Travel Medicine

The CU on the Road Travel Medicine Program offers information and immunizations for international travel. CU on the Road, a 20-year program at Columbia University, has worked with students, faculty, and staff to prepare for vacation, work, or academic journeys abroad.

  • Students – this service is free for students who enrolled in Columbia Health. They may make an appointment online or calling Medical Services.
  • Faculty/staff – must call Medical Services directly to schedule an appointment. Fees may apply.

CU on the Road also provides assessments for spouses and registered partners of Columbia University students, staff, and faculty. For additional information about any associated costs with the program, including required and/or suggested immunizations, please see the Service Fees for Columbia Health.

For updated travel alerts and precautionary measures related to Zika virus, malaria, dengue, chikagungka, MERS or Ebola  please visit the Center for Disease Control travel information

Travel Assessments

Travel assessments are individualized, pre-travel appointments that identify health risks for a specific trip, including study abroad, by providing information about:
  • Infectious diseases
  • Immunizations
  • Food and beverage precautions
  • Emotional stress
  • Malaria prevention
  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) prevention
  • Altitude sickness
  • First aid/travel medicine supplies
  • Safe transportation
  • Necessary insurance information
During this one-hour appointment vaccination records will be reviewed, please bring all records to your visit, even those submitted to the University. In some cases, more than one visit may be necessary to complete certain immunization series for your destination.

You will be provided with the most up to date travel health information, which will include recommended and required immunizations for the country(ies) to which you will be traveling.

Prescriptions Malaria prophylaxis and self-treatment for Traveler’s Diarrhea prescriptions will be discussed and written during your assessment. Medication preventing altitude sickness may also be included when necessary.

If you will be traveling overseas for an extended period, you should plan in advance for your other prescription medication needs. Specifically, most insurance plans only allow for a 30-day supply of prescription medications. If your trip will have you out of the country for more than a month, plan ahead. Students insured under the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan should contact Aetna Student Health to request approval for a medication supply (often called “vacation override”) adequate to meet their travel needs. Students who carry other insurance plans should contact their own carrier for more information.

Your Appointment

The travel assessments are available by appointment only. We recommend that the initial assessment be set up as soon as the trip is contemplated and well in advance of the departure date. Some travel vaccinations may require six weeks to several months and multiple visits to complete the series. As a rule of thumb, please make an appointment at the same time you reserve your tickets for your trip.

CU on the Road also offers group appointments to several travelers traveling to the same destination for the travel education. This visit will be followed with less lengthy individual appointments to review the health history and administer vaccination.

Prior to Your Appointment

  • Please complete the online questionnaire via Open Communicator or respond to the email questionnaire, which will be sent to you once you make an appointment.
  • Collect as much information regarding your immunization history and bring it along to your appointment. Original documents are not necessary.

Cancelling or Rescheduling Your Appointments

  • Assessments through the CU on the Road Travel Medicine Program are in high demand. Please keep your appointment. As a courtesy to other travelers, please contact us immediately if you cannot make your scheduled appointment or cancel your appointment online using Open Communicator.
  • If you do not cancel your schedule appointment at least 48 hours in advance, you will not be able to schedule another appointment within the same semester. Medical Services staff will provide other travel programs in the New York area as an alternate reference. Please keep in mind that you will be responsible for all associated costs.

Health Insurance

Whether you are traveling out of state or out of the country, it is important to understand your health insurance policy. Many travelers may need to purchase additional insurance from companies specifically designed to meet these needs. Ask your insurance provider if medical evacuation is included.

If you are enrolled in the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan, your travel insurance benefits are provided by On Call International. If you have an insurance card and need more information, you may find their contact information on the back of the card.

Faculty and staff who are traveling out of the country should call the HR Benefits Service Center at (212) 851-7000.



How do I make a medical appointment?

Use our secure appointment portal, Open Communicator, to make an appointment online, or call us at (212) 854-7426.

Where is Medical Services located?

Columbia Health Medical Services is located on the 4th floor of John Jay Hall.

What should I do if I need to see a medical provider when I am away from Columbia?

When you are away from Columbia and unable to come to Medical Services for an evaluation, you should call or send a secure web message on Open Communicator directly to your PCP. That way we are aware of your problem and can prepare a referral for you if necessary.

If it is an urgent problem you can be seen in the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care center without a referral.

Last updated February 05, 2016