Stanford's International Travel Assistance Program offers peace of mind 24/7

Stanford offers medical, personal, travel and security assistance services for faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students – and their families – who are traveling abroad on Stanford research or business and/or participating in university programs.

Photos by L.A. Cicero Dr. Patrick Hunt leads students on his Alpine Archaeology Expedition in 2009.

Dr. Patrick Hunt leads students on his Alpine Archaeology Expedition in 2009.

When preparing to travel abroad, it's good to remember the gentle – and rhyming – cautionary words of the beloved Dr. Seuss in Oh, the Places You'll Go!

I'm sorry to say so,

but, sadly, it's true

that Bang-ups

and Hang-ups can happen to you.

When "bang-ups" or "hang-ups" happen to Stanford faculty, students, staff or postdoctoral scholars who are working or studying abroad, they have access 24/7 to services provided by the university's International Travel Assistance Program.

Under the program, Stanford's international travelers – and their spouses, domestic partners and dependents – have immediate access to online tools and travel alerts; medical assistance, medical evacuations and travel assistance; and security assistance in the event of a natural or political disaster.

Stanford has established relationships with three companies to provide services.

Different vendors provide various services, depending on one's role at Stanford:

Students working in the Clapier Pass in France.

Students working in the Clapier Pass in France.

  • International SOS provides online tools and travel alerts, as well as security assistance, to all faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars and students. It provides medical assistance, medical evacuations and travel assistance to faculty and staff, and to students not covered by Cardinal Care, the university's health insurance program for students;
  • On Call International provides medical assistance, medical evacuations and travel assistance to students enrolled in Cardinal Care;
  • MEDEX Global Solutions provides medical assistance, medical evacuations and travel assistance to all postdoctoral scholars.

Prudence L. Carter, associate professor of education at Stanford, tucked an International SOS card in her wallet and brought it with her to South Africa, where she is teaching two classes this quarter at the Cape Town Program, which is part of Stanford's Bing Overseas Studies Program. Carter, reached by email, said an administrator at the School of Education handed her the card before her departure.

"Knowing you have access to information, medical referrals and emergency medical assistance provides peace of mind during your foreign travel," said Tina Dobleman, assistant vice president for risk management at Stanford. "This is one travel assistance service you do not want to leave home without."

International SOS also offers online tools and information services that are available to all members of the Stanford community – including vacation travelers.

By logging in to Stanford's International SOS website for tools, using a SUNet ID, members of the Stanford community can input travel plans and contact information, and store vital personal health, medical history and vaccination information for easy access in case of an emergency. The website also offers a range of information services, including country-specific information on disease prevention, hospital locations, translation services and referrals to English-speaking doctors, as well as medical and security travel alerts.