Bkid-Sapps

Fulbright 2012-2013

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Hello there Fulbright friends,

So today, Theresa Granza of Fulbright notification fame sent out a link to the medical evaluation form. Here is the link to the form in all its glory:

http://us.fulbrightonline.org/documents/resources/Pre-Departure%20Medical.pdf

I am a little bit, shall we say, concerned about and surprised at the depth of the information that they are asking for here. Just a few highlights:

- They want to know your HIV status. I realize this is an issue for some countries, but why does Fulbright, as US-based funding agency, want to know? Wouldn't that be dealt with individually when applying for the visa?

- They want women to have a gynecological exam, and give the results of the exam. Yes, the results. Because PAP smear results somehow reflect on one's ability to conduct research, apparently.

- They want you to list all of the doctors you have seen in the last three years. No clue where to even start. My health insurance sends you to a clinic. I see a new doctor every time.

- They want you to list all of the medications you have taken in the last three years. Seriously? I've been sick at least two or three times per year since I can remember with sinus infections, and I am supposed to figure out which antibiotics I took every f'ing time?

- They want you to state if you have been hospitalized ever, for any reason.

- They want you to state if you have ever seen a therapist or ever had depression or anxiety. I mean, is there ANYBODY on this forum who hasn't seen a therapist at least once? Probably as a result of the anxiety- and depression-inducing Fulbright application process!!

- They want you to state the results of a psychiatric evaluation. Again, what?

Ok, so I could go on and on here, but my basic point is, this really seems like a bit much. I can't even begin to remember all the doctors I've seen and antibiotics and what not I've taken for one reason or another. But beyond that, I certainly don't want to send PAP smear results to a SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE!!

My question for the forum is that: Does anybody out there know if this is how it always is? Do you have a sense for how this runs from past Fulbrighters? Is this one of those things that people sort of fudge the truth on, with a nudge and a wink from the doctor? Or do they really honestly expect you to send all of this information? I really feel at a such a loss. I can't even begin to get some of this information, and other of it I simply feel incredibly uncomfortable sharing with somebody who's not my doctor.

Thanks for your help!!

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- They want to know your HIV status. I realize this is an issue for some countries, but why does Fulbright, as US-based funding agency, want to know? Wouldn't that be dealt with individually when applying for the visa?

I had to answer this question when I applied for a study abroad program in Russia. The US-based program made it very clear that the program itself was not discriminating against HIV-positive students; however, acceptance into the program was contingent on being able to obtain a visa to Russia. Due to some very outdated laws, getting any sort of long-term visa (not sure about the tourist visas) to Russia requires one to be HIV-negative, and to show proof. Not sure if any other country has a law like this, but that may be one reason for that particular question.

Also, I've now started getting the line 'Oh, so-and-so posted that they got a Fulbright yesterday! You must have heard too, right? Oh, if you don't want to talk about it....' THIS IS NOT FUN. I know it is far from common knowledge that countries notify on their own time line, and I certainly cannot fault my friends for not knowing that. I'm getting kind of tired of explaining that over and over again, though...

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If anyone else is interested in knowing, I'm willing to call Rachel tomorrow to inquire into the status of the Spain ETAs. That is, unless someone already received an indication of when to be expecting notification?? Anyone?

Yes please! I got an account just to second this. The suspense is killing me!

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Due to some very outdated laws, getting any sort of long-term visa (not sure about the tourist visas) to Russia requires one to be HIV-negative, and to show proof. Not sure if any other country has a law like this, but that may be one reason for that particular question.

The U.S. actually required HIV-negative results up until 2010.

That's right, I came out of lurking to post this small tid-bit of knowledge. Anxiously waiting like the rest of you!

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Hey everyone! I sent a very quick email to Rachel inquiring about Armenia notifications, and got an email back within about 12 hours letting me know her "best guess" was mid-late April.

