Month: March 2011

CHIP Travel & Safety Information

The information below is offered to CHIP-affiliated faculty, staff and graduate students to assist them in their foreign and domestic traveling when performing research related work associated with CHIP.

UConn Travel Approval


  • As soon as possible and at least 4-6 weeks prior to travel, consult with your personal physician, the UConn Travel Clinic, or Student Health Services (for graduate students) to obtain necessary immunization, prophylaxis and prevention information specific to the country you will be visiting.  Vaccines and prophylaxis medication, such as anti-malaria drugs, need to be administered within recommended timelines before arrival in various countries in order for you to receive the optimum benefit of the vaccination and/or medication.  The CDC travel guides online, at are an additional source of information on this topic.
  • Ask your health care provider about the following topics before traveling
    • Up-to-date recommendations concerning the prevention of malaria, diarrheal disease and other travel-related illnesses.
    • Individualized immunizations.
    • Printouts for each country of destination containing health and safety information.
    • Advice regarding the care of chronic medical problems.
    • Travel health insurance information (also see below).
    • Specialized health care and consultation for travelers returning with health problems.
    • Permanent medical records.
    • Official Yellow Fever Vaccination Center
      • Closest Center: Connecticut Travel Medicine: 34 Professional Park Rd, Storrs, CT 06268. Telephone: 860-487-0002
    • Some countries require travelers to present yellow World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination records or other proof of inoculation at customs therefore, please make sure to bring you vaccination card with you.
  • Health Care Providers offered through the University
    • UConn Travel Clinic
    • University of Connecticut Health Center – Services
    • Student Health Services
    • Only offered for current UConn Students
    • OR 860-486-9494 for more information.
    • Tuberculosis Screening Recommendations:
      • If exposure to TB is a possibility, you should get a PPD in advance of your travel and again after you return.
      • For those who travel to South Africa frequently: Screening is recommended 3 months after each trip.
      • For those who travel to South Africa once per year or less:  Screening is recommended before each trip and 3 months upon return to the US/Canada.
      • If possible, TB testing should be done through UConn Health Services so it is kept in your employee record.
      • Baseline HIV testing is strongly recommended as anyone who is HIV+ should avoid exposure to TB.
      • Compliance to TB requirements must be proven prior to booking airline reservations.
      • HIV
        • People who will be doing research work in remote areas of HIV-endemic parts of the world, should have post-exposure prophylactic medication (PEP kit).  Check with your Program Manager as there may already be kits at the research site.  Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is a course of antiretroviral drugs which is hoped to reduce the risk of contracting HIV after exposure to potentially infected blood or body fluids.  Treatment should begin as soon as possible up to 72 hours after exposure.  For more information, go to:
        • Check with your Program Director regarding site specific access to a PEP kit.

    • Malaria
      • While in a malaria risk area, avoid mosquito bites, use insect repellent with DEET or Picaridin (both endorsed by the CDC) as an anti-malarial agent.
      • Wear long sleeved clothing in mosquito territory; there are products online that advertise themselves as “mosquito repellent clothing”.
      • Invest in a mosquito net for your bed, best way to prevent malaria, by avoiding direct contact while sleeping.
      • Check with your healthcare provider for recommended antimalarial drugs pertaining to the specific travel area.
      • To assess your risk for malaria in the area you are traveling to visit

    Preventative Measures

    • N95 Respirators (Masks):
      • Please check with your Program Director for project specific requirements.
      • N95 respirators meet CDC guidelines for protection against TB.  Those who may be exposed to TB should be trained and fitted for a N95 respirator by the Department of Environmental Health and Safety.  Please contact Valerie Brangan at 860.486.2982.  Check with your Program Director as a supply of respirators may already be available for use at the research site.
      • The Department of Environmental Health and Safety requires a medical evaluation for individuals who wear respirators every 3 years.  Medical evaluations should be arranged with UConn Student Health Services by contacting Student Health Services by contacting Priscilla Kessler at 860-486-0741.
      • The complete Respirator Policy is available online at


    Travel Emergency Assistance Providers

    • Medical and health insurance coverage is available for UConn faculty, staff, administrators, and graduate students who travel abroad on official University business.
    • The insurance program is through HTH Business Worldwide and it provides medical travel insurance with coverage of a variety of medical and health needs, from obtaining medications while traveling to emergency medical evacuation to the United States.
    • When you submit the University Travel Approval Form, available on line, and you indicate international travel, you will automatically receive the insurance coverage at no cost to you.  This will be funded centrally within the University.
    • For more information on HTH Business Worldwide visit

    Government Registry

    • Americans  traveling abroad are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website at .  This website also offers valuable information such as travel alerts, warnings and country-specific travel information.  By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

    Passport Information

    • Confirm passport requirements prior to travel.  If one is required for your travel, ensure that your passport is valid and that you have several blank pages available.   Check for up-to-date passport information.

