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Glenwood Springs doctor returns from round-the-world adventure

Contributed photoGlenwood Springs native Dr. Chris Tonozzi briefs the students involved with the Semester at Sea program on medical risks before disembarking to land.
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Just home from a four-month voyage as the ship’s doctor for the Semester at Sea program, Glenwood Springs native Dr. Chris Tonozzi is glad to be back on terra firma for a time, but there are undoubtedly more world travel adventures in the offing for this physician and his family.

Serving as the ship’s doctor for hundreds of college students was the experience of a lifetime.

He and his family’s passion for outdoor recreation, skiing, river-running and traveling to native cultures brought about a fall 2010 trip on Semester at Sea, a journey during which he served as the ship’s doctor for 700 students and 300 crew and support. Accompanied by his wife and two teenage sons, he traveled across the Atlantic from the eastern seaboard of the U.S. to Nova Scotia, Spain, Morocco, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Singapore, Vietnam, China, Japan, Hawaii and back to the west coast of the United States.



Semester at Sea is a nonprofit educational program that pioneered global, comparative education, a form of international study that focuses on surveying the world’s peoples, patterns, cultures and traditions. The program operates on a traveling shipboard campus that allows diverse learning communities to live and learn in close quarters as they travel the world, and provides opportunities for intensive engagement, reflection, interaction and exchange. Students study and visit countries and cultures in varying stages of economic development, contrasting political systems, and great diversity of religious and cultural values.

“I’ve always loved international travel, but with this trip I learned even more,” says Dr. Tonozzi. “The ship physician, it turns out, is not a ‘luxury’ to have on board. There is a lot riding on the shoulders of the doc. Decisions occasionally need to be made about whether the ship should sail, should detour, or should inconvenience 1,000 people. All that said, I would gladly repeat the experience.” With humor, compassion, and honesty, Dr. Tonozzi chronicled his experiences and observations during this recent trip with a travel blog, which can be accessed at http://www.mountainfamily.org/travel.



This recent hands-on experience provided Dr. Tonozzi with even more insight and acumen for the individualized health and preventive requirements for travelers heading to far-flung locales. Dr. Tonozzi, through his existing practice, offers the Mountain Family Travel Clinic, intended to serve western Colorado individuals heading anywhere in the world. His clinic offers physician consultation for vacationers and adventurers preparing to keep themselves healthy while traveling to all corners of the globe, whether it’s the beaches of Thailand, the interior of Africa, the Himalayan mountains or the rainforest of Brazil. Expert preparation allows his patients to concentrate on the enjoyment of the travel and cultural experience, rather than the costs, inconveniences and risks of illness in a foreign country.

The Mountain Family Travel Clinic can help travelers understand the unique health risks of each destination, and administer the appropriate advice, medications, immunizations and vaccinations based on risk. Topics commonly addressed include malaria prevention medication, traveler’s diarrhea prevention, first aid requirements for diving and climbing to altitude, water purification, altitude sickness prevention and special considerations for children. Available travel vaccines include typhoid, meningitis, yellow fever, and hepatitis A and B. Dr. Tonozzi stays apprised of CDC (Center for Disease Control) travel alerts and can communicate any immediate, localized health dangers. As a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine, he provides consultation and training to other physicians and providers in the region with his specialized knowledge.

Individuals planning a trip are encouraged to make an appointment with Dr. Tonozzi as much as six months in advance for some preventive treatments; most will benefit from an appointment even as close as two to three weeks prior to departure. To help ensure the efficiency of his patients’ visits, a downloadable form is available on his website at http://www.mountainfamily.org/travel/. An appointment with Dr. Tonozzi, who is in his convenient Blake Avenue clinic on Tuesday and Friday each week, can typically be secured with just a few days lead time, and coordination with patients’ existing providers on health history and conditions can also be arranged.


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