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

In a remarkable 18-year continuous run, Americans have consistently appraised nurses as the #1 most ethical and honest profession in the United States, according to the most recent Gallup poll. The year-end 2019 poll revealed 85% of Americans rated nurses' honesty and ethical standards as "high" or "very high." Nurses uphold a wide lead as the most honest and ethical occupation; with the next ranked most honest profession as engineering, at 66%.

Nursing's great achievement is being celebrated by the American Nurses Association (ANA), recognizing 2020 as the "Year of the Nurse". This designation is also supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. Just as Florence Nightingale worked tirelessly to improve health and healthcare, travel health nurses are on the front lines providing health information for travelers; sharing immunization recommendations, safety and security information, shaping health policy, and advocating for the communities our clients visit and return to.

Thank you for your support of ATHNA and pause for a minute to reflect on this amazing honor. Please invite a colleague to join ATHNA today, as free membership is offered through October 31, 2020, and we are breathlessly awaiting ANA specialty recognition of travel health nursing in the United States.

February 2020

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


COVID-19 Information

Situation Summary: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020. WHO has renamed the disease "coronavirus disease 2019" (abbreviated COVID-19). The virus causing the disease has been named "severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2" (abbreviated SARS-CoV-2) by the responsible international taxonomy committee.

This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

ATHNA encourages travel health nurses to consult the CDC and their local and state health departments for current recommendations and to be wary of misinformation from unofficial sources.

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...

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 - February 2020

This historical work reads like a novel. It is the account of the events that occurred in San Francisco, California at the dawn of a new century (1900s), as scientists battled to contain bubonic plague. Challenges to their mission included racial bigotry, unscrupulous politics, and disbelief in science...

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.

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...


We're over half way to our goal of 3000 members! The ATHNA Board of Directors has extended free renewal of all annual memberships through October 31, 2020. Please encourage your colleagues to take advantage of complimentary membership and the benefits ATHNA offers.

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