Mission Statement

The travel health nursing professional, not to be mistaken for the "travel nurse," is an official ANA recognized nursing specialty. Travel health nursing is defined as " the specialized nursing practice that advances the well-being of all travelers, both domestic and international, in all phases/stages of travel and in all clinical settings." Travel health nurses provide travelers with pre-travel preparation, in transit support, and post travel evaluation and management as may be needed. By contrast, travel nurses move around the country and supplement staffing at various hospitals during times of peak capacity.

The American Travel Health Nurses Association (ATHNA) is the professional organization for travel health nurses in North America. ATHNA is committed to professional development, networking, research and advocacy in travel health nursing. We offer our members resources for travel health clinics, CE programs, a unique, regional conference day, monthly updates, regional contacts, and much more...

It is the mission of ATHNA to advance nurses engaged in the care of all travelers through professional development, evidence-based practice and advocacy.

ATHNA Offers Free Membership: Join Today

CDC recognizes August as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM)

CDC recognizes August as National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) and this year that designation takes on special meaning as we all await a safe and effective vaccine against COVID19.

It is also a time when due to the pandemic we are experiencing record low rates of pediatric vaccinations and most clinics are in the process of preparing for an influenza season and flu shot clinics in the midst of this public health crisis.

ATHNA joins with CDC to encourage our members and all healthcare professionals to make effective vaccine recommendations during National Immunization Awareness Month:

"August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This annual observance highlights the efforts of nurses to protect patients of all ages against vaccine-preventable diseases through on-time vaccination. During NIAM, ATHNA and CDC encourages you to ensure your patients are up to date on recommended vaccines. Research has consistently shown that healthcare professionals are the most trusted source of vaccine information for parents and patients. Use NIAM as an opportunity to access CDC educational resources like the #HowIRecommend Video Series, which offers simple and practical guidance for having successful vaccine conversations with parents and patients. These short videos demonstrate how to make effective vaccine recommendations, address common vaccine questions, and take a team-based approach to vaccination."

To assist health professionals in this public health effort, the CDC has created several dedicated websites such as this one that offers additional resources to help travel health nurses promote all vaccinations and reduce vaccine hesitancy. And the CDC website focuses on vaccination guidance during the COVID19 pandemic. A third CDC website includes educational materials and CME offerings

Keep Encouraging Vaccinations for Every Age Group!

Announcement About Membership Dues

These are unprecedented, uncharted times in our country and we know many travel health nurses are struggling right now- professionally, personally or both. We all look forward to a time when world travel resumes and we can again have a myriad of opportunities to support the health and safety of our travelers. In consideration of the COVID19 crisis and its impact on our members, the Board of Directors of the American Travel Health Nurses Association is extending its offer of free membership through the end of 2020. Current members are not required to re-register and new members are most welcome... as we stay together by standing apart.

President's Update - August/September 2020

Dear Members,

I hope this message finds you safe as we experience our eighth month of this pandemic. These continue to be unprecedented times for us all. I do hope you are finding ways to still enjoy summertime with family and friends despite the restrictions this "new normal" requires. A special message of added concern goes out to our colleagues in California and the Gulf Coast as they face damaging fires and Hurricane season.

As you all know, during this time of COVID19, ATHNA has been on a moratorium, but our directors have remained active working on several important projects to enhance our organization and benefit our membership. Here are three highlights since June:

  • Annual Meeting of the Board: The Board met at the end of June to review the year and what a year it was- our membership grew to more than 2000, we achieved official ANA recognition as the newest nursing specialty in the US, and we negotiated the publication of Travel Health Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (due out in November). It was also a time to say farewell to Lori Barker who stepped off the Board after completing her two year term. We were very fortunate to have such a dedicated professional who also helped lead the Communications Committee during her tenure. We wish her all the best.
  • ATHNA Bylaws: ATHNA has been working on the mandated five year revision of our Bylaws. That process was initiated early in the year by a committee chaired by Director Elaine Rosenblatt. The final version is now almost complete and will be posted on our website after Board approval in September.
  • NED: We all miss our annual NED (Networking, Education and Development) event held every summer for the past five years. But we are working on presenting this educational opportunity in a new format this fall. ATHNA will be offering monthly webinars via Zoom. Members will receive registration information prior to each offering. For more information, please see the article on this homepage.

