February 17, 2010 Contact: Matt Splett
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (573) 882-5663
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Many people plan international trips months in advance, but as in the case of local disaster relief workers headed to Haiti to aid earthquake victims — the call to action may come at a moment’s notice.
No matter the timing, Travel Connections provides comprehensive travel education and vaccinations to ensure travelers illness-free and safe trips abroad. Travel Connections is a clinical service of University of Missouri Health Care for international travelers. The clinic recently relocated to the University Physicians – Fairview Clinic at 101 S. Fairview Road in Columbia.
Lynn Keplinger, M.D., a general internal medicine physician at University of Missouri Health Care, and Debbie Kaplan, R.N., respectively serve as medical director and nurse clinician of the travel clinic. Kaplan alone has 25 years of experience in travel medicine.
Patients at Travel Connections receive one-on-one consultations on travel health with advice on recommended vaccines. Specific infectious disease risks are reviewed, along with other potential health and safety risks. The Travel Connections team will review paperwork requirements and prescription needs for disease prevention and food and water safety. An on-site pharmacy can fill prescriptions quickly.
In the event that traveling abroad results in an illness, Travel Connections staff can treat a patient or refer the patient to an internist. Infectious disease physicians are available for consultations with a simple phone call or a referral.
“We provide both pre-travel and post-travel consultation,” said Kaplan. “We look at a patient’s itinerary and look at the health risks and personal safety risks associated with the trip. If patients have underlying medical conditions, we teach them how to manage their diseases while they are traveling.”
Although Kaplan recommends international travelers visit Travel Connections several months before their trips, she understands this is not always possible — especially in the case of disaster relief workers heading to Haiti.
In the days and weeks following the earthquake, Kaplan consulted with patients at a moment’s notice. She says many relief workers had less than 48 hours to prepare for their trips. Many Haitian relief workers sought recommended vaccines for Hepatitis A and typhoid, as well as malaria prevention medicines. In addition, Kaplan advised relief workers about other potential health hazards in Haiti.
“Dust from fallen buildings is causing trouble for people with respiratory conditions, and displaced snakes are being found in areas where they are not normally prevalent,” said Kaplan. “While relief workers are focused on helping those Haitians in need, these types of health issues may not have been forefront in their minds.”
Travel Connections serves all sorts of international travelers including medical missionaries, faculty and students studying abroad, business travelers and vacationers.
Travel Connections is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call (573) 882-4590.
University of Missouri Health Care’s network of hospitals, clinics and telehealth sites reaches across the state of Missouri. Each year more than 20,000 patients are cared for in its hospitals and more than 500,000 patients are treated in its clinics. University Hospital and Clinics, Children’s Hospital, Columbia Regional Hospital and Ellis Fischel Cancer Center are based in Columbia, Mo. University Hospital offers the area’s only Level I Trauma Center and burn intensive care unit. Children’s Hospital is mid-Missouri’s only comprehensive pediatric facility with more than 30 specialties. CRH provides the area’s most comprehensive medical team for women’s health and houses the Family Birth center and Level III neonatal intensive care unit. Dedicated solely to cancer, Ellis Fischel is the state’s designated cancer center and offers the region’s most comprehensive screening program. The health system also includes a long-term acute care facility, Missouri Rehabilitation Center, in Mount Vernon, Mo.
Debbie Kaplan, R.N. nurse clinician at Travel Connections
|Travel Connections move to Fairview Clinic
|Services provided at Travel Connections
|Types of travelers that Travel Connections serves