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The ISTM Foundation, Inc., promotes and fosters healthy and safe travel — it focuses not only on travellers, but also on their destination and on their home communities. With increasing global mobility, health and safety issues for everyone becomes more and more critical. This applies to the movement of refugees and migrants, to tourists including low budget backpackers, to humanitarian aid workers, to business travellers, to the military and government employees, and even to sports and entertainment figures who spend much of their time traveling.
The Foundation's mission is to support the scientific underpinnings of the fields of travel and tropical medicine in order to best provide for the health and wellbeing of all travelers. The Foundation also acts to raise awareness of social, environmental, cultural and health issues resulting in part from travel and tourism within destination communities, with the responsibility to encourage and conduct research and develop strategies to protect these local communities from the negative impacts of tourism.
The ISTM Foundation, established 2014, is guided by:
ISTM Foundation Executive Board
President: Bradley Connor, United States of America
Bradley A. Connor, M.D. is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Attending Physician at the New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is founder and Medical Director of Travel Health Services, New York’s first private travel medicine clinic. Dr. Connor is also the director of the New York Center for Travel and Tropical Medicine, a facility devoted to teaching and research in travel and tropical medicine. Dr. Connor has been in the private practice of Gastroenterology and Tropical Medicine for the past 30 years.
His main research interests include chronic gastrointestinal disorders in returned travelers, emerging gastrointestinal pathogens, and enteric parasitic diseases. He was part of the Kathmandu, Nepal team that first described the clinical illness associated with Cyclospora infections and made subsequent contributions to the understanding of its pathogenesis, epidemiology, and treatment. Widely published in these fields, he is co-editor of the textbook Travel Medicine, now in its 3rd edition.
Dr. Connor was the Co-Chair of the ISTM Foundation and CDC sponsored Travelers’ Diarrhea Consensus Conference, held in April 2016. New guidelines for the diagnosis and management of Travelers’ Diarrhea were developed during this conference and the proceedings will be published in early 2017.
This was the first international Consensus Conference on this subject in over a decade and was prompted by the availability of new culture independent diagnostics such as Film Array and the growing awareness of the potential for acquisition of multi drug resistant bacteria as a result of travel and the use of antibiotics. Dr. Connor has been the author of the sections on Travelers’ Diarrhea and Persistent Diarrhea in the CDC Health Information for International Travel "Yellow Book" for the past six years. In his clinical practice Dr. Connor was an early adopter of the BioFire FilmArray GI panel, the first physician in private practice in New York to utilize this new diagnostic technology as early as April 2014 and has now accumulated over two and a half years’ worth of data on diarrhea in returned travelers as well as community acquired cases.
Dr. Connor is Past President of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) an organization of over 3000 physicians and allied health professionals in over 75 countries. He is a consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has been part of the Health Information for International Travel working group in the Division of Global Migration since 1997. He is the New York City site director for GeoSentinel, the emerging infectious diseases network of the CDC and ISTM. Dr. Connor was a member of the task force on Travel Medicine at the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003. Dr. Connor has served as a consultant to the White House Medical Unit in the Clinton and Bush administrations and is an advisor in Travel Medicine for the U.S. Olympic Swim Team.
Dr. Connor received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He completed both his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center Hospitals in San Antonio and his fellowship in gastroenterology at the New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical College.
Dr. Connor is a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA-F), Fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America (FIDSA) and was awarded Fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (Glasgow) FFTM, FRCPS.
Secretary-Treasurer: Peter A. Leggat, Australia
Peter A. Leggat, MD, PhD, DrPH, is Professor and presently seconded as Dean of the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, Division of Tropical Health and Medicine, James Cook University (JCU), Australia. A medical and higher doctorate graduate from the University of Queensland, he has published more than 450 journal papers, more than 70 chapters and more than 20 books, as well as presenting more than 300 papers at national and international conferences. He has consulted with various organisations, including the Australian Defence Force, the Therapeutic Goods Authority Australia and the World Health Organization. A former Fulbright Scholar, he has received numerous national and international Fellowships and other accolades.
