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Before purchasing flights or making reservations, please follow the steps listed at the bottom of the page to apply for travel approval.

At least two weeks before departing, please submit the Pre-Departure Checklist through REDCap. If you have questions, please email Elizabeth Rose.

Travel approval process (updated April 28, 2022)

Approval for Vanderbilt medical students (including MD and other medical master and doctoral degrees such as public health and pharmacology) to travel internationally for course credit is now being considered. As the COVID-19 Pandemic is still dynamic, travel and approvals may be subject to review. Before planning travel or registering in a global health course or international activity with travel, please review the US State Department’s Travel Advisories. If you plan to travel to a country with a level 3 or 4 advisory, please follow the steps below, which should be initiated 30-90 days prior to intended travel. It may take 2-4 weeks for a travel approval decision to be made. Please do not purchase tickets or make reservations until final approval is received. Approval will remain contingent on the risk level of the countries you will be traveling in and through.

STEP 1: Dean or Program Director endorsement

VUSM students should submit this form to provide information about their academic activity and international travel. Your Dean or Program Director will review your application. If endorsed, your application will be sent to Dr. Martin at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH).

STEP 2: Dr. Martin endorsement

Dr. Martin will review your application. If endorsed, your application will be passed on to the Vanderbilt Travel Risk Assessment Committee (VTRAC). If not endorsed, you will receive additional information from Dr. Martin.

STEP 3: VTRAC review and endorsement

VTRAC will review your application. After review, your application will be sent to Dean Brady.

STEP 4: Dean Brady approval

Dean Brady will review your application and provide final approval. Once you have received approval, Dr. Martin and the VIGH education team (or your Program Director) will provide guidance on making flight reservations, which can be done through Concur or World Travel. If tickets are purchased through another system, please register your travel with Vanderbilt to be eligible for our free emergency evacuation service. When preparing for travel, students should use the Vanderbilt International Travel Safety and Security Checklist with COVID-19 Considerations.

Please note that Vanderbilt and VTRAC reserve the right to withdraw support for travel at any time if conditions shift in a dramatic way. 

Pre-Departure Modules

Engaging in global health experiences can be exciting but before leaving it is important to understand the cultural context in which you be working and the ethics that surround short-term medical “missions.” Many well-intentioned students have inadvertently caused harm to communities during their global health engagements and being able to recognize these issues will help you to avoid such problems and to have a productive global health experience.

Our Pre-Departure page includes modules that are designed to provide an introduction and orientation to fieldwork in global health. Many of them were initially created and compiled as part of a Vanderbilt University School of Medicine fourth-year immersion course called “Delivering Primary Care in Resource-Limited Settings” and have been key components of pre-departure curricula for many subsequent courses.

Travel Health Resources

Our Travel Health Resources page includes information about insurance, Vanderbilt health clinics, and other resources regarding pre-travel, travel, and post-travel health.

Safety Resources

Our Safety Resources page includes information about Vanderbilt’s travel safety requirements for students, U.S. government recommended travel safety resources, and how to find out/what to do if you’re travelling to a country on a restricted travel list. Be sure to review the Pandemic guidance for international travel webpage.

Country Specific Resources

Understanding the country and region in which you will be working and living is vital. On our Country Specific Resources page we have compiled information to help students begin learning about common countries where Vanderbilt students have been engaged in global health experiences.