This pandemic has upended many of our lives. Our members have seen their careers move in different and unexpected directions. Some nurses were able to reinvent themselves by moving to another area of practice with the hope of returning to travel health in the future. Many travel health nurses who work in the public health sector have taken the lead with contact tracing during the Covid-19 response. Other members have been able to continue the important work of administering routine immunizations. According to CDC, routine immunization rates declined as people were staying home and avoiding visits to medical provider offices. This month is National Immunization Awareness Month and we share with you on this website several excellent resources for promoting the preventive benefit of vaccination for all age groups throughout the year.

As we wait for the return of active travel, and we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, keep in mind that all nurses are public health nurses. Your family, friends and communities look to you for information and guidance. Explore the guidance documents for Coronavirus on this website and the CDC website and share the facts widely.

Be well,

Sandy Weinberg, ATHNA President

NED 2020

Social distancing will, of necessity, keep us apart this year for our annual
NED: Networking, Education and Development Day

The opportunity to meet each summer in members' homes around the country has been a unique and unifying element of ATHNA since 2015. Unfortunately, COVID19 prevents those gatherings this coming summer.

This Fall, ATHNA will start rolling out monthly and bi-monthly webinars developed by members and invited speakers. Invitations for these educational sessions will be sent to members for registration and the option to elect CE credits.

  • The first will be a program on "Medical Tourism" that broadens our understanding of this more than $30 billion industry worldwide.
  • The second, "Telehealth: Reach Out and Protect Someone." will provide an introduction to telehealth services for travel health nurses.
  • The third will add to your understanding of critical considerations when "Preparing a Traveler for High Altitude."
  • And the fourth will be a conversation about pediatric pre- travel counseling with a recognized expert in this field.

Constant Contact messages will go out as each webinar becomes available through our website.

Only ATHNA members have access to NED programming, so if you are not a member and wish to receive notices about our programs, please join ATHNA today. Membership is free.

We all look forward to 2021 in the hope that testing, treatments and perhaps even a vaccine will enable us to again come together.

10 Vaccine Articles of Note & A Special PBS Documentary

We are hearing from our members that while many of you are administering fewer immunizations during the pandemic, you are finding the time for more reading. This month, rather than recommend a book, we are offering our members some valuable articles on vaccines, thanks to Julie Richards, Past President, who sent along these recommendations from the popular press.

But before we share the articles, we encourage you to view a PBS feature on Dr. Deborah Wexler, the founder of Immunization Action Coalition (IAC). Most of us know that IAC is an essential resource for anyone in our specialty and this documentary is inspiring.

COVID19 vs SARS: How Similar? How Different?

Every few weeks we are updating the COVID19 resources that you can access at the top of the homepage. These are selected by ATHNA experts for relevance to travel health nursing, for the most part. For the last two months we also have posted on our website a slide set on the Spanish Flu. As you know, it is an event that everyone has been discussing in light of the current pandemic.

Recently there has been more discussion about the SARS pandemic in 2003 and this current one. In particular, people are asking about differences between the two viruses, the role of different social and demographic factors, and what lessons might be learned by comparing the two. Lancet printed an article in May that does just that, "Can We Contain the COVID-19 Outbreak with the Same Measures as for SARS?" The first author is Dr. Annelies Wilder-Smith, editor of JTM, former ISTM President, previously based in Singapore, and currently at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Lancet is offering all its COVID19 content free access, so we share this interesting article with our members.

Kids Travel

Even during this year with COVID19, August is the most popular month for domestic family travel in the United States.

And in 2020, more than in any previous years, families are forsaking "the friendly skies" and planning car trips around the country.

