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Child Family Health International

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Child Family Health International has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.


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.


400 29th St #508
Oakland, CA 94609
United States


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Yes, I recommend this program

I decided to go with CFHI as part of my global health elective for medical school because of the wide variety of locations they have. I really wanted to go to Ghana and experience healthcare in another country, predominately in a hospital setting. CFHI provided me with an opportunity to rotate with different services at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital and also provided me with everlasting memories that I will never forget. I made connections with residents and house officers who I deeply respect. There wasn't much help in getting there but once I was there things just started to fall together. I would suggest to anyone wanting to go to another country to look into CFHI due to its variety of program locations and also the ability to work in an already established setting. In addition, there are weekly lectures that introduce students to Ghana and public health. I do suggest that you be diligent and on top of making sure you have all of your required documents before hand and its correct because there wasn't much assistance with ensuring the information was uptodate. Take a look at the variety of things to do in both Cape Coast and Accra (3hrs away by van) for weekend activities as well. The program is what you make out of it. There is definitely time to explore and to learn so your trip is what you want it to be.

What would you improve about this program?
The communication before hand to ensure students are kept aware.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I can confidently say that I am glad that I made the decision to travel to Mumbai, India through the CFHI Infectious Diseases Program in 2005. I went on this eye-opening trip in as a Public Health student and realized that I had so much to be thankful and grateful for. I understood that we were lucky in the United States and in some developed countries when it comes to having the capability and capacity to eradicate some infectious diseases such as Leprosy.
I had learned about Leprosy from my science classes and seen images of the devastation and incapacitating nature of the disease, but it is nothing compared to actually seeing it in reality. CFHI has made it an effort to provide the opportunity for access and information about global health to health professionals, nursing students, medical students and public health students. CFHI have been able to carry this role out because they constantly strive to maintain relationships with all their host countries institutions, and families. Access to health information and awareness of health maintenance is a fundamental human right. CFHI has a solid stance on that so it is not surprising to see CFHI at the top of the Great Nonprofits.
I also hope to someday join CFHI in bringing awareness to the global fight against Addiction and Mental Health issues.
I will end with Gro Brundtland’s words, “There can be no real growth without healthy populations. No sustainable development without tackling disease and malnutrition. No international security without assisting crisis-ridden countries. And no hope for the spread of freedom, democracy and human dignity unless we treat health as a basic human right.”

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Yes, I recommend this program

The internship provided me with a very enriching opportunity to explore the complexity of HIV management in the South African context. With a variety of healthcare environments such as hospices, hospitals and clinics, I got to experience first hand the operation of the three-tier healthcare system of South Africa in a ver populous and predominantly Zulu province. The culture of the Kwa-Zulu Natal was fascinating from their marital parches to their language via their colourful fashion, I absolutely loved being immersed in this dynamic environment. I even learnt some Zulu! The South African country is also incredibly beautiful and I was lucky enough to explore some highlights like Cape Town or Kruger National Park. Overall, the internship was the most defining experience in my public health career thus far.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was made to do chest compressions on a 3 months old baby during CPR. I have no medical experience!
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Yes, I recommend this program

I am a second-year medical student and I went to Accra, Ghana through the CFHI program.

I rotated in the ER department and was able to round with the fifth-year medical students from Accra College of Medicine and Family Health Medical School. On my first day I rounded with the fifth-year medical students and I was terrified and intimidated. The way they presented, answered the doctor’s questions and interrogations on details about their cases, and dissected their differentials was astounding. With only one year of medical school under my belt, I felt useless and unknowledgeable compared to them. However, I tried to stay as engaged as I could, listening to patients’ hearts and lungs, interpreting x-rays and EKGs, and perfecting the craft of the history and physical exam. This coming year we’ll learn more about chronic illnesses and management, so I’ll be able to deepen my clinical knowledge and skills.

