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Child Family Health International

Why choose 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.

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

CFHI is deeply committed to supporting BIPOC participants in our programs, building our programs and operations from a basis of anti-oppression, anti-racist, and anti-colonial approaches. We work closely with our Global Team to provide participants with location-specific information regarding local customs, norms and recommendations. During pre-departure preparation, we encourage participants to discuss their identities, needs, abilities, and concerns and set up 1:1 planning calls to ensure questions are answered, and a robust support system is established before travel. In addition, our local teams and CFHI leadership are available 24/7 to offer support and assistance.

LGBTQIA+ Support

At CFHI, we are dedicated to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for participants of all identities, including those within the LGBTQIA+ community. We firmly believe in equal access to quality global health education, ensuring that everyone can engage and thrive. We collaborate with our local teams to provide resources and support to participants that is specific to each program and location. During pre-departure, participants are encouraged to discuss their unique concerns and set up 1:1 planning calls to ensure questions are answered and a robust support system is established before travel. Through these efforts, we aim to foster an environment where participants can learn, grow, and make meaningful connections while participating in global health experiences.

Neurodivergent Support

CFHI encourages participants to discuss their accommodation needs with CFHI after acceptance to their program to ensure we understand the accommodations needed and be well prepared to support them. Before departure, our team will work directly with each student and their institution (if relevant) and will make every possible effort to implement learning and physical accommodations and adaptations, remove barriers and allow full access to the extent possible without fundamentally altering the program's essential structure and standards. If it is not possible to accommodate a student on their first choice of program due to significant structural barriers or similar, CFHI will work with the student and their institution to select another suitable program option.

Accessibility Support

CFHI encourages participants to discuss their accommodation needs with CFHI after acceptance to their program to ensure we understand the accommodations needed and be well prepared to support them. Before departure, our team will work directly with each student and their institution and will make every possible effort to implement learning and physical accommodations and adaptations, remove barriers and allow full access to the extent possible without fundamentally altering the program's essential structure and standards. If it is not possible to accommodate a student on their first choice of program due to significant structural barriers or similar, CFHI will work with the student and their institution to select another suitable program option

Impact

Sustainability

Sustainability is at the core of our partnerships at CFHI. Our longstanding global partnerships, spanning more than 10+ years, reflect our ethical and Fair-Trade approach. CFHI's organizational values emphasize our interconnectedness as humans sharing one planet. To expand educational opportunities while reducing our organizational carbon footprint, we offer a range of virtual/online programs. Additionally, several programs focus on Planetary Health and encourage participants through our Planetary Health Pledge to commit to actionable initiatives that contribute to a healthier planet. Through these efforts, we are dedicated to nurturing sustainable and enduring relationships with our partners and the planet.

Ethical Impact

CFHI is a leader in community-based Global Health Education Programs with over 30 years of experience and in Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. CFHI's work has centered around offering safe, ethical, and sustainable global health education opportunities to trainees and academic partners. Our research and scholarship have focused on documenting the harm caused by neocolonial and paternalistic approaches to global health engagement and collaboratively developing standards and best practices rooted in Fair Trade Learning Principles, Asset-Based approaches, and appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks. Through immersive experiences, participants are embedded in existing health systems, deepening their understanding of host countries' health landscapes, refining intercultural communication, exploring complex health realities, and cultivating a commitment to global health ethics.

Reviews

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Sarah
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable Experience!

I am an undergraduate student from the United States studying Health Sciences with a minor in Spanish. I chose CFHI's Global Health in Argentina because it perfectly encompasses my interests in language and healthcare studies. I had a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend this program! I spent days shadowing at the local hospital, practicing Spanish, and learning about the local culture. It was truly a one of a kind experience where I was fully immersed in the beautiful culture and learned about the world on a global scale.

The hospital shadowing experience was very well-rounded as I was able to observe pediatrics in dermatology, rehabilitation, mental health, emergency, and surgery. Everyone at the hospital was very welcoming and made it a great learning environment for me as an observer. I got to learn and understand the Argentinian healthcare system first hand and absorb all that I could learn from those experiences. Throughout my two weeks in Argentina, I was constantly challenged in my communication skills as I practiced the Spanish language. The patience of my host family and those in the hospital went a long way.

