, Chappuis F, Asgeirsson H, Caumes E, Jensenius M, van Genderen PJJ, Castelli F, López-Velez R, Field V, Bottieau E, Molina I, Rapp C, Díaz Ménendez M, Gkrania-Klotsas E, Larsen CS, Malvy D, Lalloo D, Gobbi F, Florescu SA, Gautret P, Schlagenhauf P, for EuroTravNet. Travel-related infections presenting in Europe: a 20-year analysis of EuroTravNet surveillance data. Lancet Regional Health Europe, in press.

Gautret P, Leder K, Field V, Kain KC, Hamer DH, Libman M. GeoSentinel® surveillance of travel-associated infections: What lies in the future? Travel Med Infect Dis. 2020 Jul-Aug;36:101600. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2020.101600. Epub 2020 Mar 7. PMID: 32156631.

Lingscheid T, Kurth F, Stegemann MS, Clerinx J, Calleri G, Rothe C, Angheben A, Gobbi F, Bisoffi Z, Hamer DH, Libman M, Hatz C, Zoller T. Outpatient treatment of imported uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria: results from a survey among TropNet and GeoSentinel® experts for tropical medicine. J Travel Med. 2020 Jul 14;27(4):taaa082. doi: 10.1093/jtm/taaa082. PMID: 32442249.

Davidson H Hamer, Aisha Rizwan, David O Freedman, Phyllis Kozarsky, Michael Libman, GeoSentinel®: past, present and future†, Journal of Travel Medicine, taaa219, (Published online 27 Nov. 2020)

David Hamer,
GeoSenintel® Co-Principal Investigator

Michael Libman,
GeoSentintel® Co-Principal Investigator

Top of page

COVID-19 Task Force

Rebecca Acosta
Rebecca Acosta,
United States of America

Gerard Flaherty
Gerard Flaherty,

Gerard Flaherty
Jenny Visser,
New Zealand

The Initial Impact of COVID-19 on Travel Health/Medicine – Summary of a Pilot Survey

Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey, launched in August 2020 by the COVID-19 Task Force, with the goal of assessing the immediate impact of the pandemic on membership. Your responses were used by the Task Force to make a series of recommendations to the ISTM Executive Board regarding upcoming activities and member engagement. The pilot survey received 480 responses, reflecting the demographic make-up of the Society both by geographic region and profession. Approximately 61% of respondents continue to practice despite a significant drop in travel and 91% report they intend to renew their ISTM membership. One concern was a noted drop in everyone practicing in the field at this time; a follow-up survey (planned for early 2021) will aim to elucidate this further. The COVID-19 Task Force and Executive Board were pleased to find that many of the Society's current efforts are echoed by members' needs.

Along with open access to the Journal of Travel Medicine and in-person events, most respondents felt "being a part of the travel medicine community" is the most highly valued aspect of ISTM membership. Although evidence of so-called "Zoom exhaustion" was expressed in text responses, the responses indicate an understanding of the need and eagerness for virtual delivery of the Society's most popular events, all of which are already in progress. The immersive platform of CISTM17 may help to bring some of the highly valued social aspects of an in-person meeting and "seeing" one another again (in the guise of our own avatars!) – we hope you will plan to attend. Early registration for CISTM17 is now open.

In early 2021, the Task Force will work with the Committees and Professional Groups to update the survey with the intent to examine the longer-term effects of COVID-19, not only on membership but on travel health as a whole. This will help the Society as we continue to plan strategically, steering through the pandemic era and beyond. We hope you will keep an eye out for the 2021 survey as your feedback is invaluable to us in planning for the Society's future.

Rebecca Acosta, Gerard Flaherty, and Jenny Visser
COVID-19 Task Force

International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM)/COVID-19 Task Force Position Statement on ISTM Member Participation in COVID-19 Vaccination Programs

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has inspired scientists to accelerate vaccine development, and galvanized biopharma and governments to support expeditious vaccine manufacturing and review and approval. With over 1,500,000 COVID-19 deaths globally, vaccines and vaccination programs will be immensely powerful in changing our trajectory from the devastation. We urge ISTM members to reach out to and support your networks of decision-makers and planners on vaccination programs.

The International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) is proud of the active role its members around the world are providing in public health, patient care, research and education during the COVID-19 pandemic. As we approach the critical phase of global vaccination against SARS-CoV-2, ISTM members can offer valuable support to regional and national vaccination campaigns for both the general population and travellers.

ISTM members are a global multidisciplinary community of practitioners from a wide variety of settings such as private, university, government and non-governmental organizations, including those in resource limited countries. The Society issues the respected Certificate in Travel Health™ credential, which is a rigorous assessment of competency in all domains of travel medicine practice, including vaccination. CTH® holders have demonstrated knowledge in all aspects of the vaccination process, including cold chain; storage and handling of national and WHO-approved vaccines; scheduling; the safe administration of primary and booster doses to all age groups; documentation; management of vaccine reactions and reporting of vaccine-associated adverse events. Additionally, members working in licensed Yellow Fever Vaccination Centers document in the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) following strict adherence to the International Health Regulations. The ISTM maintains a publicly accessible Global Travel Clinic Directory representing member clinics in over 90 countries (

Our members have valuable experience in addressing vaccine hesitancy and informed decision making. Where demonstration of immunity to vaccines is required, ISTM members are very familiar with serologic testing and documentation. With the deep experience and knowledge available within the ISTM community, the participation of ISTM members in national and regional vaccination campaigns will add an essential resource and contribute to the success of current and future global COVID-19 vaccination efforts. For inquiries related to this statement and the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) please contact: Jodi Metzgar, Acting Executive Director via

Top of page

501c3 Status

Rebecca W. Acosta
Rebecca W. Acosta,
ISTM Counselor
on behalf of the
ISTM Executive Board

