Mission Statement

To advance nurses engaged in the care of all travelers- both domestic and international- through professional development, evidence-based practice and advocacy.

ATHNA is committed to professional development, networking, research and advocacy in travel health nursing. We offer our members resources for clinics, CE programs, an annual free conference day, monthly updates, regional contacts, and much more... Join ATHNA and start enjoying the many benefits of membership.

President's Message

"Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives ... not looking for flaws, but for potential"
-Ellen Goodman, journalist, columnist, Pulitzer Prize winner

Happy New Year! My New Year's resolutions used to be don't fight with my sister, help my mommy clean up and eat more vegetables. Even at a young age, I understood resolutions to be about improving oneself. Please indulge me for just a moment to consider Ellen Goodman's thought that we spend the new year as a time not to look for flaws, but to look for potential.

As I ponder the membership of the ATHNA organization, I am grateful for what each of you bring to the association in terms of the high standards you seek for the care of the traveler. Please consider your potential to serve in ATHNA as the new year begins and think about what role you'd like to be involved in. We would love to have you on our committees (Membership, Marketing, Communications, Finance) and Go Teams (short-term projects) to advance the standards of travel health care. This is an excellent way to connect with colleagues across the United States and to gain knowledge in travel health and the ATHNA organization.

We are on the cusp of great things for nurses who prepare travelers for domestic and international journeys such as American Nurses Association specialty recognition, our 3000-membership campaign and our opportunity to offer low cost certification in travel health nursing. None of this is imaginable without members support.

As 2020 dawns and rises, grab the people you love and celebrate the potential of yourself and your family, the ATHNA goals, and the future. Plan to shine a little brighter in this new year, you can contact me through info@athna.org.

Candace Sandal, DNP, MBA, APRN, COHN-S, FAAOHN
ATHNA President

Three Important Goals for 2019-2020

For 2019-2020 ATHNA has three overriding goals for our professional organization:

  • ANA recognition for the specialty of travel health nursing
  • Explore lower cost options for U.S. certification for travel health nursing
  • Achieve or exceed the organizational goal of 3000 members, representing 10% of U.S. nurses who provide services to travelers

Past Presidents' Council: Letter to The New York Times

Over the summer ATHNA created a new group to help support our organization in a variety of ways not currently addressed by our committee and GoTeam structure. The group is called the Past Presidents' Council (PPC) and is currently comprised of five previous presidents: Charlotte Katzin, Julie Richards, Elaine Rosenblatt, Gail Rosselot and Sandy Weinberg. Together we represent many years as ATHNA members, directors and officers. The purpose of our group is to provide some institutional memory to help with ATHNA decision-making and also to undertake special projects. Advocacy and publications are important roles already embraced by the PPC.

The PPC's "first order of business" was to send a letter to The New York Times on November 12 asking that newspaper to investigate the ongoing yellow fever vaccine shortage. Everyone in U.S. travel health is affected by this critical issue. Please read our letter which we hope will generate a major Times article and a quick resolution of this shortage for travelers, providers and our communities...


NED 2020: Looking for Summer Hosts & Potential Topics

Next summer, at several locations around the country, ATHNA plans to again sponsor our popular one day regional NED: Networking, Education and Development. Now in its fifth year, the NED program is designed to offer our members a day of small group gatherings for professional networking and continuing education. In the past we have arranged up to four sites on the same day. Hosts provide their homes for the event; ATHNA provides all the rest- the educational program, a facilitator, and funds for lunch and refreshments. The regional NED program is one of our most popular ATHNA benefits.

If you might be willing to serve as a host for up to 10 or 12 members on a Saturday in July or August 2020, please contact us at info@athna.org. Suggestions for possible clinical topics for the program? Please send them to info@athna.org. (And to get an idea of how this informal event is enjoyed by our members, please note the photograph at the top of this homepage, one of the first NEDs held in New York.)

Former Board Member and ATHNA Fellow Achieves Professional Goal

On Friday, 22nd November, 2019, Sue Ann McDevitt was admitted to the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow. This penultimate honour was the result of years of study, clinical practice, developing curricula, and educating medical staff in the specialty practice of Travel Medicine. The ceremony was held at the University of Glasgow's magnificent Bute Hall.

