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Current Health Conditions

We strongly encourage all travelers currently in treatment for chronic health conditions (such as anxiety, asthma, Crohn's disease, concussion, depression, diabetes, eating disorder, etc.), and especially those on prescription medications, to touch base with a member of the Global Health Team at GeoBlue (hereinafter “GeoBlue staff”) prior to departure to discuss managing their conditions abroad. This is particularly important if the traveler will be abroad for more than three weeks.

If you are currently on a prescribed medication, please review how to obtain sufficient quantities of your prescription medication.

Impact of location

Changes in air quality, elevation, diet, climate and geography/topography as well as stress factors related to culture and language can exacerbate symptoms of pre-existing health conditions.

Regular treatment or therapies 

Travelers who require regular medical care, including counseling, blood work, physical therapy, allergy shots, etc., can continue such treatment abroad, but the GeoBlue staff needs to know this in advance of departure to locate the most convenient and reputable clinic or provider.

Study abroad participants who are in treatment for a mental health condition may wish to review information developed by Northwestern's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on mental health abroad.

Medical management planning 

The GeoBlue staff will also strongly encourage student travelers to disclose their condition to a study abroad adviser (if applicable), faculty or staff advisor, program director, trip leader, and/or the Office of Global Safety and Security (OGSS), so all parties can collaborate on a medical contingency plan in case difficulties arise abroad.

Graduate students, faculty or staff may wish to work directly with GeoBlue's Global & Safety Health team. Such travelers are also welcome to collaborate with the OGSS.

Making contact with GeoBlue

When contacting GeoBlue by phone or email to discuss pre-departure planning, travelers should clarify that they are not currently abroad nor in current need of medical attention, but are instead seeking pre-departure advice. Travelers should also be prepared to provide:

  • Name
  • Institution (home college or university)
  • Destination city/cities and country/countries
  • Overview of the medical condition, its severity and current management plan 
  • Name (brand and generic, if known) and dosages of prescription medication(s)
  • GeoBlue certificate number, if coverage has already been ordered or purchased (this information is NOT required, just helpful if available)

To contact a member of the Global Health Team at GeoBlue, have this information ready and call (610) 254-8771 (available 24/7) or send an email to If calling, ask to speak to the Global Health Team directly and not Customer Service.  If  the traveler prefers to email, and is comfortable, also copy Beth Osterlund, Assistant Director of OGSS, on this message to ensure that GeoBlue responds in a timely and effective manner.