New Opportunities for ISTM

In the prior issue of Travel Medicine News, it was announced that the Society was seeking IRS approval for converting from 501c6 to 501c3 status under the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax code. The 501c3 status better reflects the activities of the ISTM and will allow the Society to grow and develop in exciting ways. Under the former 501c6 status the Society activities and funds were meant to be directed to the benefit of members and the society as a health care professional organization. This is a narrow focus and no longer fits as well with the Society we have become over the past 30 years and the goals we have for the future. 501c3 status allows the society to raise funds which can be used for scientific, educational activities and to benefit the public at large. In addition, these funds can be raised on a tax-deductible basis (an important feature in the United States). Under the new 501c3 structure the Society will:

  • continue with all current activities and initiatives
  • streamline and integrate the management and functions of the ISTM Foundation which needed to be kept separate under the prior structure (as fund raising could not happen directly by the ISTM)
  • more likely receive support for projects from governments and private foundations

In addition, the Society has an opportunity to broaden our membership categories and include and involve the public now that we are no longer considered only a professional organization. There are many ways that our current and future membership base can benefit from increased diversity of membership and collaboration. For example, we can create membership levels for journalists, and for the travel, cruise and the pharmaceutical industries. Importantly, the core of our membership will continue to be clinicians, pharmacists, academics and public health professionals from the wide variety of disciplines that form the foundation of the Society. Only these professional members will be able to vote and serve in leadership positions, continuing to guide the Society. In addition, the Society's primary activities will continue to be focused on core professionals and their needs. However, as the fields of travel health and medicine evolve there are many ways the Society can enhance its relevance by reaching out to a broader audience and engaging more actively with others. The Coronavirus pandemic has shown us the need for intensified collaboration with industries and individuals who are part of the broader world of travel. We look forward to developing new membership categories in 2021 and expanding our membership and initiatives. In addition, the Development Committee will be reconstituted and strengthened with the ability to directly fundraise for an expanded level of research and educational purposes.

The pandemic has underscored the need for the society to be flexible and responsive to remain relevant and important on a global level. The formalization of the shift to 501c3 status comes at an opportune time. We look forward to working together to embrace the ongoing and new opportunities that the 501c3 status will inspire.

Rebecca W. Acosta,
ISTM Counselor on behalf of the ISTM Executive Board

Top of page

Professional Groups


Heather Connor
Heather Connor,
Nursing Professional
Group Chair

As 2020 comes to a close many countries and regions of the world are experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 necessitating more imposed lockdowns, curfews, quarantines and legislative restrictions for citizens and travelers. This has certainly been a challenging year for travel medicine practitioners. Adaptations and finding new delivery methods have been at the forefront of our minds individually as well as at an organizational level. We ask the question "What does the future of travel health/medicine look like?"

The recent survey distributed to ISTM members by the COVID-19 Task Force indicated that nurse respondents may be the most impacted by COVID-19. A greater percentage of pre-COVID patient care was focused on travel medicine. This was combined with a comparatively large drop in overall patient care. Many nurses have shifted professional focus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the last 10 months I have had the opportunity to connect with many members of the Nursing Professional Group. A sense of community, solid learning opportunities and conferences are very important to nurses (the survey showed these are the most valued by all ISTM members). In planning for the future, the NPG Steering Committee has considered what is most valued among its members as strategically we develop new modes of delivery.

Members of the NPG Steering committee have just completed a paper entitled, "A Clinicians Guide to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Testing". As travel begins to increase, travel health clinicians will be called upon to expand their knowledge of and practices around SARS-CoV-2, especially in the area of testing. This paper reviews basic tests used, advantages and limitations, and considerations for testing in a travel health clinic. It can be accessed from the main ISTM Website under important links and on MyISTM.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow under the guidance of Dean Jane Chiodini published a new document entitled "Good Practice Guidance for Providing a Travel Health Service". This publication defines the standards of care every practitioner should achieve in their practice of travel medicine for the health and safety of the international traveler. There is also a self-assessment guide for the practitioner to identify areas of continuing professional development.

Finally, I just want to encourage our members to participate in our virtual CISTM17. Many members and staff have been working very hard to ensure that we can still experience that sense of community and networking while having the opportunity to learn from exceptional scientific content.

As I pass the torch to Caroline Nash in 2021, I want to express what a great honor it has been to serve as Chair of the NPG. It has been a very great pleasure to work with such a wonderful group of nurses on the steering committee!

Heather Connor,
Chair, ISTM Nursing Professional Group

Top of page


Derek Evans
Derek Evans,
Pharmacy Professional
Group Chair

As for many other groups, the impact of COVID-19 has impacted and adjusted the members' involvement in traditional travel medicine practice. As we return to a new normal, the PPG members have continued to deliver their projects and have been involved in a wider context working with other groups within and outside of ISTM.

The PPG members have delivered projects on the review of travel health apps, maintained a strong working relationship with the NPG, and continued with co-working with the International Federation of Pharmacies to establish the minimum working guidelines for the practice of travel health in pharmacies.

As Chair, it has been a pleasure to note that in these uncertain times the PPG has continued with the delivery of a specialist paper looking at the pharmacology and impact on travelers of Ayahuasca, due for publication next year. In addition, the group has initiated the protocols for the first ISTM pharmacist awards to be made for travel medicine, and special thanks to chair-elect Karl Hess for his work in establishing a student chapter trial to attract undergraduates into the world of travel medicine and hopefully expand the concept to other professions.

In response to the ISTM President's support of the COVID-19 Task Force, the PPG members have been involved in the production of clinical information on proposed medication for treatment of symptoms. This work continued in a different form, to trialing the new Learning Management System (LMS platform) with Professional Education Committee PEC to start support for the new Clinical Cases presentation aimed at post-CTH® members that can allow accumulation of evidence towards re-accreditation of CTH®.

This year has been unprecedented in the global changes to travel health and travel medicine. The new norm for the future will inevitably involve travel assessments, and will not only be about vaccines and antimalarials but also the proof of a negative COVID-19 infection or immunity whether following a test or proof of vaccination. Travel medicine pharmacists can have a role in supporting the individual traveler and also in public health campaigns where mass vaccination is required.

As my term of office draws towards the end I wish to thank those members of the PPG who will be stepping down and welcome new members who will be joining us. Finally I also welcome and wish every success to the new leadership coming under the current chair-elect, Dr. Karl Hess, when he takes up office as chair at the virtual conference in 2021.