    International Driver’s License

    • When traveling overseas, you should plan on carrying an International Driving Permit even if you’re not planning to drive. Should you need to communicate with foreign authorities, this recognizable form of identification may be beneficial. Go to for more information.

    Currency and Foreign Exchange Rates

    • OANDA Currency Exchanger provides currency and foreign exchange rates to travelers.  The FXConverter found on the website provides travelers with the capability to convert currencies as of any past date

    Itinerary Information

    • Please provide your Project Manager & Susan Hoge with the following information before traveling:
      • Itinerary: Specific Dates & Activities
      • Flight/Hotel/Car Information
        • This includes contact information throughout your stay
        • Copy of International Driving Permit
        • Copy of your current Passport
        • Travel Insurance Card Copy
        • Emergency Contact Form
          • Include who we can contact for you in case of an emergency. See Susan for form.

    Project/Team Contact Information

    • Establish contact expectations and guidelines within your project team.  Each traveling team member should make contact via e-mail or telephone once every 24 hours.
    • The project team will create and accurately maintain the project’s shared travel/safety computer site with the following:  Employee’s emergency contact information, travel dates and locations, HTH Business Worldwide information, vaccination, TB  and medication status, local contact information (police, fire, hospital etc) etc.

    Cultural Sensitivity Training

    Tips for Travelers

    • Take along a first-aid kit including an extra supply of medications you take regularly.
    • Carry an extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses in case yours are lost or broken.
    • Be aware of the effects that jet lag, altitude, climate, food or water may have on any chronic illness.
    • To help prevent diarrhea during travel to developing countries, avoid salads, fruits you cannot peel yourself and poorly cooked meats and seafood. Also, avoid untreated water or ice.
    • If you become ill after returning home, remember to inform your physician of your travel history.


    Final Health and Safety Pre-Departure Checklist

    • Receive all required and recommended vaccinations and prophylaxis medications.
    • Obtain a current, updated vaccination card.
    • Confirm TB PPD screening if necessary (and upon your return).
    • Obtain post-exposure prophylactic medication (PEP kit) if necessary.
    • Receive training and get fitted for a N95 respirator if applicable.
    • Print out your HTH Business Worldwide Insurance information.
    • Check your health insurance plan on policy coverage specific to your travel.
    • Confirm and comply with passport requirements at
    • Check the US Department of State website for any travel warnings specific to your intended destination.
    • Register with the US consulate in your host country at
    • Check the CDC website for any health alerts specific to your destination.
    • Complete and deliver itinerary information and your Project Manager and Susan Hoge.

    Important Items

    It is important to keep these items on you at all times. In case of an emergency, you may need to identify yourself with the local authorities.

    • Personal Identification
    • Passport/Visa
    • Vaccination Card
    • International Driver’s License
    • Cell phone/cell phone charger/universal adapter

    Items to Think About

    Consult with your Doctor and Program Manager as to what other items would be useful to have on hand.  Below are some items that could be expensive and/or difficult to acquire in-country:

    • Aspirin/Pain Reliever
    • Tums
    • Any prescribed medications
    • Sleep aids
    • Sunscreen
    • Mosquito repellent, spray, or cream
    • Mosquito netting (if malaria is a concerned risk)
    • Antibiotic ointment
    • Anti-itch cream
    • Hand-sanitizing gel/cloths
    • Feminine Protection Products
    • Extra supply of contact lenses or prescription glasses
    • Contact lens solution/eye drops
    • Small First Aid Kit
    • Flashlight and batteries

    Personal Safety Basics

    • Do not walk around with valuable items such as jewelry, cameras, PDAs, etc. visible.
    • Avoid public transport if there is an increased risk in doing so.  Instead take licensed taxis.
    • Limit driving at night alone and be cautious of your surroundings.  Roads may not be well-lit and there are often pedestrians on the roads, even into the late evening.
    • If you are in an unfamiliar or unsafe area, do not walk alone at night.
    • Do not carry large amounts of cash on your person, and do not display your wallet.
    • Be aware of your surroundings at ATM machines – make sure the area is a well-lit, public area.  If there is someone loitering who tells you the ATM is not working, but s/he can help you, leave the area immediately.
    • Be cautious with your credit card – ideally, you should watch the cashier swipe the card to ensure that a copy is not taken, and additional amounts have not been charged.  Sign up for monitoring with your credit card company so that any spurious charges can be reported immediately.
    • Always keep a cell phone on you and fully charged in case of emergency.
    • Consider carrying mace or pepper spray on your person, to thwart an attack.

