Fran Lessans, RN, BSN, MS – CEO of Passport Health

What is the name of your company?

Passport Health


What exactly does your company do?

Travel Medicine and Vaccinations, Onsite flu clinics, Specialty Physical Exams, Vaccine Credentialing and Immigration physicals.

When did you start this company?

1994

What was the process like? Help us understand what it is like for a nurse to start their own business

Hard Work no matter who it is.

What has the hardest thing been in starting your business?

It is simply hard work, attention to detail and the ability to problem solve daily.

What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your business?

Being my own boss and making my own decisions.

What would you say are the five most important resources for a nurse who wants to start their own business?

Ambition, creativity, competence, flexibility, perseverance

Do you have any success stories to share?

No, every day is exciting.

Do you have any unfortunate stories?

No, but I have seen folks destroy a business because they spent the money and then were not able to sustain during a downturn.

What do you want other nurses to take away from this interview?

You must ask yourself if you want to work hard and if not don’t go there. Be realistic.

Are you currently making six figures?

Yes, I am.

About Fran Lessans, RN, BSN, MSBio picture of Fran

As founder, president and CEO of PASSPORT HEALTH, Fran brings four decades of medical and management experience to her clients. Before founding PASSPORT HEALTH, Fran worked in a variety of clinical settings as a registered nurse, educator and health care administrator. Fran’s business acumen is known in the community, as she has successfully turned multiple troubled organizations into profitable ventures. In addition to numerous board appointments and awards from area legal and business publications, she was awarded the Innovator of the Year award by the Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development in 2005 and in 2006 won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Maryland region.

It was during her tenure as director of a university based health service where Fran first came up with the idea for a comprehensive, client focused, full-service medical travel service. Fran often referred students to large area hospitals for immunizations prior to an international trip. Students returned from their hospital visit complaining about the cost and knowing little about the immunizations they had received or steps necessary to stay healthy while traveling. It was not easy finding the answers to their questions back then, as the CDC offered only prerecorded messages, which were often six or more months behind, and few physicians know much about travel medicine. Fran began developing educational materials to help students understand how diseases were transmitted and discussed problems that students might encounter while traveling. Fran’s reputation quickly grew, as students and faculty referred family and friends for travel counseling and immunizations.

In 1994 Fran took her service to a hospital affiliated ambulatory care practice in Baltimore. Satellite locations were added to circle the Baltimore beltway. Since that time, the business has expanded across the US, Canada and Mexico, bringing the total number of offices to over 200. Today PASSPORT HEALTH delivers a quality, comprehensive service to corporate and leisure travelers in North America.

The business has continued to flourish with new affiliates, added capabilities and expanded services. A new area of business emerged after 9/11–Passport Health was called upon to deliver antibiotics and anthrax vaccine to postal and tabloid workers on the east coast from New Jersey to Florida. Passport Health now provides immunizations for travel, school, wellness, credentialing, immigration and naturalization, bio-defense, disaster response, military readiness and clinical trials. Fran’s reputation as an expert in immunizations grew to the point where both U.S. and foreign governments have called upon her to develop training programs and provide a call center for expert advice on all aspects of immunizations.

Fran has published and lectured extensively throughout the country to health departments, foreign governments and public and private institutions and organizations about immunizations for travel and bio-terrorism. She is a member of the International Society of Travel Medicine, and has completed postgraduate course work in adventure and tropical travel medicine. Fran has worked with multiple universities, governments and pharmaceutical companies on clinical trials to bring new and improved vaccines to market. She has also served on pharmaceutical Advisory Boards including Merck’s Vaccine Division, Sanofi Pasteur, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis. She is currently on the Board of Directors at the Baltimore-Washington Hospital and is on the credentialing committee.

Fran holds a B.S.N. degree from the University of Maryland, School of Nursing and a master’s degree from the same institution where she majored in public health and administration. She lives in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, with her husband who is the senior partner in a county law firm and corporate council for Passport Health. Their two grown children include an Urologist son practicing in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and an Architect daughter practicing in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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