Derek Evans,
Pharmacy Professional Group Chair

Top of page

Meetings and conferences


Virtual Travel Medicine Review and Update Course
15-16 January 2021

Virtual 17th Conference of the International Society of Travel Medicine CISTM17
19-23 May 2021
(check the website for updates)

South African Society of Travel Medicine (SASTM) Pan African Travel Medicine Congress
13-16 October 2021
Kruger National Park, South Africa

Top of page

Interest Groups

Migrant and Refugee Health

Sapha Barkati
Sapha Barkati,
Migrant and Refugee Health
Interest Group Chair

The ISTM Migrant Health Interest Group is committed to educating travel medicine providers about migration medicine with educational sessions at travel medicine meetings, webinars, and professional updates. In the previous newsletter issue, we provided clear definitions of the select migration terms we will be using to better understand and address migrant health. Our group is also working on building a survey to the membership to assess knowledge and educational needs on migration medicine. The result of this survey will help us better define the area of educational needs and will inform the preparation of practice guidelines and focus training.

The current pandemic has exacerbated existing social inequalities and has highlighted the health disparities among ethnic minorities and migrant populations and we aim to raise awareness among travel medicine providers of the impact of this pressing issue. In collaboration with the Pediatrics Interest Group, we are planning a webinar that will be held in January 2021 to discuss among other pediatric topics, issues that have arisen for children and teenage migrants in the context of the pandemic.

Do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have questions regarding our group or ideas and projects you would like to discuss.

Stay safe and healthy,

Sapha Barkati,
Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group Chair

Top of page

Military Travel


Military Travel Logo

Olivier Aoun
Olivier Aoun,
Military Travel Interest
Group Chair

I hope everyone is doing well despite the current pandemic of "you know what". As you all know, our military travelers are still deploying whatever the global situation is, because the Mission always prevails and we, as healthcare personnel must always adapt in order to provide the best medical support.

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Olivier Aoun,
Military Travel Interest Group Chair

Top of page

Responsible Travel

Trish Smith
Trish Smith,
Responsible Travel
Interest Group Chair

As the year 2020 progresses towards its close, we can reflect on what a year it has been. So much has altered, and clinical practice has been adapted and adjusted during this pandemic. Policies and procedures were developed and implemented quickly, tailored to the needs of both the healthcare professionals and the clinical management of individuals presenting with COVID-19.

Air travel ground to a halt, with some countries also implementing a ban on international flights for its own population. The cruise ship industry was equally impacted. The flow-on effect impacted the travel industry and the related industries of hospitality and tourism, in a way that no one could have predicted. Businesses folded, and employees found themselves unemployed with no prospects for employment available. Schools and universities found new ways of working and achieving results. All sectors were impacted.

The ISTM Responsible Travel Group Steering Council members collectively have a wealth of experience and knowledge and ardently embrace the tenets of Responsible Travel. Enthusiastic at the best of times and known to think outside the box, individual council members have their own special interest areas related to Responsible Travel which they share willingly.

It is also a time to consider what has been achieved as we continue our journey towards 2021, despite the uncertainty, and any obstacles that have presented. Our group had been very proactive in preparing for the 13th APTHC which was due to be held in Auckland New Zealand. Since the event was postponed, we are anticipating that what we had prepared can still be used at an opportune time in the future.

Responsible Travel also includes the concept of a health footprint and the measures to take to minimize your ecological and carbon footprint and leave nothing behind when traveling on to another country. It is this concept which comes to the fore when choosing your destination and the communities you will visit. Our group has been exploring ways of reinforcing Responsible Travel and ensuring that reducing your health footprint is interwoven within the pretravel consultation.

The message is to be aware of the health risks at the travel destinations, how to protect yourself and the communities you visit, and not to travel if unwell. As tourists in another country, we need to minimize our impact on the resources, particularly the sometimes scarce healthcare resources. Respect for the economy, environment, and population, along with respect for local culture and practice is paramount. One concept under discussion is to start a campaign for travel medicine practitioners using a media/marketing kit of sorts, which highlights the importance of health in responsible travel.

If you are reading this and would be interested in becoming more involved with the concepts of Responsible Travel, please choose to join this special interest group with your membership.

Trish Smith,
Responsible Travel Interest Group Chair

Top of page

Student Travel Abroad

Julie Richards
Julie Richards,
Responsible Travel
Interest Group Chair

Well, 2020 is finally ending and what a year it has been. While we have all faced so many challenges, I'm happy to report the Student Travel Abroad Group remains enthused and optimistic. The current Steering Council team members are listed on the ISTM website here.

For the upcoming CISTM17, all of the interest groups decided to collaborate to prepare a symposium on "The Female Traveler". Our group is working on a presentation focusing on the Male to Female Transgender Traveler. Given the pandemic, if the program is reworked, we are hoping that the interest groups could still collaborate and make "The Female Traveler" the focus for an article in the Journal of Travel Medicine.

We also plan to pick up on a project we started before the pandemic focusing on the development of some useful tools for both travelers and clinicians. We started a student traveler checklist for clinicians. The checklist concept is not new but is utilized widely in many fields with positive effects (as so well illustrated by Atul Gawande in his book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Done Right). This idea is something we could share with clinicians broadly including those who don't usually render care for students.

Finally, with some effective vaccines on the horizon, students will certainly start traveling again and we plan to resume the large research project on undergraduate student travelers. We currently have many participating schools both across and outside of the US, including Stanford University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Virginia, and National University Ireland Galway. We are very much interested in assisting other colleges and universities in participating. Project Lead, Sarah Kohl, who has worked tirelessly on the project, has made it quite easy for schools to participate. Please contact us at Student Travel Abroad Interest Group:, +1 (404) 373-8282 for further information.

We are extremely grateful for all our friends and colleagues around the world who helped make an unbearable situation bearable.

Warm regards,

Julie Richards,
Responsible Travel Interest Group Chair

Top of page

Virtual ISTM Travel Medicine Review and Update Course


The Virtual Travel Medicine Review and Update Course will be offered 15-16 January 2021 and will cover topics relevant to physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals who provide medical care and advice to travelers, expatriates, and migrants.