Living with a local host family was another major part of the experience and something that is now very special to me. My host family was extremely welcoming and taught me a lot about Argentina through their perspective. As soon as I arrived, I was connected with the local coordinators and the other CFHI students. I appreciate CFHI because I felt supported every step of the way and the coordinators made sure that all aspects of the program were well organized.

This experience has shaped me as a student, professional, and individual. I built so many long-lasting relationships and Córdoba, Argentina will now hold a special place in my heart forever.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to just do it! Get out of your comfort zone, be open minded, take the leap and you will not regret it. Global studies are so valuable and not only will you learn a lot during this experience, but you will have so much fun along the way!
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Emily
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly Recommend !

I participated in Child Family Health International's program in Kabale, Uganda hosted by the Kigezi Healthcare Foundation. I spent an incredible month learning about Uganda's healthcare system, social determinants of health and KIHEFO's innovative solutions to public health issues across the region. From pre-departure training to returning home, I felt supported by CFHI every step of the way. I was impressed by CFHI’s dedication to global health ethics and would highly recommend CFHI to anyone seeking an immersive experience abroad.

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Inglyand
5/5
No, I don't recommend this program

I Love CFHI!!!

My experience with CHI was nothing short of amazing!
During my clinicals settings, the medical officers were very welcoming and engaging in conversations. They all were more than happy to help me understand medical issues and expose me to different cases I may not have been exposed to back home. My favorite part of clinicals was attending surgeries every Wednesday. This experience was amazing because I was able to witness all the moving parts that play a role in surgeries and it was also my first time watching surgeries be performed on children as young as 2 months old! I also really enjoyed the Outpatient Department and being able to see all the new cases and clinics each week. This was super interesting and engaging because there was something new that I could learn every day from asthma clinic, neuro clinic, and just regular OPD. I developed cultural competency during my time here which will really help me with my career in the future when dealing with diverse populations. Finally, outside of clinicals, I was able to have the independence to explore the city and learn more about myself. I felt extremely safe in Accra and being able to go out and explore during my free time allowed me to learn many things about myself and pushed me out of my comfort zone. The local team was extremely accommodating and very nice! They always were available if I needed anything or had any questions.
This experience really changed my life for the better and I am so happy I meet so many great people and I plan to continue to build on the friendships I have made. CFHI is the absolute best and I HIGHLY recommend this program!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open minded! Be willing to put yourself out there and learn and experience new things! I loved going alone when I finally got acclimated and I learned so much about myself!
Pros
  • Exploration
  • Freedom to move around
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Trevor
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Global Health in Quito, Ecuador. Feb 2024

I’m a fourth-year medical student who participated in the Global Health in Quito, Ecuador program through CFHI. I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested in learning more about the unique Ecuadorian healthcare system, practicing Spanish with host families, patients, and other healthcare workers, and exploring Quito, surrounding cities, and the Galapagos! I spent three weeks in Quito and 1 week in Otavalo at many different clinical sites including OBGYN clinic and wards, the OR, the pediatric ED, and primary care clinics. I spent many hours practicing speaking with Spanish and building my physical exam skills. I was able to really explore what makes the Ecuadorian healthcare system so unique and get an understanding of how it operates. Throughout my month, I participated in many home visits for patients that couldn’t make it to the clinic, which allowed me to see more of the country and the people of Ecuador. My host family was amazing. They made me feel very welcomed and treated me as a part of their family. We only spoke in Spanish so that I could be fully immersed and continue to improve my Spanish. They made sure I had everything I needed and gave me wonderful advice on fun things to do in the city and surrounding areas on my free afternoons and weekends. My daily Spanish classes were very helpful and focused on getting a solid foundation in medical Spanish to make my time in clinic easier. The afternoon excursions through the school allowed me even more time to learn about Ecuadorian history and culture and practice Spanish in a real-life setting. After my program ended, I went to the Galapagos Islands where I saw thousands of animals and saw firsthand many of the things I had learned as an undergraduate Biology major – including visiting museums focused on the discoveries of Charles Darwin!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Quito is located high up in the mountains. Although it's on the Equator, the weather in February could be a bit cold, especially in the evenings because of the altitude. Also, it may not be a bad idea to talk to your doctor about prophylactic altitude sickness medication while you adjust to the altitude. Don't plan on doing anything too physically strenuous your first few days after you arrive!
Pros
  • Spanish speaking with host families!
  • Many different clinical sites throughout your month.
  • Lots of things to do in Quito and lots of places to explore outside of Quito.
Cons
  • Be careful for pickpockets in Quito- especially at night!
  • It may be difficult to interact during medical rotations if you don't have at least a bit of Spanish knowledge beforehand.
  • Be prepared for the altitude! You'll adjust quickly, though.
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Rosemary
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A very memorable experience!