Professor Leggat has a strong interest in health workforce development in public health and tropical medicine, but also in related areas such as aerospace and travel medicine, having founded the Australian postgraduate course in travel medicine in 1993. He is Dean of Education of The Australasian College of Aerospace Medicine; National Director of Training for St John Ambulance Australia; Acting Chair of the Faculty of Travel Medicine, Honorary Treasurer and Past President of The Australasian College of Tropical Medicine; and Honorary Secretary of the Travel Health Advisory Group, Australia. He was formerly Director-General of the World Safety Organization and remains on their Board of Directors. He has been an elected member of the JCU Council since 2005.
Prior ISTM service: Founding Member 1991; Certificate in Travel HealthTM, 2003. Councilor, Executive Board 2003-05. Leadership Council 2010-12; Editorial Board 2000-12, Section Editor 2003-09; Deputy Editor-in-Chief 2009-11, Journal of Travel Medicine; Editor-in-Chief, ISTM NewsShare, 2010-12; Member, CTH® Examinations Committee 2001-05; Member, Nominations Committee 2002, 2003, 2008; Member, various RCISTM/CISTM Organizing/Scientific Committees 2002-11; Member, Professional Education Committee 2003-12; Member, Continuing Professional Development Committee 2011-12 (formerly Taskforce 2010-11); Member, CISTM14 Oversight Committee, 2014-2015.
Non-Voting Member of the Board
Board Member: Phyllis Kozarsky, United States of America
Phyllis Kozarsky, MD is a Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Emory University. She started Emory’s travel and tropical disease clinic in 1988 and began working as a consultant to CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) shortly thereafter as the chief of travelers’ health. She remains a consultant to CDC’s DGMQ in travelers’ health and is the chief medical editor of CDC’s Health Information for International Travel, also known as the "Yellow Book."
Dr. Kozarsky is also a consultant to many organizations including the Coca-Cola Company, Delta Airlines, CNN, and Habitat for Humanity International. She received her bachelor's degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York and her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. She is the author of many peer-reviewed articles, and is an active member many professional societies including the International Society of Travel Medicine and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Her current research efforts have primarily focused on issues in clinical tropical medicine and travelers' health including the epidemiology of travel-related infections.
Board Member: Robert Steffen, Switzerland
Robert Steffen, Professor Emeritus at the University of Zurich was the Head of the Division of Communicable Diseases in the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute and Director of a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Traveller's Health. Currently, he is also Adjunct Professor in the Epidemiology, Human Genetics & Environmental Sciences Division of the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston, TX, and Honorary Fellow of the Australasian College of Tropical Medicine.
His research mainly targeted travel related epidemiology and prevention of infections, particularly vaccine preventable diseases and travelers’ diarrhea. Currently he is involved in projects in Zurich and Latin America. Besides having authored and co-authored almost 400 publications, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Travel Medicine 2003 to 2011, of the International Journal of Public Health 1994 to 2000 and Section Editor for Clinical Infectious Diseases 2000 to 2003.
For 12 years each, he presided the Swiss Federal Commission for Pandemic Planning and Response and the Expert Committee for Travel Medicine; he was Vice-President both of the Federal Commission on Vaccination and of the Swiss Bioterrorism Committee. The WHO Headquarters in Geneva often have invited him as advisor, such as during the revision of the International Health Regulations, on malaria, or on the prevention of transmission of communicable diseases during commercial flights. Lately he also has been consulted on public health matters by various governments and on the development of vaccines for low-resource countries to PATH and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Currently he serves the WHO as the Vice-Chair of the Emergency Committee on Ebola and as a member of the Virtual Interdisciplinary Advisory Group on Mass Gatherings.
Robert Steffen has held a number of critical roles in the International Society of Travel Medicine. As a co-founder he the first President-Elect, thereafter he has served as President and Past-President, as Co-chair of the Exam and currently as Chair of the Liaison Committee.
