AMERICAN TRAVEL HEALTH NURSES ASSOCIATION
The American Travel Health Nurses Association (ATHNA) is the professional organization for the specialty of travel health nursing in North America. Founded in 2004, ATHNA is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit incorporated in New York. With nearly 3000 members across the United States and internationally, ATHNA is committed to professional development, networking, research, and advocacy in travel health nursing.
Our Mission Statement
It is the mission of the American Travel Health Nurses Association to advance nurses engaged in the care of all travelers- both domestic and international- through professional development, evidence-based practice, and advocacy.
The Specialty of Travel Health Nursing
Travel health nursing is the specialized nursing practice that advances the well-being of all travelers in all phases/ stages of travel and in all settings.
Recognized by the American Nurses Association in 2020 as a distinct nursing specialty, travel health nursing specializes in advancing the well-being of all travelers who travel both domestically and internationally. We provide care for individuals, families, and groups through all stages of travel including pre-travel preparation, in transit support, and post travel evaluation and management. Travel health nurses practice in a variety of settings that include private travel health clinics, universities, corporations, the military, public health centers, and community clinics. As clinicians, travel health nursing professionals are specially educated and trained to assess traveler health and safety risks and to provide risk management strategies that include immunizations, medications, health counseling, and referrals. Travel health nurses also function as researchers, faculty members, consultants to business and governments, entrepreneurs, and nursing leaders in this country and internationally.
ATHNA Offers Free Membership. If you prepare travelers for their journeys or care for them upon return:
So far, 2023 looks to be a year of “revenge travel” with many postponed trips now rescheduled and individuals, families, and groups eager to fly off to destinations the world over. That's why we want to make sure that you are aware of the many helpful sections of the ATHNA website as you prepare your travelers. If you have not already checked out the Educational Resource, it is a must see! There is a wealth of educational material in an interesting format designed to make learning fun and not rote. We continue to provide updated information in a shorter format through our blog, Travel Bytes. If any of our members are interested in writing, we are always looking for contributions to these features and the website...
As we work on adding new content to this regular ATHNA educational feature, we want to remind you that content for all of 2022 is archived. If you have any free time this winter- perhaps a snow day?- why not give this well-regarded ATHNA website feature a second look? Maybe you have not had an opportunity to read some of the topics posted last year. Keeping current is always a challenge for our professional specialty! Here is a recap of some of the earlier content you may have missed. New content coming soon.
Gail Rosselot and Jane Chiodini, Co-editors
Looking Back Through 2022...
- January: An Update on SIRVA. Know what this is? How to prevent it? As we inoculate against monkeypox and await another Covid booster, knowing how to prevent this injection injury is important for you and your patient.
- February: Are you prescribing more Tafenoquine? Then you need to know everything about G6PD deficiency. We covered that topic during the dead of winter (hard to imagine we would love a dose of that cold air right now).
- March: Counseling travelers to prevent pregnancy? When first posted four months ago, this contraception content, provided by Director Julie Richards, was important. In light of SCOTUS and the Dobbs decision, this topic is even more critical as we counsel our travelers to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
- April: Are you up to date on ACIP guidance for Hepatitis B, Shingles, and the Pneumococcal vaccines? Guidelines are always changing, it seems. Read the latest guidance and also learn about two terrific vaccine resources recently revised.
- May: Travel health terminology is always growing. Can you define NTDs? What about fami/lymoon? Gramping? Screen tourism? And because this is the "sun season," take a moment, to quickly learn the 5 W's and one H of sun protection. Help your travelers prevent sunburn and skin cancer as they head off to the shore or islands in July and August.
- June: During Pride Month we featured content on the LGBTQ+ traveler, but this population travels year- round. Learn some tips for promoting a safe and healthy journey. And since monkeypox is now a designated WHO global emergency, add these resources to the excellent ones already listed in the June content- Washington Post Monkeypox article and the WHO monkeypox factsheet.
- July/August: Time Out for the editors and a good time for our members to catch up on missed content...
- September: With the recently announced intradermal administration guidelines for monkeypox vaccine, we offer some training resources if you need an ID refresher. As a second feature, we revisit vaccine vial expiration dates and beyond use dates- they’re not the same! Finally, we have posted a presentation on FGM and hope you will take the time to learn about this international travel health risk for girls and young women in more than 30 nations.
- October: Comfortable giving simultaneous vaccinations in one clinic visit? After reading this month’s content, we hope compliance with this ACIP best practice will become second nature. And if you are challenged to know if your traveler really understood how to self-administer oral typhoid vaccine or how to choose safer food and beverages, we think you will find the health literacy tools very helpful.
- November / December: So much of our pretravel visit time is spent addressing infectious disease. And while that topic is certainly important, nothing poses a greater risk to the health and safety of our travelers than motor vehicle accidents. We update a 2016 blog posting on a topic too important to overlook when preparing your travelers for their journeys. And we share an ATHNA template for a Contact Card to give to your patients.
For quick access to Educational Resource, go to:
Zero By 30
World Rabies Day was celebrated on September 28th this year, a global health observance started in 2007 to raise awareness about the world's deadliest infectious disease. World Rabies Day is an annual opportunity to bring together partners to enhance prevention and control efforts worldwide and to reflect on how rabies impacts communities around the world.
World Rabies Day also marks the death anniversary of French biologist, microbiologist and chemist, Louis Pasteur, who developed the first rabies vaccine in 1885. According to the CDC, while rabies is a 100 percent preventable disease, nearly 60,000 people die from this viral infection around the world each year.
