International Travel Registry assists Johns Hopkins affiliates traveling abroad

Each year, thousands of Johns Hopkins employees and students traverse the world on university-related business, from a conference in Bangladesh to a research mission in Panama.

While all travel requires planning, some trips demand an extra layer of preparation to mitigate inherent risks and arrange for every eventuality.

To better prepare and assist affiliates when they're going abroad—and at the same time, to help Johns Hopkins gather important data on its worldwide activities—the university created the Johns Hopkins International Travel Registry to offer an easy-to-use way for faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and students traveling internationally on university-related business to register their plans.

The system, in partnership with International SOS, was piloted last fall and went live this spring.

Registered travelers receive assistance with pre-travel preparations, including fast facts and notifications about the destination country, such as risks and prevention measures. After a person creates a travel profile, he or she can enter an itinerary for each subsequent trip, including length of stay, flights, accommodations, and in-country contacts.

The advisory packet, sent to the traveler via email, includes up-to-date information such as food and water risks (i.e., the potability of tap water), vaccinations required, the level of medical care available, known conflicts in the region, natural hazards, cultural issues, and other relevant items.

If the parameters of a trip change once in country, such as adding an unscheduled trip or extending the length of stay, the user can update the itinerary remotely by logging into the site.

In the event of a natural disaster, political unrest, or other emergency situation, the information provided allows Johns Hopkins crisis management staff to contact and support the person.

Pamela Cranston, vice provost for international programs at Johns Hopkins, says that registering gives the university a clearer sense of the number of personnel and students in a given country in the event of an issue that requires immediate attention. She gives as an example the political unrest in Cairo a few years ago, when protesters took to the streets as part of the Arab Spring.

"We had lots of people there at the time," Cranston says, "but it was difficult to find out just how many and where they were. This registry will help us identify where everyone is and provide up-to-date contact information in case we do need to reach out. We want to be able to quickly and effectively help people in case of emergency."

Cranston says she advises that everyone traveling abroad use the new system. The Office of Study Abroad at the Homewood campus already requires that students register before traveling, and several university departments and divisions are looking into the possibility of following suit for all their affiliates.

This is the first such universitywide travel registry system at Johns Hopkins.

All information provided is held securely at the university. No personal details will be shared with third parties.

There are two ways to create a travel account: Go to the "myJHU" portal home page, click on "myApps" on the left, and the JHITR icon will pop up; or go to http://web.jhu.edu/aroundtheworld/travel.html and click on "Registry."

Posted in University News

Tagged travel

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