CHIP PI Measuring Yoga’s Effectiveness

Crystal Park, a professor of psychology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who is affiliated with UConn’s Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), is leading a national team of researchers in developing a standardized assessment tool that can be used to measure and compare different yoga therapies.

More than 15 million people are believed to be practicing yoga in America today, and a great many of them are doing so with the encouragement of a doctor or therapist to improve their overall health.
As interest in yoga continues to expand, scientists are beginning to refine their methods for accurately gauging the health benefits of the millennia-old practice.

Read more…

CHIP PI Receives Prestigious National Award

Linda Pescatello, a Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) Principal Investigator and a professor of kinesiology in the Neag School of Education, is being awarded the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)’s 2011 Citation Award.

The Citation Award is the ACSM’s second-highest honor.

Linda Pescatello
Linda Pescatello

The ACSM is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world, with a stated mission of promoting and integrating scientific research, education, and practical applications of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life.

Pescatello will receive the award at the ACSM’s Annual Meeting in Denver on June 3rd in recognition of her overall contributions to exercise science and her numerous years of service to the ACSM through various committees and board positions.

“Professor Pescatello exemplifies the cross-cutting expertise of an ACSM leader in making significant contributions to research and scholarship, clinical care and education, particularly related to the areas of hypertension and exercise genomics,” ACSM Immediate Past President Mindy Millard-Stafford wrote in her introduction of Pescatello for the ACSM awards ceremony.

Pescatello was nominated for the award by her ACSM colleagues, including Millard-Stafford and another ACSM past president who together noted her “great leadership to help formalize an evidence-based process” for ACSM position stands.

The ACSM publishes position stands when enough research has been completed to support a position on scientific grounds. According to its web site, its pronouncements, including position stands, “are advisory only, but they carry considerable weight in the development of policy by rulemaking committees, and of standards set forth by professional organizations and governmental bodies.”

Janice Thompson, a professor of public health nutrition at the University of Bristol and a past chair of the ACSM’S Pronouncements Committee, which manages all aspects of the ACSM’s position stand development, noted Pescatello’s “dedication, strong work ethic, impressive organizational and leadership skills, and high scientific standards” in her letter of support for Pescatello’s nomination for the Citation Award.

“Her research is amongst the best in the world, and I have been able to incorporate many of her findings into my nutrition-related research and teaching programs. She has also been directly responsible for putting into place important, substantial changes in the policies and procedures of ACSM’s Pronouncements Committee, and her contributions have directly resulted in the publication of the highest quality position stands,” Thompson wrote. “I consider her not only a peer, but a role model in many ways…. She maintains a cool head when others are not able to do so, and her steadfast, fair, and consistent behaviors are truly invaluable in all areas of academe.”

Pescatello began her career as a high school biology and chemistry teacher and a track and basketball coach. After earning her Ph.D. in Exercise Science at UConn, she worked for 15 years at New Britain General Hospital, first as manager of the hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program and then director of its Department of Health Promotion. Pescatello joined the UConn faculty in 1998.

A prolific researcher, Pescatello serves, or has served, as principal or co-investigator on a number of federal grant awards totaling more than $16 million – including six active grants. She also currently has two active internal UConn grants and five additional grant applications (including internal UConn, ACSM and federal awards) submitted and pending.

Pescatello has published more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and she has a new book, Exercise Genomics, being published by Humana Press this month.

Through federal grants, Pescatello and colleagues currently are studying statins’ effects on muscle function, exercise as an intervention for hazardous drinking college students, non-treatment seeking adults with alcohol disorders and cocaine abusers, and the use of prize incentives to promote physical activity for HIV substance abusers and to promote weight loss in college students.

Her active internal grants are focused on comparing the immediate after-effects of aerobic and ischemic handgrip exercises on blood pressure and vascular function.

Among Pescatello’s contributions to ACSM, she has served as vice president, chair of its pronouncements committee, and associate editor and now senior editor of the ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. She also was responsible for the organization’s first evidence-based position stand, which addressed hypertension, and now is working to create a database to further the ACSM’s goal of making all of its position stands and guidelines evidence-based.

Finally, the colleagues who nominated Pescatello for the Citation Award noted her excellent mentoring skills, witnessed in action with her students who routinely accompany and present with her at ACSM annual meetings, and the public service she has performed for the exercise science profession by translating her work for the public by publishing numerous educational articles geared to fitness instructors.