I don't want to sound like I'm encouraging everyone to barrage her with messages, but I don't think she would have replied/replied with information if it wasn't her job/if she didn't have time/if it's not allowed/etc. If you're really going crazy, I'd suggest you ask. It makes me feel a lot better knowing I have a few more weeks, so I wanted to pass that along.

Edited by lg702

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Hey everyone! To those going a little crazy (i.e....everyone here), I'd suggest sending a nice, super quick email to Rachel about your country. I totally don't think we should barrage her, but I emailed her about Armenia, and got an email back within about 12 hours letting me know her "best guess" was mid-late April.

Again, I feel bad taking time out of her day and for being a little selfish, but it's a huge help for me to know that I can at least relax for 2 more weeks. Thought I'd share and encourage you all to do the same if you think it'd give you some sanity. Good luck dudes!

I don't know, if I were her I'd be going nuts. How much does her "best guess" really help calm people's nerves? Aren't people still going to be refreshing their inboxes nonstop anyway? Honestly, I'm not going to contact anyone there just out of sympathy. I can understand if people have to give responses to graduate schools or something...but for the rest of us I just think it's a little too much. In some ways sending emails at this time is almost an implicit accusation that they aren't giving you enough information, because you're sort of suggesting that they might have information that would be helpful to you and for some reason are choosing not to share it.

Even if that were true, I highly doubt they are choosing not to share it out of laziness or malice. More likely I think is that they really don't know all that much more than we do at this particular moment.

Maybe I'm too sensitive to this. It's fine if we wallow in our collective paranoia, it's another if we make someone's job more difficult as a result.

Edited by oinkcluckmoobahh

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I don't know, if I were her I'd be going nuts. How much does her "best guess" really help calm people's nerves? Aren't people still going to be refreshing their inboxes nonstop anyway? Honestly, I'm not going to contact anyone there just out of sympathy. I can understand if people have to give responses to graduate schools or something...but for the rest of us I just think it's a little too much. In some ways sending emails at this time is almost an implicit accusation that they aren't giving you enough information, because you're sort of suggesting that they might have information that would be helpful to you and for some reason are choosing not to share it.

Even if that were true, I highly doubt they are choosing not to share it out of laziness or malice. More likely I think is that they really don't know all that much more than we do at this particular moment.

Maybe I'm too sensitive to this. It's fine if we wallow in our collective paranoia, it's another if we make someone's job more difficult as a result.

Oh sure, I see where you're coming from--and I hope this doesn't open up any floodgates. I just saw I lot of people posting stuff like "Someone call about Spain!" "Someone call about France!" and I wanted to throw in my 2 cents and encourage people to reach out if they really are going a little cray-cray.

Also--maybe this is just trying to make myself feel better--but I've seen lots of disclaimers on other sites/scholarships/jobs that reeeeally discourage applicants from checking in. Fulbright doesn't really do that (right?) so, I dunno, I think it's pretty reasonable to send a nice email. If she doesn't have time to reply she won't; if it affects her work, there wouldn't be contact info, or we'd all be getting strongly-worded emails/calls stating that no one has any information.

Maybe? Sorry--hope this doesn't seem annoying.

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Hello there Fulbright friends,

So today, Theresa Granza of Fulbright notification fame sent out a link to the medical evaluation form. Here is the link to the form in all its glory:

http://us.fulbrighto...e%20Medical.pdf

I am a little bit, shall we say, concerned about and surprised at the depth of the information that they are asking for here. Just a few highlights:

- They want to know your HIV status. I realize this is an issue for some countries, but why does Fulbright, as US-based funding agency, want to know? Wouldn't that be dealt with individually when applying for the visa?

- They want women to have a gynecological exam, and give the results of the exam. Yes, the results. Because PAP smear results somehow reflect on one's ability to conduct research, apparently.

- They want you to list all of the doctors you have seen in the last three years. No clue where to even start. My health insurance sends you to a clinic. I see a new doctor every time.

