Safety and Health Guidelines



This website is intended to provide school personnel and students with information and links to other websites while they are planning trips and traveling outside the United States, for work or educational purposes. Consult this site for information about travel documents, health issues, money matters, insurance, cultural adjustment and university requirements related to international travel.


The following statements are found in University of Wisconsin System policy guidelines, and are affirmed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine:

” The University of Wisconsin System, consistent with its missions in teaching, research and service, is actively involved in the international dimensions of higher education….International education has become an integral and vital component of university life, and its importance will continue to expand.”  (Preamble to ACIS 7.1-4)

“The University of Wisconsin System supports off-campus international educational programs as a valid, desired, and increasingly important part of undergraduate and graduate education.” (ACIS 7.1)

“The institutions of the UW System recognize the value of faculty and academic staff developing global competence.  These institutions encourage and support activities abroad for professional development,     teaching, research and service to the host countries.”  (ACIS 7.2)

Faculty, staff and students at the School of Veterinary Medicine have been involved in programs to promote global animal and human health since the school’s inception.  Examples include presentations on swine medicine in Thailand, efforts to standardize diagnostic tests for contagious bovine pleuropneumonia in Africa, consulting on dairy health and milking technology in Brazil and Bangladesh, conducting a clinical investigation of widespread dairy lameness in Uruguay, and deployment with the Army Reserves in Bolivia to vaccinate and de-worm over 13,000 animals.  Veterinary medical students have traveled with students in other health professions to locations as varied as Ecuador and Uganda to study global health issues, and have participated in a school program fostering research in Costa Rica.  Students frequently pursue externship experiences outside the U.S.

For the international activities of students, faculty and staff of the School of Veterinary Medicine to be successful, safety and health issues must be addressed, and this website has been developed with this goal in mind.  Links to university guidelines and other important information have been consolidated in a single resource to facilitate planning by students and school personnel preparing to travel abroad for educational or work-related purposes. Also included is information about how to avoid introducing foreign animal diseases to the United States after returning from international travel.


For Ideas, the following are only some of the individuals at the school who can provide perspectives on the many opportunities for students, faculty and staff involving international activities:

Bruce M. Christensen, PhD
Nigel Cook, BVSC
Bernard Easterday, DVM, PhD
Tony Goldberg, DVM, PhD
Yoshihiro Kawaoka, BVSc, PhD
Harry Momont, DVM, PhD
Christopher Olsen, DVM, PhD
Jorge Osorio, DVM, PhD
Simon Peek, BVSC, PhD
Kurt Sladky, DVM
Gary A. Splitter, DVM, PhD

For Assistance with Administrative Matters:

  • Lynn Maki, Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs
    (608) 263-2525;
  • Kerry Ludke, Department Administrator, Comparative
    Biomedical Sciences
    (608) 263-5878; 
  • Elena Ungur, Department Administrator, Pathobiological
    (608) 263-5045;


People traveling abroad on school-related activities are expected to conduct themselves in ways that bring honor and respect to the institution.  This includes being culturally sensitive to the customs and traditions of the host country, and acting in accordance with the laws of the host country.   In addition to this general obligation, students and university personnel have specific responsibilities as detailed below.

DVM Degree Students

All students enrolled in the School’s professional degree program are subject to the SVM Academic Standards and Associated Procedures, appendices to them, and to applicable sections of University of Wisconsin System rules such as UWS 14, 17 and 18.

Students must address all issues detailed in the Veterinary Medical Student Checklist and shall have this checklist signed by the SVM Student Services Coordinator as far ahead of their planned travel as possible.

Graduate Students

All graduate students at the UW-Madison are subject to the rules of the university and of the UW Graduate School.  For Graduate School policies and procedures, see the following website:

Graduate students who will be involved in university-related international travel are encouraged for their own benefit to address all issues detailed in the Graduate Student Checklist.

Faculty and Staff

“Faculty and academic staff abroad are governed by the same policies that define faculty and academic staff rights and responsibilities on the home campus.” (UW System ACIS 7.2) These policies are found throughout the University of Wisconsin Madison website:  School faculty and staff are expected to report planned absences of one or more days. When international travel is involved, it is especially important that all travel information be provided to departmental or supervisors’ offices.


Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to learn as much as possible about travel warnings and health risks in the countries they intend to visit, and also about available health care services.  See your primary health care provider or a travel practitioner well in advance of a planned departure date to allow time to schedule needed vaccinations. Determine what medications to take and what will be available in the countries you will be visiting.  Some of the websites below contain information about travel warnings and health issues in specific countries.  See Section VI. below for information about health insurance coverage and medical evacuation insurance while abroad.


Health-Related Insurance

Consult your health insurance provider to learn what coverage you have while outside the United States.

Veterinary Medical Students and Graduate Students

Effective with the Fall Semester 2002, the Board of Regents has mandated that all University of Wisconsin students studying/traveling abroad for work or study related purposes, must enroll in health insurance through an insurance plan offered by Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI). The CISI brochure and claim form are available on-line or through the Office of Risk Management, 720 University Avenue. Consult the brochure for specific coverage details and cost.  Veterinary medical students shall register and pay for CISI insurance through the Office of Academic Affairs.  Graduate students shall purchase the coverage through the departmental office where they hold an appointment, or through the SVM Office of Academic Affairs.