According to WHO, "The world has the vaccines, medicines, tools, and technologies to break the cycle of one of the oldest diseases.” Most rabies deaths around the world are caused by dog bites (CDC, Yellow Book 2020). Zero by 30 is the WHO Global Strategic Plan for the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies deaths by 2030.
Travel health nurses have opportunities every day to educate the public about this deadly infection and to protect our travelers with avoidance education and immunization. Starting in first quarter 2023, through a Bavarian Nordic support grant, ATHNA will offer a FREE, CE accredited, educational activity to support the Zero By 30 campaign. It will be offered on- demand and will provide nursing professionals in diverse clinical settings with up-to-date prevention guidance for their international travelers.
The long- awaited change in the rabies PrEP vaccination schedule is now official!
On May 5, CDC published the new recommendation in the MMWR. This was the final step necessary to make this shortened 2 dose schedule the US standard for pretravel immunization against rabies. We encourage nurses to read the publication in its entirety. In the fall, ATHNA plans to offer educational offerings to raise rabies awareness among all nursing professionals, understand how to administer rabies vaccine according to the latest ACIP guidelines, utilize a checklist to counsel behavioral prevention measures, and address FAQs about the updated vaccination guidelines. Remember: always educate your patients to avoid direct contact with mammals.
Use of a Modified Preexposure Prophylaxis Vaccination Schedule to Prevent Human Rabies: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices - United States, 2022
TravelByte #44: What is One of the Most Valuable Travel Health Resources? Hint: IAC
Each year ATHNA encourages our members and readers to sign up to receive the weekly email newsletter IZExpress from Immunize.org, the Immunization Action Coalition. This non-profit, located in Minnesota, is a much-appreciated source for "all things U.S. immunizations." IAC is the go-to resource for every immunizing professional who wants to keep up to date with our national standards of vaccination care. Changes to ACIP recommendations? Notice about ACIP meetings? VIS changes? Handouts for staff orientation, training, and patient care? IAC has them all and so much more… And of course, there is Ask the Experts, an archive of immunization answers provided by CDC experts in response to reader questions. Have a question about Hep A vaccine scheduling? Deciding who should get Prevnar 20? Unsure about the revised rabies vaccine dosing schedule? IAC provides the answers.
Members Only Portal
In addition to the updated content offered on our homepage, we are now expanding content for our members available only on the Membership Portal. Not yet a member? Join today- we offer free membership and welcome your participation in the US professional organization for the specialty of travel health nursing.
What does the Membership Portal Offer?
Travel Health Knowledge and Skills
Travel health nurses can access foundational information for the practice of our specialty.
Forms Archive: Every month, ATHNA will add one new form, checklist or clinical tool to the membership portal of this website. In September it was a template for a pretravel assessment questionnaire. Now we add a screening tool for yellow fever vaccination. Members will want to adapt these documents to their own practice settings and travel populations and review and revise prn at least every 6 months.
Courses and Conferences
An expanded listing of national and international courses and conferences can now be found within the membership portal.
Members are welcome to post open positions or announce their availability for travel health nursing employment.
The American College Health Foundation Guide for Travel Health Practices Now Available!
ATHNA has been alerted to a new publication available to assist any travel health provider prepare university populations for international travel. Whether you work in a college setting or see college students, faculty, or administrators off-site, this text can provide helpful pre-travel guidance and information. Here is a short description of the ACHF Guide which is made available without charge through a Valneva support grant.
As institutions of higher education (IHEs) have increasingly adapted curricular and co-curricular programs to include more study abroad programs, travel health programs are becoming increasingly common in college health and well-being settings. The American College Health Foundation's (ACHF) Guide for Travel Health Practices at Institutions of Higher Education aims to assist IHEs in addressing the unique aspects and challenges of providing travel health services on campus. This comprehensive guide is meant to serve as a resource for both clinicians and non-clinicians who work with students, faculty, and staff who travel abroad. To download your guide and/or the guide's many appendices and handouts:
ATHNA Speaks Out: Intradermal Administration Skills
As part of ATHNA's ongoing commitment to advocacy for travelers, our specialty and the public health, the following letter was sent to CDC in August when monkeypox vaccine was approved for intradermal administration. ATHNA received a prompt reply thanking us for our commitment to professional education and quality care. To learn more about intradermal administration, go to the September offering in Educational Resources.>p?
To the CDC
On behalf of the American Travel Health Nurses Association, we are writing to share our concerns that most health care workers are not adequately trained or experienced to properly provide intradermal (ID) administration of the monkeypox vaccine. This injection technique is known to require special skill and practice. Clinicians providing TB testing or allergy testing may be familiar with ID administration, but many others are ill prepared to deliver any vaccine safely and effectively in this manner.
We are concerned that patients receiving an improperly administered ID dose of monkeypox vaccine may unfortunately learn, at some later date, that their vaccination was invalid, and a repeat dose is required. This would then further deplete the already limited monkeypox vaccine supply; it could also undermine the public's confidence not only in this vaccine, but in vaccination practices in general.
We ask that CDC alert all monkeypox vaccine providers of the need to confirm that proper ID technique is followed in their immunization clinics and to initiate training programs as may be required.
ATHNA appreciates HHS and CDC efforts to expand the current use of monkeypox vaccine. Our professional organization is a strong supporter of vaccination as a powerful weapon against the spread of infectious disease. If CDC already has a plan to offer specific training regarding ID administration, please let us know how we can assist in disseminating any content as a CDC partner.
On behalf of the American Travel Health Nurses Association