Course Speakers

  • Chair: Elizabeth Talbot
  • Elizabeth Barnett
  • Lin Chen
  • David Hamer
  • Sarah Kohl
  • Sheila Mackell
  • Anne McCarthy
  • Nancy Piper-Jenks
  • Mary-Louise Scully
  • Henry Wu

International Panel on Malaria

  • Moderator Ed Ryan, United States of America
  • Poh Lian Lim, Singapore
  • Dipti Patel, United Kingdom
  • Patricia Schlagenhauf, Switzerland

International Panel on Vaccines

  • Moderator Leo Visser, The Netherlands
  • Jane Chiodini, United Kingdom
  • Camilla Rothe, Germany
  • Mike Starr, Australia

Program Topics Include:

  • Adventure Travel, Altitude and Diving
  • Bites and Envenomation
  • Cases
  • Child and Pregnant Travellers
  • Food and Water Exposure
  • Global Travel and Risk Assessment
  • High-Risk Travellers
  • Ill Travellers
  • Malaria
  • Review of Statistics
  • Travel Medicine and Digital Communications
  • Vaccines
  • Vectors
  • VFRs

Additional Commentators-Moderators:

  • Francesco Castelli, Italy
  • Christina Coyle, United States of America
  • David Shlim, United States of America

For more information and to register, click here.

Top of page


Examination Committee

Pierre Landry
Dr Pierre Landry,
Committee Chair

The COVID-19 situation has meant that the three exams planned for 2020 were cancelled (Auckland, Buenos Aires, and Atlanta). But we believe that sooner or later travel will resume, probably in a different spirit from before the pandemic. The need for assessing professionals doing travel medicine will remain and might even become more complex with the new situation.

Until now every Certificate in Travel Health™ (CTH®) exam took place before a conference, but the need for new exam sessions might be more urgent than the possibility to have large conferences again. Therefore, discussions and plans are being made to develop an online exam which would be somehow more resistant to perturbations such as the COVID-19 situation and not necessarily linked to a conference or congress. The exam will remain as a multiple choice question format, but the challenges for an online exam on the international level with time zone and security issues are real.

In the meantime, the committee is writing new questions for the test bank as planned and will make sure that the quality of the exam remains at its best whichever solution is chosen. These questions will have to be reviewed probably early in 2021.

We really hope and plan for at least one exam in 2021.

Pierre Landry,
Examination Committee Chair

Top of page

Betsy Wade

Professional Education Committee

Sarah Kohl
Sarah Kohl,
Professional Education
Committee Chair

The digital learning revolution has arrived at ISTM. The Professional Education Committee is delighted to announce the launch of Learning @ ISTM, our new Learning Management System (LMS), to assist our members stay current with research and education in travel medicine.

The COVID-19 pandemic provides a renewed urgency in providing rapid, online education easily accessible from anywhere in the world. Entry into the learning suite is provided via this link using your ISTM credentials. Inside you will find our webinar series, resource library, CISTM videos, and online Travel Medicine Update and Review Couse.


In the very near future, you will find our new podcast ISTM on The Go featuring hosts Albie deFrey and Anne McCarthy. Join them as they interview scientists to get the story behind the research. Advanced learners will enjoy the newly reworked Challenging Cases which is expected to launch in late 2021. Participation in the educational offerings via Learning @ ISTM will be automatically recorded and available to you as proof of your Continuing Professional Development (CPD).

The launch of such a comprehensive suite is a group effort. We owe special gratitude to Kayce Maisel for her tireless work tracking down vendors and ironing out all the details. Thanks to all who helped to make Learning @ ISTM a reality.

Sarah Kohl,
Professional Education Committee Chair

Top of page

Publications Oversight Committee

Gerard Flaherty
Gerard Flaherty,
Publications Oversight
Committee Chair

They say hindsight's 20/20 vision, but on New Year's Day 2020, who could have foreseen the monumental disruption wrought by a virus approximately one seven hundredth the diameter of a human hair? No facet of human life has been untouched by the current global pandemic of COVID-19. The world of academic publishing is also not immune to its effects. The pandemic has unleashed a deluge of publications about COVID-19 (54,691 are indexed on PubMed alone at the time of writing), most made freely available by publishers as open access articles. As an author who (foolishly) took on the task of writing a review article on an aspect of the disease over the summer, I was struck by the lack of primary research and the profusion of opinion pieces (i.e., editorials, letters to the editor, etc.) about COVID-19 published in indexed journals. By now, the primary studies are beginning to catch up. Article preprints, typically more common in the mathematical and physical sciences, have also gained traction as a response to the demand for rapid access to empirical, but non-peer-reviewed, findings during the pandemic. It is remarkable how many of these preprint publications were picked up by the media scrambling to interview their lead authors! This has been another characteristic of this pandemic, but one which we should view with some caution.

The ISTM's flagship publication, Journal of Travel Medicine, has played its part in publishing high quality COVID-19 articles with very impressive publication times. While this will undoubtedly dilute our current lofty impact factor in 2021, the same will hold true for most reputable biomedical journals. Authors and publishers are starting to look beyond journal impact factor, which was originally developed as a tool to assist librarians in selecting which journals to put on the shelf, rather than as an index of the quality of scientific journals. The Altmetric score is just one of a range of surrogate indicators of the impact of a publication. In 2021, you will also hear more about the immediacy index of JTM. So when you publish in JTM or other journals, pay attention to these measures, as well as the number of citations your paper has attracted. I continue to be heartened by the diversity of authorship, geographical origin and range of disciplines reflected in the papers published in JTM. I hope that we will see even higher levels of cross-disciplinary collaboration in travel medicine research in the years ahead. Personally, I would like to see more manuscripts submitted to our journal under the Correspondence category. It is very healthy to see published papers being debated and discussed between researchers, in the politest manner of course! I look forward to repeating the bibliometric analysis of JTM in 2022, five years after the first was published under Eric Caumes' term as Editor-in-Chief of the journal. It is important to track publication trends in academia. As we look ahead to 2021 and beyond, it is likely that artificial intelligence will play an even greater role in publishing. We cannot even imagine some of its potential applications at this point, but it is sure to be transformative. The open access publishing model will continue to displace current approaches, to the anticipated benefit of learning and scholarship.