To learn more about this experience in SueAnn's own words...

Cindy Frank: recipient of the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA)

ATHNA congratulates Board member Cindy Frank who recently was the recipient of the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA) "Outstanding Mentoring Award for 2019." This award is given to an MNA member who best demonstrates "by example and through wise counsel outstanding efforts and interest in the professional development and advancement of less experienced nurses." Ms. Frank was presented with a plaque from the MNA at their 116th Annual Conference, on November 14-15, 2019 held at the Sheraton Inner Harbor in Baltimore.

To read excerpts from the supporting documentation for Cindy's award...

Meet Karen (Kaylee) Light MPH, RN

Kaylee received her RN through Labouré College of Milton, MA. During her MPH training in epidemiology and health management she certified in Stanford University's disease prevention program to do community-based research. She has worked with Chronic Disease patients since 2009, and as a Travel Health Nurse close to two years. She is currently advancing her professional development as a Nurse Practitioner with a travel health focus. Kaylee has two daughters starting their careers. In her spare time, Kaylee races sailboats out of Marblehead MA, is a cycling enthusiast and an avid skier...

Professional Development

TravelByte #34: BAT Rabies: Don't Ignore Even the Smallest Bite

According to CDC, rabies in humans is rare in the United States. There are usually only one or two human cases per year. But the most common source of human rabies in the United States is from bats. For example, among the 19 naturally acquired cases of rabies in humans in the United States from 1997-2006, 17 were associated with bats. Among these, 14 patients had known encounters with bats. Four people awoke because a bat landed on them and one person awoke because a bat bit him. In these cases, the bat was inside the home.

Rabid bats have been documented in all 49 continental states. Hawaii is rabies-free. Bats are increasingly implicated as important wildlife reservoirs for variants of rabies virus transmitted to humans.

Recent data suggest that transmission of rabies virus can occur from minor, seemingly unimportant, or unrecognized bites from bats. Human and domestic animal contact with bats should be minimized, and bats should never be handled by untrained and unvaccinated persons or be kept as pets.

ATHNA Book and Journal Club - December 2019

Describing current flu activity in the United States, the CDC announced, "The flu is widespread in 30 states and has caused almost 2,000 deaths this season, including 19 children; rates of infections have doubled in some states since last week."

Each year, as we encounter the annual influenza season here in northern hemisphere, we are reminded that this disease is so much more than the common cold and is capable of killing thousands of citizens of every age. Travel health nurses contribute to the national prevention effort as they remind their patients of the importance of the yearly "flu shot" while responding to the frequent questions and doubts about the value of this immunization.

Although there are a number of books, non-fiction and fiction, that describe the worst flu season in recent history, Gina Kolata's Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the infamous 1918 Spanish Flu. It is also a wake up call for anyone who wonders what pathogen might be the most effective biological weapon.

As part of our ongoing commitment to help keep travel health nursing professionals up-to-date, ATHNA will continue to highlight the latest messages of CDC, WHO, and other national authorities in our What's News column. The monthly ATHNA Book Club is a new regular feature that will focus on additional sources of travel health knowledge and information. Have a good book or article to recommend? Please send your titles to Gail Rosselot, Immediate Past President, garosselot@aol.com...

Last June, at the Washington DC NED, Past President Julie Richards gave a presentation on the evaluation of the returning traveler with fever. We share that presentation with you this month and encourage anyone who triages post-travel patients or anyone studying for the ISTM Certificate of Knowledge exam to read through this slide set. And if anyone has any questions, please send them to info@athna.org.


The ATHNA Membership Team wishes all our members a safe and joyful holiday! In this season of giving, consider extending a gift of a complimentary free ATHNA membership to a Travel Health Nursing colleague through ATHNA.org. Sharing this gift will help spread the mission of the American Travel Health Nursing Association and help make us 3000 Strong.

As a gift to our members, the ATHNA Board of Directors is pleased to extend free renewal of all ATHNA annual memberships through October 31, 2020. Soon all members will receive a letter outlining new member information and expanded features on this website.

What's News