CFHI logo

Child Family Health International


Child Family Health International (CFHI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that conducts socially responsible global health service-learning programs for medical, pre-medical, nursing, PA, MPH, and other health science students. CFHI's 35+ programs in 11 countries connect students with local health professionals -transforming perspectives about self, global health and healing. CFHI supports local communities worldwide through these global health education programs and community health initiatives. CFHI is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations.


Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An engaging and unforgettable experience!

As a young aspiring African intern of the CFHI Global Health Comparative Virtual Internship, and a national of a Low Resource Country (Burundi), I would highly recommend the program to more college graduates in the relevant fields of public health as well as any entry-level professionals to participate in the virtual internship with the CFHI to gain ground in the ins-and-outs of how international NGOs promote health for all and intervene holistically in sometimes-familiar settings as the ones I come from; while gaining cultural exposure and learning to team work with like-minded global health professionals

The internship taught me that sometimes less is better. As a prospective global health professional born and raised in Africa but educated at a medical college outside the continent, I had to experience major incongruities between the theoretical framework of medicine and the efforts needed to implement health equity in hospital settings and community health services. To understand how this gap applies less extensively in the social and economic settings of African LMICs, I had to surmise how the fine line between the two fields affect health delivery and outcomes, and how I can participate in bettering the healthcare systems of my continent in the near future.

Due to the short-bits format of the teachings I received during Dr. Charles Nwobu’s online lectures in Ghana, Dr. Hema Pandey from India, as well as the Director’s Seminars and multinational Global Health Roundtables, I was able to capture the essence of cultural effectiveness and adaptability as the bases of successful collaborative efforts to bring affordable and accessible healthcare for all. Additionally, as an intern under the Outpatient & Community Health Services Department of Village Health Works—an international NGO based in New York and Burundi, I am now using the knowledge I acquired to help build self-reliant community health systems in Kigutu, one of the most remote regions of the country.

I am grateful to have been awarded the Thomas Hall Scholars Program scholarship for the virtual internship and hope to see more young aspiring global health professionals enroll in the different programs CFHI has to offer.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Dr. Charles Nwobu’ s thoughtful advice for medical college graduates like myself to participate in elective “housemanships” (the african equivalent of medical residency programs) to better understand the health systems and get familiar with endemic diseases of the continent.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Virtual public health internship- India

Choosing to participate in this program is easily one of the best decisions I made this year. I have always wanted to participate in the internship program without success so I was very excited when I was awarded the Susan Hershey Scholarship for this program. The program director did a great job of curating Public Health classes, virtual facility tours, and even Hindi language classes. Even though it was virtual, I felt like I was really in India learning about the public health system and some of the successful interventions. I had the privilege of interacting with some of the NGO managers and getting their insight on solving their public health challenges. I also learned about cultural adaptability and found the global health lectures very informative. This experience was very enlightening and rewarding. I look forward to sharing my learnings and experiences with my colleagues.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Virtual Global & Public Health Internship-Ghana.

In my academic career, the most meaningful experience for me was the Virtual Global & Public Health Internship program I completed in Ghana. This internship gave me back my motivation for pursuing medicine and it opened up new interests for me. I now for sure want to get a Masters in Public Health and I want a global health certificate or fellowship. This internship was very eye-opening because Ghana’s healthcare system, although is a different sphere than America’s, has many instances where it overlaps with the American system. The social determinants that affect the health of Americans, also play a crucial role in the health of Ghana’s people. Working on case studies with the wonderful physician who was coordinating our program was my favorite part of this entire experience, because it helped me expand my knowledge and it made me feel as if I am an actual doctor working on initiatives for the community. Although this experience was virtual, I am greatly hoping I could go in person one day (possibly when I am in medical school or doing my masters program). Learning about the health of other countries has always been my goal ever since learning about Doctors Without Borders. This internship has also taught me to push myself into becoming an actual advocate for health especially in marginalized communities, because those with heartbreaking stories are those suffering from being underserved and unheard. The entirety of Child Family Health International is built on the fundamentals of social responsibility, service-learning, empowerment, and education. Truly a wonderful experience that I will always recommend to others!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Embrace the culture and ask questions! It is also important to communicate and talk with others to build on your understanding.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Virtual Global Health Comparative - Ghana

It has been such a privilege being awarded CFHI and AMSA’s Global Health Scholarship to participate in the Virtual Global Health Comparative. The weekly Director Seminars and Roundtables (and just being amongst some of the world’s global health leaders) were inspiring examples of how I can contribute my academic background and experience in the field. Dr. Charles Nwobu’s mentorship provided such invaluable insight not only into Ghana, but the universal applicability of healthcare challenges to other cultures and populations. And lastly, discussions with fellow interns ultimately gave me hope. It is comforting to know that a growing number of the incoming generation of global health professionals and medical practitioners are equipped with the cultural competence and intersectional understanding necessary to tackle the world’s numerous crises. I have always wanted to work with CFHI due to their admirable sustainable model and infrastructure, and I look forward to participating in programs in the future!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An Impactful Experience!