This has been a busy year for the newly-named Publications Oversight Committee. I am deeply grateful to each member of the committee. Much of the work we are asked to do is unglamorous and sometimes tedious, but our committee is always responsive and enthusiastic and I appreciate their insightful contributions to our discussions. Special thanks to Sandra Grieve who edits the Travel Medicine News with such understated precision and tactfulness, and to Nancy Pietroski for her attentive moderation of the ISTM TravelMed ListServ. We report to the ISTM Executive Board and I should like to thank our President, Lin Chen, her entire Board, and the efficient ISTM Secretariat for all of their support and camaraderie. Whitney Alexander continues to do a wonderful job in preparing up to four issues of this informative newsletter each year.

Thank you to JTM Editor-in-Chief, Annelies Wilder-Smith, her team of Editors and the editorial board for all of their hard work in soliciting and reviewing a record number of manuscripts throughout the past year. In this role, I enjoy regular interactions with staff at Oxford University Press and I thank them for their consistently efficient service and commitment to the highest publishing standards. In the Irish (Gaelic) language, there is a pithy proverb for most situations and sometimes they express a lot in few words. My proverb for the ISTM membership, as we bid farewell to a painfully challenging, yet potentially redemptive year for humanity, remains "Ní neart go cur le chéile", or "Unity is strength".

Gerard Flaherty
Publications Oversight Committee Chair

Top of page

Special Recognitions Committee

Charlie Ericsson
Charlie Ericsson,
Special Recognitions
Committee Chair

The Special Recognitions Committee met by tele­conference on November 9 to review the applications for ISTM Fellow status within the society. We were impressed by how productive and engaged so many of our society members are. Once the Executive Board approves our recommendations for ISTM Fellow and Distinguished Fellow, we will announce the results which will become effective as of the next CISTM. For those seeking the honorific status of Fellow, we urge your involvement in ISTM affairs. Please join a committee or interest group. Seek leadership roles. Document your efforts in education and mentoring. Pursue academic excellence. I remind all that ISTM Fellow status is not reserved for academicians, but our expectation is that a candidate be involved in ISTM affairs. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions or need advice about how to advance in our wonderful society.

Charlie Ericsson,
Special Recognitions Committee Chair

Top of page

In Remembrance Betsy Wade 1929-2020

Betsy Wade

Tributes have poured in following the death of Betsy Wade, New York Times Editor and Columnist. She was better known to our American colleagues and I didn't know her personally but after listening to her story on the Washington Press Club Foundation Women in Journalism Oral History Project. I would describe her as ahead of her time and inspirational. Her pioneering spirit enabled too many changes to list here but stories which stand out for me: being fired for being pregnant, getting rid of spittoons, and introducing the title "Ms." rather than the married "Mrs." or unmarried "Miss." An amazing ambassador for women indeed. Listen here.

ISTM Fellow Dr Richard Dawood knew Betsy and writes a touching tribute here:

Betsy Wade, travel writer and pioneering former news editor at the New York Times, died in New York on 3rd December 2020. She was a good friend of the ISTM for many years, reporting for the New York Times from the seminal first Conference on International Travel Medicine in Zurich in 1988 - which was the catalyst for the establishment of the ISTM and the precursor for its international meetings ever since. Her "Practical Traveler" column helped raise the profile of Travel Medicine and travel health issues to national news level in the USA. More than that, as a respected, objective presence, she also used her union experience and encyclopedic knowledge of "Robert's Rules" to bring structure and good governance to ISTM business meetings. Like me, many ISTM members from outside the US were oblivious to her prior rockstar status in the world of American journalism and women's rights, her role editing news from the Vietnam War, editing the Pentagon Papers, and leading a landmark equal-opportunity class action lawsuit against the New York Times itself. Unsurprisingly, she took pleasure and pride in the achievements of women in Travel Medicine and their election as officers of the ISTM. In 2018, she told me she had "cancer of everything": "I have had a good life, accomplished some things I wanted to do, and am enjoying autumn -- both seasonal and life-wise. What good times we had!" We send heartfelt condolences to her husband Jim and all their family.

Betsy Wade, First Woman to Edit News at The Times, Dies at 91

Richard Dawood

Top of page

Journal of Travel Medicine

Annelies Wilder-Smith
Annelies Wilder-Smith,
Journal of Travel Medicine

The Journal of Travel Medicine has had a tremendous year.

We had a record year for manuscript submissions, including a considerable amount on COVID-19. Thanks to much hard work by our Editorial Board and the quality of our manuscripts, our Impact Factor rose to 7.089.

In addition to the COVID-19 manuscripts, JTM has published collections on:

  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Pregnant Travelers
This year, we published some dedicated Issues to COVID-19, and also an Issue on altitude and wilderness medicine. Issue 7 published a series of manuscripts on rabies, Hepatitis E and yellow fever. Furthermore, JTM published a number of high-profile GeoSentinel® manuscripts, including a review on "GeoSentinel®: past, present and future".

We just released a collection on Antimicrobial Resistance and Travel which will be free to access and disseminate until 16th February, 2021.

Serving ISTM through JTM,

Annelies Wilder-Smith,
Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Travel Medicine

Journal of Travel Medicine Editorial Board

The ISTM would like to thank the tireless work of the JTM Editorial Board for their continued support and commitment to the JTM.

