Who is who at TravelSafe Clinic? Medical Director – Dr. Wendy Amirault
Dr. Wendy Amirault moved into the Medical Director role at TravelSafe Immunization Clinic on August 1, 2019. Dr. Amirault has taken over this important position from Dr. Sarah Thrasher, M.D. and founder of TravelSafe Clinic. Dr. Amirault brings her enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge as a veteran doctor. She also brings personal experience from her adventures travelling around the globe. She is an avid cyclist and has many stories to share about her travel experiences. We thought we’d ask Dr. Amirault a few questions in order for you to better understand this important role and her approach to travel health.
What was your most memorable trip in the last few years?
In February 2018, I travelled to Antarctica on a passenger ship to Antarctica. We crossed the Antarctic Circle so our cruise was longer – 13 days. We also crossed the Drake Passage known for its rough waters, and it was extremely rough. I highly recommend any traveller planning this cruise obtain preventative information to avoid motion sickness!
One of the activities available on the cruise was kayaking. Kayaking in Antarctica requires a significant amount of preparation and planning in advance by experienced tour operators. I was lucky to be on a ship with a Tasmanian and Kiwi guide who had made all arrangements in advance, enabling us to kayak. There are strict procedures and regulations to follow in order to kayak in Antarctica and it took our guides over a year to obtain approval. Some of the regulations required access to a Satellite phone, the route of where kayakers are paddling and a plan of which boat is dropping you off and picking you up at the end. There are also strict regulations that you cannot leave anything on Antarctica – including all bodily wastes. People who kayak in Antarctica are cruise ship passengers who kayak for a few hours, up to twice a day, weather and wind dependent. My group was fortunate enough to kayak eight times. It was the highlight of the cruise for me. This photo was taken in the afternoon of Feb17th near the Ukranian Research Station- Akademik Vernadsky. I saw lots of wildlife up close that day including Gentoo and Adelie penguins and Weddell and crabeater seals. It was a memorable trip!
What exactly is the role of a Medical Director at TravelSafe Clinic?
The Medical Director’s role is to work in collaboration with the TravelSafe Clinic consultants to provide the most current recommendations for our clients to prevent illness at home and while travelling. The Medical Director consults with staff and clients in complicated cases and strives to remain current with travel medicine literature, emerging outbreaks, as well as vaccines and their safe administration. The role also includes reviewing current medical practice and literature and making changes to our policies and procedures when required.
What experience do you bring to this role?
I have been a family physician for over 40 years interacting with patients from cradle to grave with all their diverse medical issues. I have been an ardent traveller for many years and through my love of travelling, I came to Travel Medicine. When I closed my family practice in 2011, a few months later, I began to work in Travel Medicine. Over the last eight years I have worked in travel clinics assisting travellers of all ages prepare for a wide range of itineraries and types of travel. I have been a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine since 2009 and passed the exam for the Certificate in Travel Medicine in 2013. I am also a member of the BC immunization committee under the BC Centre for Disease Control.
How do you stay current with the latest recommendations for travel health?
I stay current by reading the International Society of Travel Medicine journal, attending conferences and webinars and reading a database we subscribe to yearly. It provides exceptional and current medical information specific for travellers.
Why is Travel Medicine important to you?
Travel medicine is so important to me as I love to travel. It is rejuvenating and I want others to enjoy their exploration of new lands, cultures and foods and assist them to prevent having their experiences marred by health issues as much as possible.
Dr. Amirault’s top three tips for travellers:
- Be open to the people,the food and the sights: It’s not home, that’s why you’re there.
- Respect the culture you find yourself in.
- Don’t expect First World Medicine in Third World countries. Be prepared before you depart.
To see Dr. Amirault or one of our experienced travel consultants before your next trip, please call us at 604. 251-1975. We’re ready to share our preventative tips so you can enjoy your next adventure!