Personal health encompasses physical, emotional, social, and spiritual well-being. High quality health care requires a commitment to the total person, one that seeks to understand the lives of people, not only the symptoms they present for treatment. "Health" describes a harmonious balance and an evolving process, not a fixed event. The field of cross-cultural health care is relatively new, and nowhere is it more challenging today than in international educational exchange. Over 514,000 international students are currently enrolled in the U.S., and almost 129,000 U.S. students study overseas each year. For both groups, wellness programs, self-care, and education are crucial additions to treatment services. In academic settings, responsibility for disease prevention and health promotion is widely shared. It is to this broad interpretation of responsibility for health that Optimizing Health Care in International Educational Exchange is dedicated.

This workbook consists of four sections, each examining an aspect of health and safety in the context of global exchange. Part I deals with issues common to both international students in the U.S. and U.S. students abroad, drawing parallels where they exist naturally. Parts II and III devote chapters specific to each population: Part II addresses challenges in health care for international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, and Part III examines health and safety issues in education abroad. Part IV again addresses issues common to both constituencies, with an emphasis on administration and professional development of international educators and campus health professionals.

Each chapter begins with a critical incident that illustrates aspects of the topic at hand. (The names used in the vignettes are fictitious.) A discussion of the issues and an overview of strategies and programs to address the topic of the chapter follow. A debriefing of the introductory critical incident is next, followed by a brief self-assessment tool to help staff evaluate the preparedness of their campus to deal with the health issues described. Each chapter concludes with a list of suggestions for further reading.

Above all, this is a workbook, intended for reading and discussion by campus administrators working collaboratively to improve health care services for students, whether they are on campus or abroad. The topics are integrated, and the reader will observe overlap in some of the chapters. The intent is to offer a comprehensive approach to the topic.

Without good health, all else is jeopardized. High quality health care for international students, their dependents, and U.S. students abroad is the responsibility of college health personnel, mental health staff, international student advisers, education abroad administrators, the students themselves, and many others. This workbook addresses that broad constituency.