International Educator - November/December 2016 - 38

SPECIAL SECTION

Health and Insurance

Foster a Culture of Support
Encouraging students to share applicable health histories
with relevant parties on campus requires an "it takes a village" approach. Decades of working with college students
inform us that commands and dictates rarely yield the desired result. Harsh language may lead students to conclude
that any information deemed "negative" could be used to
deny them access to the experience. Instead, softer, caring, and explanatory language may produce better results.
In fact, when students (and their parents) understand
that the intent of such requests is to develop strategies
and identify resources that will help them be successful
abroad, they are more likely to share information.
Second, anyone who might be in conversation with a
student contemplating an education abroad experience,
including academic advisers and campus health care providers, should be trained to respond supportively when
a health condition is voluntarily disclosed or discussed.
These individuals should know the basics of your institution's international medical insurance plan and the degree
to which predeparture planning is included, such as the
identification of practitioners abroad to provide ongoing care, including weekly counseling. Nonmedical staff
should know the limits of their expertise, no matter how
familiar they may be with the destination or the experience, and not provide medical advice. Instead, they should
be equipped to direct students to your campus's applicable
medical resources, in print, online, or in-person.
Third, heath care professionals agree that a student
with a chronic health condition or disability and her provider are in the best position to decide whether or not
she is ready to study abroad. Having a variety of education abroad program opportunities can improve access
for students with particular needs.

The Ideal Approach
Involves Medical Professionals
While some students proactively seek information on the
availability of medical resources abroad related to their
pre-existing conditions prior to application, most students
who have learned to routinely manage their health conditions fail to consider that changes in air quality, elevation,
diet, or climate as well as stress factors related to culture
and language can exacerbate symptoms or bring on new
ones. Incorporating some type of health "form" in the
predeparture preparatory process serves as a reminder to
these students that disclosing relevant health conditions
38  

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR N O V + D E C .16

can aid in the management of overseas care, but be sure
to include health care professionals in the document's development to ensure the language is consistent with how
your organization approaches health and wellness.
Organizations fortunate enough to have a health service with sufficient capacity to review such information
(or who have a contractual relationship with licensed
medical professionals to do the same) are in an ideal position to provide the best support to student travelers, so
long as those charged with reviewing student medical
histories are informed of the resources and challenges
posed by diverse destinations and experiences. However,
this process must also incorporate engagement with other
individuals on campus critical to care management, such
as counseling center therapists or counselors, education
abroad advisers, student affairs staff, disability services
staff, and international health andsafety specialists as well
as your international medical assistance provider.
To prevent allegations of discrimination, many organizations request health data postacceptance, but when
application deadlines get extended, this reduces the time
available for optimal planning. However, online applications can be constructed so that students can provide
the information all at once, but only authorized medical staff can view health-related data. Of course, this
requires careful collaborations with information technology professionals in your organization. Be mindful
that data security requirements for the management of
online health information or records may be higher than
for other types of organizational records.

Unburden the Health Care System
If your institution doesn't have medical professionals
who can review health disclosures, and you want to
avoid education abroad staff from practicing medicine
without a license, don't require all students to seek medical clearance or obtain a physical prior to their overseas
experience (assuming it is one that entails no special
health risks). The vast majority of college students are
healthy, so requiring all students to seek clearance for an
education abroad experience, particularly for short-term
programs in low health-risk locations with easy access to
high-quality medical care, burdens the health care system. It is costly, and particularly taxing on students who
have not needed to see a physician for years. Furthermore, most doctors, even those in campus-based clinics,
are unwilling to complete health assessment forms if the



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - November/December 2016

From the Editor
In Brief
Voices
Act Globally
Tradition and History
Health and Insurance
Education Abroad
International Enrollment
View From Out Here
In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover1
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover2
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 1
International Educator - November/December 2016 - From the Editor
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 3
International Educator - November/December 2016 - In Brief
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 5
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 6
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 7
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 8
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 9
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 10
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 11
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Voices
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 13
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 14
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 15
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Act Globally
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 17
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 18
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 19
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 20
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 21
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 22
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 23
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 24
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 25
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Tradition and History
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 27
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 28
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 29
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 30
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 31
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 32
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 33
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 34
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 35
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Health and Insurance
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 37
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 38
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 39
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 40
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 41
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Education Abroad
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 43
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 44
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 45
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 46
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 47
International Educator - November/December 2016 - International Enrollment
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 49
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 50
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 51
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 52
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 53
International Educator - November/December 2016 - View From Out Here
International Educator - November/December 2016 - 55
International Educator - November/December 2016 - In Focus
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover3
International Educator - November/December 2016 - Cover4
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