I was happy that I was able to recognize a lot of drug names since Pharm is one of my favorite classes and could ask questions about treatment plans and care management. Most of the pediatric cases were acute tonsillitis, acute otitis media, bronchopneumonia, bronchiolitis, and complications of sickle cell disease (SCD). I was able to see an infant that was diagnosed with Trisomy 21 aka Down syndrome and had a heart murmur. I was also able to see a patient that had a palpable thrill and murmur. I sat in on my first Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) meeting and learned a lot about that part of medical care. I also participated in various lectures on proper handwashing skills, stages and treatment of malnutrition, how to properly clean the umbilical cord postpartum, triaging, and common respiratory/cardiovascular diseases in children.

One of the most memorable days was when I clerked with one of the fifth-year medical students. His partner wasn’t coming till the afternoon, so I was there to make sure he asked all of the right questions. We exchanged mnemonics on the history of present illness (we learned OLDCARTS and he learned SOCRATES) and social history. I quickly jotted down all the aspects of the history that should be asked and felt grateful that my school had forced us to create our own SOAP note from scratch countless times. He was grateful that I was able to ensure he asked all of the necessary questions. Our main differential was Vaso-occlusive crisis as a complication of SCD. Our other differentials were osteomyelitis and cellulitis. Both doctors ended up supporting our top differential and it felt good to be able to come up with the correct diagnosis. The child also had otitis media but we weren’t sure if it was secondary to the SCD since they are more prone to infections, or independent of the SCD.

All in all I learned a lot this week, more than I ever thought I would and I’m so excited to rotate in other parts of the hospital. This experience is strengthening my desire to go into Family Medicine even more apparent and necessary.

Yes, I recommend this program

I completed a global health practicum in La Paz, Bolivia in March 2018. Rather than working in a clinical setting, I worked with an NGO that had developed a micro health insurance (MHI) product for very low income persons living in La Paz. The NGO was experiencing challenges in meeting their sales goals, and the focus of my practicum was identifying barriers in selling/purchasing MHI and providing recommendations to overcome these barriers.

This practicum was a particularly important experience for me because I did not have any previous experience in public health. In addition to learning about what it is like to work in the field, I also learned several invaluable lessons about developing, implementing, and promoting public health programs.

I found both the NGO and CFHI staff friendly, supportive, willing to teach me, and willing to learn from me. The local CFHI staff was particularly helpful - they were always available to answer questions or help resolve any issues. My homestay accommodations were very high quality, and in a location convenient to the office.

The also program offered flexibility to travel on weekends, so that you can explore and learn more about Bolivian culture.

All in all, this was a wonderful experience and I am glad I participated in the program!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The Uyuni Salt Flats - you would not think that a salt flat would be interesting or fun, but it's a really beautiful location with a very interesting history.


Displaying 1 - 9 of 13
Child Family Health International
Global Health Experiential Education in Ghana
9.57 •14 reviews

Discover the cultural intricacies of Ghana, located in West Africa...

Child Family Health International
Global Health Experiential Education in Uganda
9 •10 reviews

Allow Uganda to change you. CFHI provides immersion programs with an...

Child Family Health International
Global Health Experiential Education in Ecuador
9.71 •7 reviews

Observe, learn, and experience Ecuador’s healthcare system first-hand...

Child Family Health International
Global Health Experiential Education in India
9.29 •7 reviews

Let the world change you in India. CFHI provides a variety of public...

Child Family Health International
Global Health Experiential Education in Mexico
9.25 •4 reviews

Become immersed in rich Oaxacan culture by living with local families...

Child Family Health International
Global Health Experiential Education in South Africa
South Africa
9 •4 reviews

Experience the diversity and multiculturalism of the rainbow nation...

Child Family Health International
Global Health Experiential Education in the Philippines
8 •1 review

Experience one of CFHI’s newest program locations, now with 2 week...

Child Family Health International
Global Health Experiential Education in Argentina
10 •1 review

Let the world change you in Argentina. Travel to the city of Cordoba...

Child Family Health International
Global Health Experiential Education in Bolivia
10 •1 review

Become immersed in Bolivian culture by living with local families in...

Alumni Interviews

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

Sharon Goh

Sharon is an aspiring obstetrician/gynecologist who is passionate about maternal and child health. She graduated college with a degree in Biology and is currently working in the research sector in Boston, Massachusetts.

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.

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