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Health and Safety for Faculty and Resident Directors

The Office of International Affairs is committed to providing a safe, healthy and productive learning experience for every member of the Ohio State community pursuing an educational experience abroad, including faculty, staff and resident directors. Guidelines, resources and protocols for a safe and successful international experience have been developed to promote the well-being of every participant.

There are a number of considerations Ohio State faculty, staff and resident directors must make prior to accompanying students on international travel, whether on a program managed through the Office of International Affairs or an independent educational experience abroad.

  • Global Care for faculty and staff: Ohio State faculty, staff and dependents enrolled in a university medical plan are automatically enrolled in Global Care, which provides 24-hour health care referrals and emergency assistance when you travel outside of Ohio. For further information on Global Care, please call Benefits at 614-292-1050.
  • Supplemental travel insurance for faculty and staff: Ohio State's supplemental travel insurance is provided through GeoBlue. This supplemental insurance is required for all Ohio State faculty and staff accompanying students studying abroad, and includes a policy covering accident and sickness and for emergency assistance, evacuation and repatriation. Ohio State faculty and staff can enroll in supplemental travel insurance by filling out the Resident Director International Supplemental Insurance Form. This form must be submitted by the deadline provided by your study abroad coordinator.
  • Health and safety orientation for faculty and staff: Ohio State faculty and staff accompanying students to international locations are required to attend this one-hour orientation, offered several times each semester. Topics discussed in the orientation include medical and non-medical emergency preparedness and procedures, health, safety and security. For dates, times and location, please contact Jeannie Simmons.
  • Emergency contact form for faculty and staff leaders of independent groups: Faculty and staff leading Ohio State students to international locations on programming not managed through the Office of International Affairs are required to submit the Group International Travel Form to Dru Simmons, international risk manager, at least 90 days in advance of travel. 
  • 24/7 Emergency first responder and university security services: A senior member of the Office of International Affairs study abroad unit is always on-call as the emergency first responder for study abroad. This first responder is accessible 24/7 through University Security Services at 614-292-6677.
  • U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program: Ohio State faculty, staff and students who are U.S. citizens and are traveling to international locations are required to register their travel in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency. In accordance with the Privacy Act, information on your welfare and whereabouts may not be released without your express authorization.
  • Student health and safety: Faculty and staff accompanying Ohio State students to international locations and/or advising students intending to travel to international locations are required to refer these students to the Office of International Affairs at least one semester in advance of travel. This referral is required, as the Office of International Affairs implements a number of protocols to maintain the health and safety of all Ohio State students who study abroad, including requiring international supplemental insurance and travel registration with the U.S. Department of State; providing thorough health and safety pre-departure orientations; informing students of travel needs as relates to their health, such as receiving required immunizations and traveling with medications and supplying a detailed study abroad handbook.

OIA Health Information Forms

O-H-I-OPrior to departure, students will fill out an OIA Health Information Form. The purpose of the form is to give students an opportunity to provide information on any pre-existing health conditions and/or prescribed medicines. These forms are collected by your education abroad coordinator. If students indicate on the form they are managing a pre-existing health condition, they will be referenced to two specific resources:

  1. Student Health Services to schedule a Travel Consultation with the travel medicine providers at the Wilce Student Health Center – osu.edu/services/vaccinations/travel-consultation
  1. GeoBlue for consultation on health and medical resources abroad and to make potential arrangements for doctor’s appointments, prescriptions and access to medical equipment or testing

Based on their conversations with these medical resources, students may develop a plan for managing any current health conditions while abroad. The plan may include time to visit with health care professionals abroad, communicate with doctors here in the United States, obtain prescription medications or perform routine testing. On occasion, a student may ask your education abroad coordinator to arrange a meeting with you and the student to discuss how the student intends to manage his or her health while abroad. These meetings are to be treated confidentially. The Wilce Student Health Center, Counseling and Consultation Service, Office for Disability Services and/or GeoBlue will be consulted as appropriate. Unless they are acting in their capacity as a licensed medical professional, faculty and staff leading programs are advised never to offer medical advice to students on their programs.