- They want you to list all of the medications you have taken in the last three years. Seriously? I've been sick at least two or three times per year since I can remember with sinus infections, and I am supposed to figure out which antibiotics I took every f'ing time?

- They want you to state if you have been hospitalized ever, for any reason.

- They want you to state if you have ever seen a therapist or ever had depression or anxiety. I mean, is there ANYBODY on this forum who hasn't seen a therapist at least once? Probably as a result of the anxiety- and depression-inducing Fulbright application process!!

- They want you to state the results of a psychiatric evaluation. Again, what?

Ok, so I could go on and on here, but my basic point is, this really seems like a bit much. I can't even begin to remember all the doctors I've seen and antibiotics and what not I've taken for one reason or another. But beyond that, I certainly don't want to send PAP smear results to a SCHOLARSHIP COMMITTEE!!

My question for the forum is that: Does anybody out there know if this is how it always is? Do you have a sense for how this runs from past Fulbrighters? Is this one of those things that people sort of fudge the truth on, with a nudge and a wink from the doctor? Or do they really honestly expect you to send all of this information? I really feel at a such a loss. I can't even begin to get some of this information, and other of it I simply feel incredibly uncomfortable sharing with somebody who's not my doctor.

Thanks for your help!!

fwiw, this isn't much different than it was for peace corps

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I don't know, if I were her I'd be going nuts. How much does her "best guess" really help calm people's nerves? Aren't people still going to be refreshing their inboxes nonstop anyway? Honestly, I'm not going to contact anyone there just out of sympathy. I can understand if people have to give responses to graduate schools or something...but for the rest of us I just think it's a little too much. In some ways sending emails at this time is almost an implicit accusation that they aren't giving you enough information, because you're sort of suggesting that they might have information that would be helpful to you and for some reason are choosing not to share it.

Even if that were true, I highly doubt they are choosing not to share it out of laziness or malice. More likely I think is that they really don't know all that much more than we do at this particular moment.

Maybe I'm too sensitive to this. It's fine if we wallow in our collective paranoia, it's another if we make someone's job more difficult as a result.

At the same time, this is a result that for many of us, will determine the direction of our lives...possibly forever. I think we can be justified in one quick phone call, especially because it seems she IS able to give us some information.

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Hey everyone! I sent a very quick email to Rachel inquiring about Armenia notifications, and got an email back within about 12 hours letting me know her "best guess" was mid-late April.

I don't want to sound like I'm encouraging everyone to barrage her with messages, but I don't think she would have replied/replied with information if it wasn't her job/if she didn't have time/if it's not allowed/etc. If you're really going crazy, I'd suggest you ask. It makes me feel a lot better knowing I have a few more weeks, so I wanted to pass that along.

You're lucky you got a response. I really hate bothering people, but my husband is a teacher and he needs to notify his school by April 13 about whether he will be returning next year or not (and I wanted to get a sense of whether I should expect to even hear about the Fulbright before then). So instead of calling (hoping this would be less bothersome), I sent a really nice email (on Tuesday morning) first stating how I understand she must be so busy and receive tons of phone calls and emails from prospectives, and so if she doesn't have time to respond, I will completely understand. Then asking if she had any timeline or estimate of when Hungary ETA's might find out.

I'm OK with the fact that she didn't respond (this is what I was expecting), but now a little frustrated knowing that she responded to others. I thought being nice and understanding was going to work in my favor [sigh]

So the wait in the dark continues....

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Everyone should calm down about the medical clearance form. Nowhere on that form does it say that your physician checking "yes" for any of those questions will disqualify you. It states in the intro letter that those questions are asked because many medical conditions can be exascerbated by living overseas, or many things that may be dormant now can become inflamed later by a new environment. I think they want to be prepared -- since they are paying for health insurance -- but, more than anything, to have the information so that if we are hospitalized, they have a semi-comprehensive medical history to start some kind of treatment immediately (rather than having to wait to contact our doctor in the US, translate, etc, before they can do anything responsibly in an emergency situation).

