Featured News JCU professor takes on international role

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Fri, 28 May 2021

JCU professor takes on international role

Peter Leggat
Professor Peter Leggat

A JCU professor will represent Northern Queensland on the world stage as he takes on the role of President of the International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM).

James Cook University Professor Peter Leggat has a busy 2 years ahead as assumes role of 16th President of the ISTM this month.

He said until the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, there were record numbers of people travelling.

“The United Nations World Tourism Organization indicates that there was a record I.5 Billion international tourist arrivals in 2019. More Australian travellers than ever were also travelling abroad,” said Professor Leggat.

He said travel medicine seeks to prevent illnesses and injuries occurring to travellers going abroad and manages conditions arising in travellers coming back or coming from abroad. It is also concerned about the impact of tourism on health and advocates for improved health and safety services for travellers.

Professor Leggat is the first Australian to take on the top job, following on from being the first Australian to be appointed ISTM Secretary-Treasurer in 2013. He said the appointment came with a tremendous amount of responsibility.

“We now have 1000’s of members with representation from more than 100 countries. We also have the largest certification examination program in the field, which leads to the award of the ISTM Certificate of Travel Medicine.”

The Townsville-based professor began his career at JCU more than 29 years ago. He was a founding member of the ISTM in 1991.

The ISTM is a global organisation dedicated to promoting excellence amongst doctors, nurses and pharmacists working in travel medicine and migrant health worldwide. It works with other international organizations in the fields of travel medicine and migrant health, including the World Health Organization.

The ISTM collaborates with Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), also based in Atlanta, on GeoSentinel - a global disease surveillance program, which is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services to the tune of nearly US$1M per year.

Professor Leggat said his work as President will formally begin during the biennial 17th Conference of the ISTM this year.

James Cook University has conducted postgraduate tropical and travel medicine training for doctors, nurses and pharmacists since 1992, including Australia’s first postgraduate course in travel medicine established in 2000.

For more information about the International Society of Travel Medicine visit:



Contacts: Professor Peter Leggat, AM, ADC
P: 07 47816108 (office)