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Volume 60
Number 10
November 2008

HEADLINERS
 






 

Traveling Abroad?
Hopkins’ Travel Medicine Service provides the tools to make your journey safe.

blank Traveling Abroad
Program manager Judy Baker talks with medical student Emilia Campbell.

Although Emilia Campbell spent hours buried in textbooks during her years as a Hopkins medical student, she still had questions about immunizations and vaccinations for a research trip to Peru in 2007. Like any tech-savvy 26-year-old, Campbell turned to the Internet for answers. She found that the solution was right in her backyard: the Johns Hopkins Travel Medicine Consultation and Immunizations Service.

Located on the seventh floor of the Outpatient Center, the service specializes in providing international travelers with preventive health counseling, prescription medications and immunizations aimed at reducing the risk of illness while abroad. The service also evaluates and treats patients who come back ill from their travels.

"I had questions about which malaria prophylaxis and vaccinations would be the best choice for me," Campbell says. Having found the staff’s explanations so thorough and her experience at the service so positive, she decided to use the service again for an upcoming trip to Malawi, South Africa.

Under the new leadership of Medical Director Noreen Hynes, the service helps 2,000 people annually, including travelers studying abroad, those conducting business and research trips, volunteers, vacationers and prospective adoptive parents.

"The service receives up to 50 calls daily depending on the time of year, global events and stories in the media," says program manager and clinician Judy Baker, who has been with the service since 1987, two years prior to its inception. "One of the most common misconceptions about us is that we’re just a shot clinic."

A comprehensive 45-minute visit provides travelers with an individual risk assessment based on the traveler’s health, travel itinerary and anticipated activities, as well as destination-specific precautions, including information on food and water safety.

Appointments book quickly, so Baker urges travelers to schedule a visit well in advance of their trip. She considers an understanding of disease risks and epidemics just as important as being aware of customs and cultural differences when visiting a foreign country.

"Knowledge can be the best piece of equipment a traveler can have," Baker says.

– Katharine Schildt

The service is open Tuesday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments: 410-955-8931 or travel medicine@jhmi.edu.

 

 

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