Your education abroad coordinator will give you copies of the Health Information Form for your students. Please take the copies with you and keep them in a safe place. These forms are confidential and must be treated as such. The forms should be shredded upon completion of the program.

It is also your responsibility to inform your education abroad coordinator of any pre-existing chronic health conditions you have. Once enrolled in the GeoBlue insurance, you will also have access to the GeoBlue pre-departure services for managing your health abroad.

As resident director, it is your responsibility to be aware of any student health problems and/or concerns while in-country. Follow up immediately on any and all student illnesses. If a student does not show up for class and/or a required field trip, find out why and offer assistance. Assist the student in seeking appropriate medical assistance through GeoBlue or local resources.

Inform OIA of any student illnesses which require a visit to a health clinic and/or physician.

Supplemental Education Abroad Insurance

Buckeyes at John Lennon wall in PragueStudents and resident directors who participate in Office of International Affairs education abroad programs are automatically enrolled in a supplemental insurance plan through GeoBlue. In addition, students are required to maintain their primary insurance while participating on Office of International Affairs education abroad programs.

The supplemental insurance covers medical and non-medical emergencies, including political, security and natural disaster evacuation. GeoBlue is also available for referrals in non-emergency situations. Prior to care, if an enrollee (student, resident director, academic or departmental guest or accompanying individual) or the international risk manager contacts GeoBlue to arrange a guarantee of payment at an GeoBlue Partner Facility, the cost of an enrollee’s care will be paid directly by GeoBlue. There is no deductible amount per injury or sickness.

Prior to departure, you should be aware of the medical resources available through GeoBlue in their location(s). A search function by country is available at [link forthcoming]. If you need assistance identifying these, please contact the international risk manager or your education abroad coordinator for assistance. If no GeoBlue Network Providers or local providers are listed in a location, the nearest appropriate medical facilities should be identified.

If an enrollee (student, staff or accompanying individuals) receives medical care from an GeoBlue Network Provider without prearranging a guarantee of payment, or from a physician who is not an GeoBlue participating provider, he or she must pay out-of-pocket and then submit the receipts to GeoBlue for reimbursement. Resident directors should not use the cash advance to pay for medical expenses on behalf of a student. Ohio State has no mechanism for enforcing that students repay loans from faculty for medical expenses. In the event a medical emergency requires significant funds, contact the international risk manager who can verify the authorization to spend funds.

Finally, if you are aware of any students going abroad independently, (e.g., for research purposes), please inform them they are also required to enroll in HTH.

Health Insurance for Faculty and Staff Resident Directors

All resident directors, approved academic or leadership guests and approved accompanying individuals are required to enroll in the supplemental insurance plan through GeoBlue. This ensures in the event of an emergency (such as an evacuation), resident directors will have the same level of service and assistance as students and the group can respond as a cohesive unit. The cost of the insurance for resident directors and approved academic or leadership guests will be covered by the program budget. Approved accompanying individuals will be required to pay separately. Your education abroad coordinator will provide you with instructions for enrolling.

Graduate Teaching Assistant Resident Directors

You will be enrolled in OIA’s supplemental education abroad insurance through GeoBlue. This insurance is especially designed for overseas travelers and provides extra coverage beyond that available under the Ohio State employee health insurance. You will be covered by GeoBlue insurance for the duration of the education abroad program only. GeoBlue operates on the reimbursement basis.

All resident directors (faculty, staff and graduate teaching associates) must continue regular health insurance coverage (e.g., OSU Prime Care, OSU Student Health Insurance) while overseas.

Accompanying Individuals

As outlined in the Accompanying Individuals Policy, all approved individuals traveling with the program will need to manually enroll in the GeoBlue insurance.