Board Member: Annelies Wilder-Smith, Singapore
Professor Annelies Wilder-Smith is Full Professor with Tenure for Infectious Diseases Research at Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University. Her current research interests are vaccine preventable diseases and emerging infectious diseases, with a focus on dengue, meningococcal disease, and influenza. Her general interests and expertise include travel and tropical medicine as well as vaccinology. In addition to epidemiological studies, she has led or co-led various clinical trials, in particular vaccine trials for the development of dengue and influenza vaccines. Currently, she is the Lead Principal Investigator and Coordinator of a large international research consortium, called DengueTools, funded with 5.6 million Euro by the European Commission (www.denguetools.net). DengueTools has set out to develop novel strategies and tools for the surveillance and control of dengue. In 2015, Annelies Wilder-Smith was appointed Senior Advisor to the "Dengue Vaccine Initiative" (www.denguevacinnes.org).
She has published more than 170 scientific papers in international peer reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet, Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal and Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal. In addition to multiple book chapters, she co-edited the book "Manual of Travel Medicine & Health" (Steffen/DuPont/Wilder-Smith, 2003 and 2007, B.C. Decker Inc) and "Travel Medicine: tales behind the science" (Wilder-Smith, Schwartz, Shaw; Elsevier, 2007) and authored the book "How to take a medical history in Chinese" (Armour Publishing ISBN 981-4045-29-2).
Annelies Wilder-Smith Past-President of the Asia Pacific Society of Travel Medicine, and was Chair of the Regional Conference of the ISTM in Singapore 2012 (www.apthc2012.org). Since 2006, she has served as co-editor of the annual revisions of WHO’s "International Travel and Health" (the "Green Book"), contributed to the WHO working group on yellow fever risk assessment, and serves on the WHO roster for the International Health Regulations Secretariat. In Singapore, she serves on various national committees, and was elected to Senator of the Academic Council, and serves on LKC PhD task force.
Professor Wilder Smith obtained her MD from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 1987, her Master in International Health from Curtin University in Australia, and her PhD from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2003. The topic of her PhD was on "W135 meningococcal disease in Hajj pilgrims". Over the past 15 years she has developed and taught courses in global health, communicable diseases and travel medicine both in Singapore and beyond. She worked and lived in the Asia Pacific region for more than 18 years (China, Nepal, Papua New Guinea and since 1998 in Singapore). From 2011-2012, she was the Director of Master Programme in International Health at the Institute of Public Health, University of Heidelberg, Germany. Her awards include the Myrone Levine Vaccinology Prize, the Honor Award for exemplary leadership and coordination in determining and communicating global yellow fever risk (National Centre for Zoonotic and Emerging Infectious Diseases, presented at the CDC Award Ceremony), Ashdown Oration, the Brocher Foundation Award, and awards for best oral presentations at scientific conferences.
Professor Wilder-Smith holds a guest professorship at the University of Umea, Sweden, and is adjunct professor at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Travel Medicine, is Advisor to GeoSentinel, Editorial Consultant to the Lancet, and also serves as volunteer consultant to various community development projects in Asia. Her vision is to build up global health teaching and research programmes in Singapore and beyond.
Executive Director: Diane L. Nickolson, United States of America
Joining the Secretariat in 2010, Diane brings more than 20 years of experience in professional societies to ISTM. She has worked with healthcare associations and international societies as both a manager and a consultant throughout her career. Highlights of her career includes more than fourteen years with the American Bar Association as a director in its continuing legal education department developing national continuing legal education courses and products. She served as Deputy Director to an international medical society, where she was responsible for strategic planning, financial budgeting and reporting, marketing and membership activities, development and sponsor relations, international congresses and regional meetings, operations, and its peer-reviewed journal and newsletter. Immediately prior to coming to ISTM, she served as Executive Director of a national optometric association, focusing on strategic planning, accreditation and certification programs, membership and marketing, as well as the typical functions relating to managing an association. Diane has managed staff teams ranging from three to more than 75 people.
