Catherine Ebelke, PA-C, CTH
Catherine has a very special passion for and belief in the profound importance of International Education. In fact, she owes her very existence to the field! Her father, a German professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, directed the Junior Year in Munich and Freiburg program for many years. It was through JYM he met his German wife….and Catherine’s future mother! They ran the program for many years until their passing. Catherine participated as an honorary member of the Junior Year Abroad student group at age 6 when they sailed for 8 days across the pond (cheaper than flying at the time) on the Rotterdam with 200 college students from around the US! She then studied in Freiburg as a Junior from the University of Michigan for one of the best years of her life. So – the love of International Education and Study Abroad is truly in her blood! It has been the passion of her professional life and it is a very special honor to be part of this NAFSA panel!
Catherine holds a BS in botany and German from the University of Michigan and graduated from Yale Medical School’s Physician Associate Program in 1986. She has held a Certificate in Travel Health (CTH) since 2010. She has been actively involved in travel medicine for almost 25 years. She was the health care provider for the Maya Mountains Archeological Project, a National Geographic expedition in Belize, and then had the honor of joining the staff at the renowned CIWEC Clinic in Kathmandu Nepal for an incredibly rewarding couple of years practicing as a PA as well as working on health education and community projects with local Nepalis.
Catherine has been the coordinator and primary clinician of the International Travel Health Clinic at Montana State University Student Health Service for over 20 years, working closely with the Office of International Programs as well as students, faculty, and staff across the university and wider community.
Catherine was a founding member and is the current chair of the Travel Health Coalition of the American College Health Association and founding member of the Student Travel Abroad Interest Group of the International Society of Travel Medicine. She has been actively involved with the development and execution of new collaborative research with ISTM and the CDC into morbidity and mortality for U.S. students who travel internationally; this research has been paused due to the COVID pandemic but will resume in the future. She is an original and continuing member of the ACHA COVID-19 Task Force, which is currently writing its 4th edition of COVID Guidelines for US IHEs. She was honored to participate in the recent collaborative effort of NAFSA and Forum on Education Abroad to review and update Responsible Study Abroad: Good Practices for Health and Safety.