Travel health nurses prepare individuals, families and groups for both international and domestic travel. Perhaps this year, you are being asked to help someone arrange a trip within the U.S. to visit relatives, get away for a long weekend, or take the kids on their first camping trip. During "normal" times, the logistics for on-the- road vacations can be challenging for adults of every age. COVID19 complicates the planning even more. To help you, CDC has some good resources for planning that kind of travel.

However, when road travel involves infants and young children, the issues begin to multiply. To address concerns for how to keep the whole family healthy and safe while traveling around the United States, ATHNA encourages you to explore a terrific, free, long-valued resource: Dr. Karl Newman's bi-monthly newsletter "Kids Travel Doc". The current issue demonstrates its usefulness featuring guidance on the topic "Warning: Driving with an unruly child in your car is hazardous." Recent archived issues cover these topics: motion sickness, sun protection, sunglasses for kids, early childhood swim lessons, and a host of articles on COVID19 and kids. Written for health professionals and the public, Dr. Newman shares practical, well documented guidance for traveling with children-both domestically and international.

TravelByte #38 Rabies FAQ's

Zero by 30 is an important WHO campaign to eliminate human deaths due to canine rabies by the year 2030.

Dogs are the number one risk for rabies transmission to humans worldwide, responsible for more than 60,000 deaths annually.

In support of this major One Health initiative, ATHNA shares a powerpoint presentation this month that addresses frequently asked questions about rabies encountered in the pre-travel encounter. Developed by Gail Rosselot, NP, MPH this slide set can serve as a tool to educate staff who will be counseling travelers- both domestic and international- about rabies risk, prevention, and treatment.

Infection Control Vocabulary

Crosswords are a longtime favorite of ATHNA members and this month's puzzle is in keeping with the year-long theme of infections and how to best control them. Good Luck! (Check for the answer key next month.)

A Woman's Right to Vote was Hard Won by Nurses and Others in this Country

Be Sure to Cast Your Ballot in this Year's Elections

"In 1917, nurses joined protests in front of the White House gates for a different reason. They believed that if women won the right to vote, they could reform public health, set workplace standards, fund hospitals, and improve the lives of the working-class and poor people who bore the greatest burden of sickness. Medical professionals often face pressure to appear neutral and stay out of politics, but nurses have long believed that sick bodies are political. Their profession formed in defiance of those who devalued care work as feminine and unskilled. For many nursing leaders, joining the movement for women's suffrage and going to jail with fellow protesters was part of their medical mission."

ALICIA PUGLIONESI www.teenvogue.com/story/history-activist-nurses-united-states

Featured Photograph

Autumn in the Sylvania Wilderness Area

This month we again share the photographic talent of our Secretary, Diane McHugh. The subject this time, however, is domestic travel rather than international- in keeping with the current pattern of US family travel during the COVID19 pandemic.

Many of you may be familiar with the Boundary Waters region of Northern Minnesota where it meets Ontario. That region is well known and very popular with campers, house boating, canoeing and kayaking, but it is also rather remote, wild and untamed... This photo captures the beauty of another northern wilderness region located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Sylvania Wilderness is comprised of more than 18,000 acres of protected lands and is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is located much closer to major metropolitan areas and yet provides a calming world apart for lucky backcountry campers, hikers, and kayakers. An occasional moose, many fish and sometimes the Northern Lights await visitors to this preserve that was once a private Sylvania Club favored by Dwight Eisenhower and Lawrence Welk among others.

As described on its website: "The old-growth forests and pristine lakes in the region provide habitat for a wide range of animal and plant life, including rare orchids, bald eagles, loons and osprey. The wilderness contains 34 named lakes, some with sandy beaches and others surrounded by record-size red and white pines. The Ottawa National Forest is comprised of nearly 1 million acres and is located in the western reaches of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The forest's rolling, tree covered hills extend from the south shore of Lake Superior to the Wisconsin border. Lakes, rivers and waterfalls are found throughout this beautiful landscape."

Sounds like a match for any destination...

Do you have a travel photo to share? In this new website feature, we'll post member favorites each month. Send your photographs to info@ATHNA.org.

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