Editor-in-Chief: Annelies Wilder-Smith, United Kingdom


Deputy Editor: Eli Schwartz, Israel

Regional Advisors

Lucille Blumberg, South Africa

Southeast Asia
Pornthep Chanthavanich, Thailand

East Asia
Guo Hui, China

Australia-New Zealand
Karin Leder, Australia

Middle East
Ziad Memish, Saudi Arabia

South Asia
Priscilla Rupali, India

Gerard Sonder, The Netherlands

Latin America
Jaime Torres, Venezuela

North America
Mary Wilson, United States of America

Associate Editors

  • Kristina Angelo, United States of America
  • Andrea Boggild, Canada
  • Federico Gobbi, Italy
  • Anita Heywood, Australia
  • Eyal Leshem, Israel
  • Mark Riddle, United States of America

Associate Editors (Social Media)

  • Andrea Boggild, Associate Editor, Canada
  • Deborah Mills, Social Media Task Force, Australia
  • Sarah McGuiness, Social Media Task Force, Australia
  • Sarah Kohl, Social Media Task Force, United States of America
  • Sheila Mackell, Social Media Task Force, United States of America

Section Editor

Basic Science in Travel Medicine

  • Kevin Kain, Canada

Emerging Infectious Diseases

  • David Freedman, United States of America

Extreme Travel

  • Jenny Visser, New Zealand

Global Health and Travel

  • Michele Barry, United States of America

Laboratory Medicine

  • Martin Haditsch, Austria


  • Blaise Genton, Switzerland

Mass Gatherings

  • Harunor Rashid, Australia


  • Christina Greenaway, Canada

Non-Communicable Diseases

  • Gerard Flaherty, Ireland

Older Travelers

  • Joe Torresi, Australia

Paediatric Travelers

  • Stefan Hagmann, United States of America


  • Larry Goodyer, United Kingdom

Sentinel Surveillance in Travelers

  • David Hamer, United States of America

Skin Diseases and STI

  • Eric Caumes, France

Special Populations

  • Elizabeth Barnett, United States of America

Travel Medicine Education

  • Mary-Louise Scully, United States of America

Travelers Diarrhea

  • Charles Ericsson, United States of America

Tropical Medicine

  • Michael Libman, Canada


  • Robert Steffen, Switzerland

Editors for "Clinical Pearls"

  • Sapha Barkati, Canada
  • Christina Coyle, United States of America
  • Jose Munoz, Spain
  • Joachim Richter, Germany
  • Cornelia Staehelin, Switzerland
  • Perry van Genderen, The Netherlands

Editorial Board Members

  • Masatoki Adachi, Japan
  • Seif Al-Abri, Oman
  • Paul M. Arguin, United States of America
  • Buddha Basnyat, Nepal
  • Ronald H. Behrens, United Kingdom
  • Emmanuel Bottieau, Belgium Issac Bogoch, CanadaMads Buhl, Denmark
  • Miguel Cabada, Peru
  • Francesco Castelli, Italy
  • Santanu Chatterjee, India
  • Lin H. Chen, United States of America
  • Bradley A. Connor, United States of America
  • James Diaz, United States of America
  • Tyler Evans, United States of America
  • Vanessa Field, United Kingdom
  • Stefan Hagmann, United States of America
  • Travis Heggie, United States of America
  • Ralph Huits, Belgium
  • Tomas Jelinek, Germany
  • Herwig Kollaritsch, Austria
  • Susan Kuhn, Canada
  • Thomas Küpper, Germany
  • Tamar Lachish, Israel
  • Colleen Lau, Australia
  • Nicky Longley, United Kingdom
  • Eyal Meltzer, Israel
  • Marc Mendelson, South Africa
  • Ami Neuberger, Israel
  • Andreas Neumayr, Switzerland
  • Salim Parker, South Africa
  • Androula Pavli, Greece
  • Watcharapong Piyaphanee, Thailand
  • Chris Sanford, United States of America
  • Marc Shaw, New Zealand
  • Tadishi Shinozuka, Japan
  • Fabrice Simon, France
  • Patrick Soentjens, Belgium
  • Mike Starr, Australia
  • Haibo Wang, China
  • Adrienne Willcox, United Kingdom
  • Saber Yezli, Saudi Arabia
  • Lorenzo Zammarchi, Italy
  • Rudolph A. Zimmer, Canada
  • Thomas Zoller, Germany

Top of page


Nancy Pietroski
Nancy Pietroski,
Travel Medicine News
Associate Editor

With the severe curtailment of travel during the coronavirus pandemic, it's no great surprise that the TravelMed listserv has not been as active in the past 6 months with its usual interesting and informative discussions. However, as things were slowly opening again in the late summer and early fall in some places (before they were slammed shut again), and people are traveling for the holidays (if they are able to, although definitely not encouraged), a vigorous discussion on pretravel COVID-19 testing before airline travel has appeared on the listserv. In a nutshell, there are no cohesive guidelines. Almost 200 countries seem to have their own particular requirements which seem to change minute-by-minute, leaving travel medicine practitioners scratching their heads or sighing in exasperation when trying to counsel travelers. IgM or PCR/NAAT? 48 or 72 or 96 hours before departure? Which laboratories are acceptable? Publicly funded or private out-of-pocket? Is airline travel really that risky?

To see the latest and most active discussions surrounding COVID-19 testing on TravelMed, search the following thread subjects: "Airline Requirements for Travel" "Covid Testing Requirements", "COVID-19 Testing Availability in Lloydminster Canada", "COVID-19 Test Results Certificate". As always, please remember to search for an existing thread before you post your question! If a discussion is already taking place on the topic, read the responses to see if it answers your question before starting a new post. Resources offering information about airline travel requirements and COVID-19 testing (including where to get tests done) mentioned in the discussions include:

  • Country embassies/consulates
  • Government health departments/agencies (,,, etc.)
  • Travel medicine clinical decision support tools (eg, Shoreland Travax, with paid subscription)
  • Private/commercial healthcare companies
  • Airports

In addition to the resources above and not mentioned in the discussions, these sites also offer helpful advice and guidance: UN WFP, IOM, IATA, KAYAK. SITATA ISTM has now added a useful checkbox for practitioners with a listing in the Global Travel Clinic Directory under Services Offered (note that ISTM membership is not required to access the directory):

As you will read in other columns, The TravelMed Listserv is a valuable service and excellent tool to share ideas, foster collegiality, and discuss problems. Please remember that it's a forum for: 1) discussion of individual clinical cases, 2) patient management issues, 3) guidelines for clinical care, and 4) educational/training opportunities.