Second, if you read the whole form, you'll see that you only have to complete Part I. Your physician (or clinic) will complete Parts II and III. You are not expected to remember every medication (ie. prescriptions, not DayQuil), doctor, hospitalization, and immunization. Your doctor's office will have all of this on file, or will know where to get it. (I have no idea when I was last immunized.) Notice at the end it said that you should have the doctor fill it out and mail it to you, so you can forward it to Fulbright -- if there's any information that they don't have, then you can go in and see the doc, although I'm sure most of us would probably have to go in for TB tests, anyway. ;) As for the rest of it, it's not asking for the lab reports or a vial of blood, especially not a pap smear! It just wants to know if everything is in working order. I actually appreciate the thoroughness of this form, because it will make me take care of any medical issues. I'm sure there are tons of Fulbrighters who've had diabetes, allergies, or (God forbid) an STD. Making arrangements to treat those conditions while abroad isn't invasive -- it's responsible for both you and the US government.

Finally, it doesn't ask for an inch-thick file from a psychiatric evaluation. You're not an astronaut applying to go into space. (Anyone ever seen The Right Stuff? :P ) But someone who has a serious psychological disorder probably shouldn't be put in certain situations on the taxpayer's nickel, especially when there are qualified people eager to take their place. (The Fulbright is a privilege, not a right.) So this is the area for your doctor to flag that you're medically, mentally unwell and the Fulbright should take it into consideration, if for whatever reason, it had slipped through the cracks during the rest of the application process.

PS. I don't think the general anxiety issues that most people have on this board qualify as a psychological disorder, haha.

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I am a little bit, shall we say, concerned about and surprised at the depth of the information that they are asking for here. Just a few highlights:

- They want to know your HIV status. I realize this is an issue for some countries, but why does Fulbright, as US-based funding agency, want to know? Wouldn't that be dealt with individually when applying for the visa?

- They want women to have a gynecological exam, and give the results of the exam. Yes, the results. Because PAP smear results somehow reflect on one's ability to conduct research, apparently.

- They want you to list all of the doctors you have seen in the last three years. No clue where to even start. My health insurance sends you to a clinic. I see a new doctor every time.

- They want you to list all of the medications you have taken in the last three years. Seriously? I've been sick at least two or three times per year since I can remember with sinus infections, and I am supposed to figure out which antibiotics I took every f'ing time?

- They want you to state if you have been hospitalized ever, for any reason.

- They want you to state if you have ever seen a therapist or ever had depression or anxiety. I mean, is there ANYBODY on this forum who hasn't seen a therapist at least once? Probably as a result of the anxiety- and depression-inducing Fulbright application process!!

- They want you to state the results of a psychiatric evaluation. Again, what?

fwiw, this isn't much different than it was for peace corps

Honestly I was actually quite surprised that the medical information required for clearance was not MORE in depth. For example, I was surprised to see that they don't ask about drug use or require you to take a drug test. From personal experience and just anecdotally, if you wish to work in a program funded by U.S. Taxpayer dollars and that requires a certain amount of clearance (foreign service, CIA, FBI) these exams are commonly like this, if not more rigorous. As Eric Bee mentioned, the Peace Corps is similar to this. We need to remember that while many people will be in rural England or Madrid or places with comparable medical services, many people will be in rural areas for extended periods of time in countries where medical treatment is not as timely available.

Many of the requests you seem to be taking issue with are actually filled out by the physician who is supposed to sign off on your forms. YOU will not be personally answering any questions about what medications you have taken or how many times you have been to the hospital. The physician examining you will be answering those questions based on his or her review of your medical history. The only difficult thing about this should really be figuring out which doctors you have seen in the past three years. If you saw multiple doctors within one clinic or clinic system, you should be able to request your medical records from just the clinic (i.e. they should have kept track of every dr. you saw within their clinic).