Diane has lectured and published in the field of association management, and has been active in the association community through the years. She has lived in the Atlanta area since 2004, and takes pleasure from the temperate weather, nearby mountains and lakes. In her personal time, she appreciates spending time with Robert, their families, and of course Zeus, their beagle. She also enjoys cooking, reading, volunteering, boating, and traveling to explore new cultures, experiences and cuisines.
Non-Voting Member of the Board
Activities and Projects
Annual travel medicine research grants. Grants are awarded through a peer review process, and are designed to stimulate travel medicine research by supporting pilot studies or small research projects. These awards typically assist young or newer investigators and investigators in lower income communities to learn skills in investigative work and test hypotheses so that they may then apply to other agencies for more substantive research grants.
Our goal is to support needed research by promising young researchers who may not otherwise find funding, as federal and other institutional research support becomes more difficult to obtain. By cosponsoring awards, we hope to expand the awareness of our awards among the research community and attract the best possible candidates each year. We award research grants on global health, travel medicine and migration medicine issues.
Biennial travel grants for ISTM conference presenters. Travel grants and a waiver of registration fees are awarded to presenters of abstracts from resource-poor countries as well as to young investigators who otherwise do not have the funding to attend international conferences.
The Responsible Traveler. This document provides thoughts on the responsibility of the traveler when visiting a country with a different culture and customs. It serves as a guide for responsible behavior while traveling around the world. It is currently available in seven languages, available via download from the ISTM website, and distributed in hard copy at various travel medicine conferences. It is a teaching tool for health care providers and their patients.
Ten Tips for Healthy Travel and Seven Tips for Responsible Travel patient education tools. These two documents provide brief guidelines concerning health issues and cultural codes to educate travelers. Produced in a handy bookmark form, they are downloadable from the ISTM website, are distributed at conferences, and are sent to travel medicine practitioners upon request to give to their patients.
International Travelers' Diarrhea Consensus Conference. Produced by the ISTM Foundation collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) along with industry partners, this will be the first international Consensus Conference in over a decade to evaluate new research in the field of travelers' diarrhea. The conference will specifically address the potential impact of antibiotic use on the acquisition of multidrug-resistant bacteria, the potential for adverse outcomes in those affected, and the potential for spread of the resistant bacteria across borders and into new communities. This four-day conference is scheduled for April of 2016.
GeoSentinel. This emerging infectious disease network was created in 1995 as a joint project between the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
With the recognition of growing problems related to emerging infectious diseases, global health security has become an important agenda item for many countries. New microbes, drug resistance, the potential for accidental or purposeful release of hazardous bioagents, and the globalization of travel and trade continue to be serious challenges.
The U.S government recognized with GeoSentinel's creation that real- time evaluation and reporting of illness in returned travelers (tourists, missionaries, migrants etc.) across multiple sites in multiple continents could serve as an early warning for incipient epidemics and spread of infectious diseases from one country to another. Over the past 20 years, the GeoSentinel Surveillance network has provided robust data that for the first time defined the spectrum of illness and its relation to place of exposure for many significant health risks that face travelers and migrants. GeoSentinel has several major objectives that include serving as an emerging infections sentinel network to conduct surveillance for emerging infectious diseases; rapidly sharing novel data on emerging infections with participating sites, internet information services, and public health authorities (e.g. World Health Organization, European CDC, Public Health Agency of Canada, US CDC); and analyzing, presenting, and publishing surveillance results collaboratively with CDC, GeoSentinel sites, and our two regional partners, CanTravNet and EuroTravNet.
Please Donate to the ISTM Foundation
We encourage contributions to the ISTM Foundation to help support these important efforts. You can donate through our secure online portal by clicking here or on the "Donate Now" button below. All contributions to the ISTM Foundation, as a 501(c)(3) organization are fully tax deductible under the United States law. Please check with your tax professional for details in your home country.
For more information please contact Diane Nickolson of the ISTM Secretariat. The Foundation greatly appreciates your support and thanks you for your commitment to developing tomorrow's leading healthcare professionals addressing travel medicine and global health.