The CFHI organization is fantastic! I was drawn to them during a Conference when I visited their booth and met the Director. I enjoyed my experience in the Global Health Comparative Virtual Internship in Ecuador! From the virtual tours to the cooking session to Spanish classes, it felt like I was indeed there. The coordinators organized it well, and the teachers were genuinely interested in the students. There was another aspect with interactive modules focused on developing Cross-Cultural Effectiveness & Adaptability, which helped me self-reflect and build on my cultural competency skills. Then there were the discussions with CFHI leaders from different countries, which was very informative. For each public health challenge, we would learn about the obstacles in each country, how they impact the people, and reflect on our roles as future leaders. We also had interactive seminars which challenged our thought process and preconceived notions about Global Health, culture, and health. This program was beneficial and aligned with my goals!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Shrimp Ceviche with popcorn during our Spanish cooking class!!


Displaying 1 - 9 of 13

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose participate in CFHI’s Maternal and Child Health Program in India because it allows me to experience the challenges expecting mothers face in the developing world. On top of that, I have always been fascinated by the vibrant and colorful culture of India. Hence, this program is the perfect fit for me!

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The website of Child Family Health International (CFHI) has very clear instructions on the entire application process and how to proceed after being accepted into the program. The staff at CFHI were very helpful and knowledgeable. They provided me with all the information needed (contacts both locally and abroad, reading material on the traditions and culture of India, as well as the healthcare system, options for travel insurance and the outline of the program and accommodation details). I only had to search and purchase my flight ticket, apply for my traveling visa and get necessary vaccinations.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

There is free time during the weekends, so it would be great to research on the places/ attractions that you would like to visit beforehand so you are able to make full use of your time in India. Most importantly, go and experience with an open mindset! You are abroad with two identities - a tourist and a student.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

We would start our day with breakfast (traditional Indian food) at the medical director's house and move on with shadowing rotations at different pediatric and obstetric hospitals and small rural clinics in and around Pune, under the supervision of local preceptors. We attended optional yoga classes once every week before breakfast. During the weekends, we would explore around the nearby cities in Maharashtra State to learn more about the history and culture of India. Also, jamming to Bollywood music is part of our daily routine when we were on the road.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I was a little worried about not being able to adapt the living conditions and the issue of obtaining clean drinking water. However, the accommodation was fine and we have easy access to clean drinking water. I realized that sometimes worrying does not help to solve the problem. The best thing that you can do is to stay positive, accept whatever comes your way and you will be surprised that you can adapt and be just as fine! Putting yourself out of your comfort zone is the way to allow yourself to grow and learn from others!

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Nick Penco

Job Title
Associate Director for Latin America and New Partnerships
Nick Penco, a native of Argentina, joined Child Family Health International in 2005. His natural ability to communicate across cultures and his ability to fluently speak Spanish and French are an asset in working with CFHI partners from Africa, India, Latin American and Asia. His passion for international education and travel were sparked by a year spent in Germany as a foreign exchange student during his teenage years.

What is your favorite travel memory?

The first time I traveled to the Philippines. It was a country I knew little about prior to arriving. I was taken aback by the hospitality and friendliness of its people and awestruck by the majestic beauty of its landscape, the intricate flavors of its cuisine, and mesmerized by a culture that encapsulate the best qualities of East and West, Spanish, Asian, and American.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

My role has allowed me to travel to locations and meet people that you normally would not see on a top 10 travel destinations vide on the Travel Channel.

This has allowed me to grow as a person on so many levels, increasing my cultural competency and making me a more humble and patient person, I have also met and worked with people who devote their entire lives to the service of others, this has made me more self-reflective as to how I live my daily life.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

That is a very difficult questions to answer! I would pick all of course if I could! I would say "Remote Island Medicine in the Philippines" - the country has so much to offer and I feel I barely scratched the surface with my time there. The program offers a perfect balance between public health activities, academic rigor and fun in the sun.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I believe that the people that make up the organization, our partners abroad as well as our staff in San Francisco, our passion and commitment to providing quality programs. There are plenty of organizations that offers health related programs, but what we offer is a boutique experience - with a group of individuals that we call the CFHI Family.

Professional Associations