I would not be surprised to find out that they ask many of these questions have to do with liability. Having moments of depression or anxiety are common to everyone. However, if that depression or anxiety is so severe as to interfere with your daily living and you need to see someone about it, that is certainly something Fulbright wants to be aware of before they send you to live thousands of miles away, potentially in extremely mentally and physically rigorous situations. I don't think admitting that you've seen a therapist is going to prejudice you, but (god forbid) if something did happen to a Fulbrighter while they were abroad because of depression or anxiety, difficult questions would certainly be asked of Fulbright if they had failed to ascertain that people were completely mentally and physically capable of going abroad. Hence I think they just need a doctor to sign off on whether you are mentally fit (which should be fairly easy since you didn't apply to go into space or something) to kind of avoid that whole debacle, and a doctor cannot in good conscience do that without reviewing your complete medical history. I would certainly be more concerned if they asked me to release the actual medical files, but as it is they are just asking for a general nature of the treatment (e.g. "general anxiety disorder", "obsessive-compulsive disorder") and the dr's names, and dates of treatment, probably to see that you had a reasonable number of sessions to resolve or help you with any psychological issues. My doctor is still the one reviewing the files and signing off on my mental well being, so those files and the detailed nature of my treatment remain subject to dr.-patient confidentiality. I feel in that case that my rights to the confidentiality of my medical history have not been waived.

As for HIV status, I think someone else already covered that. I am not totally sure how I feel about that, although I don't have HIV or AIDS. While that probably has to do with visa regulations in other countries (which is fairly common), the requests regarding gynecological health are probably more preventative than anything. People will be going abroad for at least a year, many to places with healthcare that would not be considered up to standards in the Global North, and many on the Fulbright health insurance which is really only for emergencies and not preventative care. Many people going on Fulbright are recent undergraduates who may have only really been to health services for random colds, allergic reactions, UTIs etc. If you haven't received a pap smear or an STD screen recently, I think it's prudent, if not necessary to get all those things before going abroad for an extended period of time.

Now, things that I would certainly be quite concerned about if they were on the health forms (because why would fulbright need to know): results of any genetic testing one might have had, alcohol and drug abuse records, confidential communications with social workers, details of any domestic violence counseling, details of any sexual assault counseling or sexual assault treatment one may have had.

Just my two cents on the issue.

Edited by bdoll

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Anyone currently abroad and know how to get the health forms filled out?

If you have a primary care provider at home, I think you can mail it to them and have them fill it out and send it back? That would be if you haven't had some extensive treatments elsewhere that they don't have records for.

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Hello again MFIH, nice to see you over here, too.

I think you're right, the delayed response from Japan last year was completely understandable.

For every other year that appears on the spreadsheets here, the notifications were in March.

So maybe in the next few days????

I sure hope so.

Do you mind if I ask what your project's on?

I'm looking at Japanese educators in colonial Korea (at all levels, primary to tertiary) for my dissertation, but I might expand the project to look at education more broadly from the 1910s to 1930s.

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hi everyone,

exciting to read all of the good news on this forum!

i've applied for a number of different grad school programs and fellowships this year, so i know that i have a few options if i'm not awarded the FB.

with that being said, please add me to the spreadsheet.

i applied for a full-grant to morocco and am a finalist. happy to see that i am in good company on that list.

keeping my fingers crossed!

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Full grant to Chile! Email at 11:19EST. Good luck to everyone on here who is still waiting!

Congrats! Just heard I'm an alternate to Chile. Best of luck to those still waiting!

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Another longtime lurker posting here - I am a finalist for a full grant to Turkey, and I just spoke with Rachel:she has no idea when we will know, but she speculates 2-3 weeks, and that they might have a better idea next week and that i could call back then to check (which I will do).

I called because I was just offered another fellowship(!!) for next year and need to make a decision soon. Rachel was very nice about it - knowing that a lot of folks are in similar positions.

And congratulations to all with good news this week! I am thrilled for all of you!!!!

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