Our mission is to encourage, support, and facilitate safe, healthy, and secure international travel for the entire Cornell community.
International Travel Health and Safety
Cornell’s commitment to international travel as an integral part of the interconnected educational and life experience of its community is inseparable from its commitment to the health and safety of all who pursue opportunities abroad. Cornell stands as a leader in recognizing its duty of care for the traveling population and has, for many years, dedicated staff and resources to mitigate foreseeable risks, respond quickly when needed, and promote resiliency.
Today, International Travel Health and Safety (ITHS) oversight is positioned to comprehensively serve the Cornell community through its placement in the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs. An Associate Director of International Travel Health and Safety coordinates with colleagues across campus, at institutional partners throughout the U.S., and agencies around the world to ensure proactive measures and stand fast readiness are there for our traveler’s support.
Some of the many ways Cornell supports its international travelers:
- Dedicated Support Personnel in Ithaca: Cornell has not only invested in resources and systems to help keep travelers safe but also in a team of staff dedicated to international travel risk management. The Associate Director of International Travel Health and Safety works with a network of colleagues at Cornell to monitor world events 24/7, maintains a travel registry to know where our travelers are, and coordinates the institution’s response to a crisis. Travelers can reach the ITHS team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 24/7 Travel Assistance: Cornell partners with International SOS (ISOS), the world’s leading medical and travel security services company. When you travel internationally on Cornell business, you have a 24/7 resource on-call, online, and via a mobile app to help with any medical, security, and logistical questions, concerns, and situations that may arise. If you need a medical referral, seek pre-travel advice, or experience a medical or security crisis, Cornell has a fully integrated program in place, through which you receive the care and expertise that you need, whenever and wherever you need it. Travelers can reach ISOS by calling 1-215-942-8478 or using the mobile app.
- Free International Travel Medical Insurance: All registered travelers on Cornell-related international travel are fully covered—at no cost to the traveler—under an accident, sickness, and emergency care insurance plan that works in tandem with our 24/7 travel assistance.
- Emotional Support: As part of our partnership with ISOS, Cornell travelers have access to mental health professionals 24/7 for short-term counseling services and psychological support via phone or teleconferencing. For those who choose to take advantage of this resource, five free sessions per incident, per year are available by calling 1-215-942-8478.
- Crisis Management Plans and Protocols: Cornell maintains a comprehensive International Incident Response Plan (IIRP). This plan is designed to guide responsible stakeholders at the institution with protocols and procedures for responding to a situation abroad that affects our travelers. Included in the IIRP are decision flow charts, roles and responsibilities, communication templates, and escalation triggers.
- Monitoring of World Events: Members of the ITHS team receive real-time safety and security alerts for all our travelers’ locations worldwide. These alerts or notifications come from two primary intelligence sources (International SOS and Riskline) and are also supplemented by the U.S. Department of State and a network of travel risk managers from 80+ higher education institutions.
- On-going Communications: Registered travelers receive auto-email alerts and advisories specific to their itinerary if an incident may negatively affect their travel plans or their health and safety. In addition to these messages sent from Riskline, travelers can also self-register for destination-specific email alerts from International SOS via Cornell’s online portal.
- Travel Registry: All students, staff, and faculty traveling with students are required to have their travel plans documented in Cornell’s international travel registry. This secure system provides a single source of crucial information to the International Travel Health and Safety Team, which will help locate and contact our travelers should there be an emergency abroad.
- Travel Tracker: Once registered, the itineraries and contact information of all travelers are shared with Cornell’s Travel Tracking system. This tool provides Cornell’s travel risk managers a comprehensive map-view of all Cornell travelers, the ability to select a subset of those travelers using geo-filters, and options to communicate directly with anyone abroad via text or email. This system also links directly to the "check-in" feature of the International SOS app (available for free to all Cornell travelers).
- Elevated-Risk Travel Review: Students and faculty/staff traveling with students to elevated-risk destinations are required to submit a thorough description of their travel plans, understanding of the specific risks, and how they intend to mitigate those risks. The International Travel Advisory and Response Team (ITART) then review these petitions for travel approval to ensure the travelers are prepared for the proposed undertaking and work with them to put health, safety, and security resources and plans in place.
- Pre-departure Orientations: Cornell offers two short, online, and free orientations designed for students and Off-Campus Activity Leaders who are planning to travel internationally for academic business. These orientations provide baseline information and preparation to help travelers responsibly manage their own health, safety, and security while abroad.
- Travel Services at Cornell Health: Travel Services provides pre-travel consultations, immunizations, and health information for members of the Cornell community. During an appointment, medical professionals can assess a traveler’s immunization and health care needs based on their itinerary and health history and provide relevant prevention and treatment information.
- Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT): Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of death abroad. While students are prohibited from driving motor vehicles during Cornell travel, informing oneself about the road conditions and traffic culture in a given destination is a wise thing to do. The International Travel Health and Safety Team can provide travelers with ASIRT Road Safety Reports on request.
- Care and Crisis Services: Sometimes, an incident abroad has a lasting effect that carries over after a return to campus or may impact those who never left Ithaca. Care and Crisis Services provides on-call staff 24/7 to work with students in crisis by supporting and guiding students and providing a helping hand when needed.
- Export Controls: When traveling abroad, University personnel need to be mindful of export control laws and regulations to avoid civil and criminal penalties or import restrictions in certain countries such as China, Israel, and Russia. Cornell’s Export Controls Officer can help you safely navigate such regulations.
- International Travel Health and Safety Forum: The ITHS Forum is a network of over 70 Cornell employees with responsibilities involving the international travel of our community. The group meets twice a semester and is in regular contact regarding resource updates, current events, and travel crisis management policy and procedures. Participants are also responsible for the dissemination of critical information to their respective units. To join, please email email@example.com
- International Travel Advisory and Response Team (ITART): A group of senior-level administrators, known as ITART, meets regularly to discuss travel policies, ongoing situations abroad, and are on stand-by to convene and respond in the event of an emergency affecting the Cornell community abroad.
While Cornell is functioning remotely:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Chris Cook, Associate Director of International Travel Health and Safety: email@example.com
Call ISOS 24/7 at 1-215-942-8478 and reference membership #11BSCA827281 for help with any type of problem regardless of the severity. For example, medical referrals, security intelligence, travel advice, lost document assistance, pre-travel information, legal referrals, and emergency evacuation.
ITHS has developed a protocol with ISOS that guides the Assistance Center to accept calls involving international emergencies, collect specific information, and pass it along to ITHS, who will then respond as appropriate and requested.
For further guidance:
Refer to this flow-chart: Who to Call When.