Some tips for efficiently using TravelMed:

  1. Be as explicit as possible with the Subject of your post. A subject of "Question" requires users to open the thread or more likely, it won't get viewed at all.
  2. Search on previous posts to see if there is an answer to your question before you post a new question.
  3. Do not post a question/response under a pre-existing subject that has nothing to do with your question! Create a new post, or find an existing thread with the same question.
  4. During this busy time, consider using the private message function to reply to an author when appropriate. An example would be to thank someone or say that you agree with their comment –it is not necessary to post this type of message to everyone.

Above all, keep the posts coming: it's a valuable service and excellent tool to share ideas, foster collegiality, and discuss problems. If you are in doubt about a post, please contact us at ISTM! ( Many of you check with us before posting, and we are happy to review a potential post if you have any concerns or questions. Please visit the TravelMed page on the ISTM website to review the rules and etiquette of using the forum:

Nancy Pietroski,
Travel Medicine News Associate Editor

Top of page


Webinar Logo

The ISTM Professional Education Committee invites you to review our COVID-19 Digital Symposia webinar series. Since this content is COVID-19 related, these webinars are FREE for both Members and Non-Members to enjoy. Simply click on the Webinar titles below, click Register and complete your Registration to view these recordings.

Getting Out from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Towards a Safe and Effective Vaccine
recorded 9 December 2020
Annelies Wilder-Smith moderates Speakers Leo G. Visser (the Netherlands) and Saad Omer (United States of America).

The Impact of the Pandemic on Immigrant and Migrant Workers' Communities: in collaboration with the ISTM Migrant and Refugee Health Interest Group and ASTMH
recorded 24 June 2020
Patricia F. Walker moderates Speakers Marcus Brauer (South Africa), Christina Coyle (United States of America) and Carlos Seas (Peru).

Unprecedented Impact and Challenges to the Health of Migrants, Refugees and Asylum-Seekers
recorded 6 May 2020
Christina Greenaway moderates Speakers Apostolos Veizis (Greece) and Paul Douglas (Switzerland).

Focus on Europe, the New Epicenter
recorded 1 April 2020
David O. Freedman moderates Speakers Francesco Castelli (Italy) and Special Guest Commentators from the United Kingdom Nicholas Beeching and Michael Beadsworth.

Special 90-minute ISTM Digital Symposium: COVID-19
recorded 11 March 2020
David O. Freedman moderates Speakers Jasper Chan (Hong Kong) and Poh Lian Lim (Singapore).

Top of page

Leaders of the International Society of Travel Medicine

ISTM Executive Board

President: Lin Chen, United States of America*
Immediate Past President: Leo Visser, the Netherlands*
President-Elect: Peter A. Leggat, Australia*

Rebecca Acosta, United States of America*
Elizabeth Barnett, United States of America*
Andrea Rossanese, Italy*
Jenny Visser, New Zealand*
Secretary/Treasurer: Michael Jones, United Kingdom
Acting Executive Director: Jodi Metzgar, United States of America

*Voting Members

ISTM Publication Editors

Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Travel Medicine: Annelies Wilder-Smith, Switzerland
Editor-in-Chief, Travel Medicine News: Alexandra Grieve, United Kingdom

ISTM Board Committees


Chair: Robert Steffen, Switzerland

Co-Chair and NECTM Liaison: Fiona Genasi, United Kingdom
US CDC ACIP Liason: Elizabeth Barnett, United States of America
APTHS Liaison: Anthony Gherardin, Australia
CDC Liaison: Phyllis Kozarsky, United States of America
South America Travel Medicine Community Liaison: Mary Wilson, United States of America


Special Recognitions Committee

Chair: Charles D. Ericsson, United States of America
Co-Chair: Prativa Pandey, Nepal

Fiona Genasi, United Kingdom
Louis Loutan, Switzerland
Phyllis Kozarsky, United States of America

ISTM Standing Committees

Continuing Professional Development

Chair: Jeffrey Goad, United States of America

Masatoki Adachi, Japan
Nelson Ivan Agudelo Higuita, United States of America
Richard Dawood, United Kingdom
Sherilyn Houle, Canada
Androula Pavli, Greece
Gilles Poumerol, Switzerland
Gail Rosselot, United States of America
Philip Scappatura, Canada
Eli Schwartz, Israel
Hilary Simons, United Kingdom
Kenneth Dardick, Examination Committee Liaison, United States of America

Digital Communications

Chair: Sarah McGuinness, Australia
Co-Chair: Christopher Van Tilburg, United States of America

Jane Chiodini, United Kingdom
Julian Eyears, United Kingdom
Vanessa Field, United Kingdom
Anny Huang, United Kingdom
Sarah Kohl, United States of America
Adbelkader Lahmar, France
Laura Santos Larregola, Spain
Deborah Mills, Australia
Hans Nothdurft, Germany
Dipti Patel, United Kingdom
Natalia Rodriguez Valero, Spain
Noud Schel, Netherlands
Patricia Schlagenhauf, Switzerland
Jeroen van der Hilst, Belgium


Chair: Pierre Landry, Switzerland
Co-Chair: Brian Aw, Canada

Buddha Basnyat, Nepal
Heather Connor, Canada
Mieke Croughs, Belgium
Kenneth Dardick, United States of America
Carlos Franco-Paredes, United States of America
Jeff Goad, United States of America
Martin Haditsch, Austria
Sonny Lau, Australia
Tulia Marcolongo, Canada
Elaine Rosenblatt, United States of America
Andrea Rossanese, Italy
Eli Schwartz, Israel
Trish Smith, Australia
Brian Stowe, Canada

Professional Education

Chair: Sarah Kohl, United States of America
Co-Chair: Yen Bui, Canada

Susan Anderson, United States of America
Olivier Aoun, France
Lee Baker, South Africa
Elizabeth Barnett, United States of America
Michele Barry, United States of America
Garth Brink, South Africa
I. Dale Carroll, United States of America
Christina Coyle, United States of America
Derek Evans, United Kingdom
Philippe Gautret, France
Michael Holzer, United States of America
Sheila Mackell, United States of America
Nancy Piper-Jenks, United States of America
Susan L.F. McLellan, United States of America
Dipti Patel, United Kingdom
Gail Rosselot, United States of America
Mary-Louise Scully, United States of America
Dawd Siraj, United States of America
Jenny Visser, New Zealand