See also:
for more information about CISI coverage.

Students who are also university employees should read the information below related to the EUROP ASSISTANCE program.


If you believe that your health insurance coverage will not adequately cover possible medical expenses while you are abroad, you may purchase additional health insurance under the Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) program. See for information.  Purchase this coverage directly through the campus Office of Risk Management.

Employees who are injured in the course of their employment may be eligible for Workers Compensation.  See and report work related injuries, regardless of where they occur, to the school personnel office as soon as possible.

See this site regarding the EUROP ASSISTANCE program, which is a travel insurance program providing medical emergency assistance for worldwide travel while on business. The
program specifically covers University employees, and student research
assistants (RA’s) whose trip expenses and/or foreign stay are authorized and at
the expense of the University. Family members are not covered. Students are
only covered when traveling as an employee and when expenses are authorized and
paid for by the University.

EUROP ASSISTANCE is NOT a health insurance program. Rather, it is designed to ensure the availability of competent health care as promptly as possible in situations where health care may not be available or is not up to US standards. Coverage includes:

  • 24 hour/ 7 day a week, collect call (outside of the US)
    emergency assistance services
  • medical evacuation and repatriation coverage

Liability Insurance (Including professional liability or malpractice insurance)

Employees and Students

The State’s liability protection is afforded under Wisconsin Statute 895.46 (1) and extends to all employees in the course and scope of their duties. It also extends to agents or volunteers, including students completing required clinical experiences, for which they are registered for academic credit at the time. (Students engaged in volunteer experiences are not covered.)  The State’s Self-funded Liability Program provides coverage against claims made as the result of the negligent acts of University officers, employees and agents. Negligence may be defined as the failure to act as a reasonable person would have under the same or similar circumstances. In order for a claim to exist, the negligence must have caused property damage or injury to a person.

If a school employee or student is involved in an activity that may give rise to a liability claim, contact Lynn Maki, Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs at (608) 263 2525, or the UW Campus Office of Risk Management at (608) 265-9475 as soon as possible.


If you need to obtain or renew a passport, consult this website for procedures and forms

To learn whether you need a visa to visit a particular country, consult this site

If you are an international employee or student in the US on a visa, consult the appropriate office to be sure that your US documents are in order and that you will not have difficulties re-entering the US: for employees on H 1B or J visas and students for students on F or J visas.


Money Matters

See the section on money (traveler’s checks, cash, debit cards) found in the UW Madison’s IAP General Information Handbook, which is designed for students involved in the university’s study abroad program: such as may be helpful for converting currency.

Communication- Staying in Touch While Abroad 

It is recommended that travelers register with the US Consulate in countries they visit, especially in developing countries or those experiencing unrest.  Embassy and consulate addresses are available at

See this website for descriptions of options such as cell phones, calling cards, e-mail, FAX, and satellite phones in various countries:


See the section on Cultural Adjustment found in the UW-Madison’s IAP General Information Handbook, which is designed for students involved in the university’s study abroad program:
covers topics such as preparing for another culture, culture shock, disabilities, gender issues, race and ethnicity, and sexual identity.



Professional degree and graduate students are required to complete the school’s Emergency Contact Information Form and should make a copy to carry with them.  Also leave copies with friends or relatives, thus creating a network of people who can communicate in the event of any emergency, either in the US or abroad.  This form also contains the following contact information about school officials.             

Emergency Contact Information for Personnel at UW-Madison
School of Veterinary Medicine:

(For DVM Students)

Lynn Maki, Associate Dean for Student Academic Affairs
Office Phone:  (608) 263-2525

Cassie Wickersham, Student Service Coordinator

(For Graduate Students)

Dr. Dale Bjorling, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate
Office Phone:  (608) 263-4808

Susan Thideman, Graduate Program Coordinator
Office Phone:  (608) 262-0470

UW-Madison Police (24 hours/day)
(608) 264-2677


Veterinary medical students participating in an
international study experience for school credit must sign a release form


There is always a concern about introducing disease into an animal facility and the concern increases when people who have recently returned from international travel will be entering an animal facility.   See this website, created by the US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA – APHIS), to warn travelers of the risk of spreading disease among animals.

Faculty, staff and students may not enter research animal facilities at the School of Veterinary Medicine or the VMTH for 7 days after their last contact with livestock (including horses), or presence on a farm or pasture, or in a zoo or slaughterhouse, in any country outside the United States or Canada. This restriction is extended to 10 days for countries known to be experiencing a foreign animal disease outbreak at the time of an SVM faculty/staff/student visit.


Veterinary Medical Students must complete the Veterinary Medical Students Checklist for Preparing to Study Abroad and submit it to the Office of Academic Affairs.

Graduate students must complete the SVM Graduate Students Checklist for Preparing to Study or Work Abroad and submit it to the Graduate Student Office in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences.

Faculty and staff are expected to complete a Planned Absence or Travel Report to notify their departmental or supervisors’ office of planned absences, whether the absence involves international travel or not.