Publications Oversight

Chair: Gerard Flaherty, Ireland

Journal of Travel Medicine: Annelies Wilder-Smith, Switzerland
Travel Medicine News Editor: Alexandra Grieve, United Kingdom
Travel Medicine News Associate Editor: Nancy Pietroski, United States of America
Charles Ericsson, United States of America
Effrossyni Gkrania-Klotsas, United Kingdom
Joseph Torresi, Australia
Christopher Van Tilburg, United States of America
Rudy Zimmer, Canada

Research and Awards

Chair: Martin Grobusch, The Netherlands
Co-Chair: Mary Wilson, United States of America


Elizabeth Barnett, United States of America
Jose Flores, Mexico
Katherine Gibney, Australia
Stefan Hagmann, United States of America
David Hamer, United States of America
Eyal Leshem, Israel
Sarah McGuinness, Australia
Eskild Petersen, Oman/Denmark
Kyle Petersen, United States of America
Mark Riddle, United States of America
Larry Selkow, United States of America
Dawd Siraj, United States of America
Hai-Bo Wang, China

Professional Group Leadership Councils


Chair: Heather Connor, Canada Chair-Elect: Caroline Nash, Australia

Council Members:
Ruth Anderson, Australia
Catherine Keil, Australia
Lisa Lynch Jones, United States of America
Jutarmas Olanwijitwong, Thailand
Danielle Peel, Australia
Lisa Scotland, New Zealand


Chair: Derek Evans, United Kingdom
Chair-Elect: Karl Hess, United States of America
Immediate Past Chair: Lee Baker, South Africa

Council Members:
Ian Heslop, Australia
Sherilyn Houle, Canada
Keri Hurley-Kim, United States of America
Patricia Schlagenhauf, Switzerland
Sheila Seed, United States of America
Mark Walberg, United States of America

Interest Groups Leadership Councils

Expedition and Wilderness Medicine

Chair: Travis Heggie, United States of America
Chair-Elect: Andrea Rossanese, Italy

Council Members:
Jim Bond, United Kingdom
Christopher Tonozzi, United States of America
Jenny Visser, New Zealand
Max Winkler, South Africa

Migrant and Refugee Health Leadership Council

Chair: Sapha Barkati, Canada

Council Members:
Masatoki Adachi, Japan
Federico Gobbi, Italy
Stefan Hagmann, United States of America
Anita Heywood, Australia
Godwin T. Igodo, United Kingdom
Susan Kuhn, Canada
Marissa Vive, The Netherlands

Military Travel

Chair: Olivier Aoun, France
Co-Chair: Holly Doyne, United States of America
Mildred Casey-Campbell, Canada
Peter Leggat, Australia

Older Traveller

Chair: Joseph Torresi, Australia
Charles Ericsson, United States of America
Gerard Flaherty, Ireland
Federico Gobbi, Italy
Andrea Rossanese, Italy


Chair: Eyal Leshem, Israel
Immediate Past Chair: Stefan Hagmann, United States of America

Council Members:
Sarah Kohl, United States of America
Shirley Molitor-Kirsch, United States of America
Natalie Prevatt, United Kingdom
Francisco Silva, United States of America
Mike Starr, Australia

Psychological Health of Travellers

Chair: Tullia Marcolongo, Canada

Council Members:
Peter Felkai, Hungary
Stefanus (Fanie) Jute, South Africa
Anne Terry, United States of America
Marius van Aswegen, South Africa

Responsible Travel

Chair: Patricia (Trish) Smith, Australia
Immediate Past Chair: Jim Bond, United Kingdom

Council Members:
Joanne Grey, Australia
Tullia Marcolongo, Canada
Caroline Nash, Australia

Student Travel Abroad

Chair: Julie Richards, United States of America
Immediate Past Chair: Mark Newell, Australia

Council Members:
Catherine Ebelke, United States of America
Jenny Kind, United States of America
Robin Maestripieri, United States of America
Richard Moody, United States of America
Anamaria Muresan, Canada
Despoina Pavlopoulou, Greece
Gail Rosselot, United States of America

Travel for Work

Chair: Michael Holzer, United States of America
Immediate Past Chair: Albie de Frey, South Africa

Council Members:
Ian Cheng, Australia
Dipti Patel, United Kingdom
Douglas Randell, Australia
Herbert Schilthuis, The Netherlands
Jennifer Sisson, Australia

ISTM Foundation

President: Robert Steffen, Switzerland
Vice President: Lisa Danzig, United States of America

Board Members:
Martin Grobusch, The Netherlands
Michael Jones, United Kingdom
Kevin Kain, Canada
Joseph Torresi, Australia
Mary Wilson, United States of America
Acting Executive Director: Jodi Metzgar, United States of America


Co-Principal Investigator: Davidson Hamer, United States of America
Co-Principal Investigator: Michael Libman, Canada
CDC Medical Epidemiologist: Kristina Angelo, United States of America
CDC Medical Epidemiologist: Grace Appiah, United States of America

Chair, Special Populations Working Group: Phillippe Gautret, France
Chair, Data Collections Working Group: Karin Leder, Australia
Chair, Enhanced Clinical Surveillance Working Group: Kevin Kain, Canada
Chair, Tracking and Communications Working Group: Vanessa Field, United Kingdom
Committee Chair, External Collaboration Committee (ECCo): Patricia Schlagenhauf, Zurich
Committee Chair, Publications Committee: Andrea Boggild, Canada
Special Advisor on behalf of CDC: Phyllis Kozarsky, United States of America
CanTravNet: Kevin Kain, Canada
EuroTravNet: Philippe Gautret, France
Support Team Program Manager: Aisha Rizwan, United States of America
Support Team Data Manager: Hannah Emetulu, United States of America