CFHI is a great program to experience cultural immersion, clinical exposure, and language acquisition. It was a very well rounded experience with a lot of helpful support in place from the coordinators, my host family, and alumni advisor. We had enough structure in our schedule to reap benefits from the experience and enough free time to relax and enjoy the environment. I definitely would recommend it to other students!

It was interesting to see some of the common chronic diseases (diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia) because of diet and food access, also seeing unique tropical diseases like Dengue and Chagas, and seeing the younger age that women tend to have children as a result of social factors.

My host mom was very kind and helpful and an amazing cook! She would always be interested to get a recap of our days so we could practice our Spanish. I really enjoyed my stay with her.

Spanish classes were also super helpful and I learned a lot that helped me increase my fluency. My teacher, Rocio was extremely kind, patient, and supportive to help us make progress on a lot of grammatical and conversational skills.

The many beautiful beaches and the overall environment in Puerto Escondido were very beautiful to enjoy. We even took a weekend trip to Oaxaca which was also a wonderful place to visit.

Programs

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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.

Amy Krzyzek

Job Title
Assistant Director, Africa, Asia-Pacific, and US Programs
Amy is passionate about the field of experiential education and has 8 years of experience managing global education programs in the Global South. She feels really grateful to work for an organization that engages in conversations around ethics and social justice, and that tangibly supports the work of communities and NGOs in the places where she works.
Amy Krzyzek standing in front of a seaside view with mountains in the distance

What is your favorite travel memory?

In 2019, I was working in Nepal for a couple months, and I was able to do several days of trekking in the Annapurna region. One morning, we woke up really early to climb to a snowy peak at 12,000 ft, and we were greeted with the most beautiful sunrise, with 360 degree views of the Himalayas. There were only a few other people there, and we all silently enjoyed the stunning views together, with mugs of hot chai in hand.

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

I used to travel with students and serve as lead educator on global education programs. Now, I am behind the scenes, where I have the opportunity to support partners in Asia, Africa, and the US to be the stars of the show. It's really great to have students be taught by our global partners, as these local leaders are the true experts of the global health challenges and solutions in their contexts.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Last summer, a talented student shared a beautifully-illustrated journal of her experiences in India, and I appreciated seeing her reflections and all of the day-to-day changes that occurred in her thinking. These small shifts in perspectives, assumptions, and worldviews plant seeds that help shape our studies and our careers.

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

I grew up in a rural area and enjoy learning about the challenges of delivering healthcare in rural/remote settings. For that reason, some programs I am drawn to are Remote Island Medicine in the Philippines, Rural/Urban Himalayan Rotation in India, and Maternal Child Health, HIV, & Realities of Health Access in Uganda.

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

We are thought leaders in the field of global health education, and we are always pushing to advance ethics in this space. We do this in formal ways, including publishing research. We also do this informally in our conversations with academic partners and students. We know that universities, students, and professionals often have good intentions, but good intentions are not enough. CFHI is committed to ensuring that global health programs have positive impacts on locally-led health initiatives.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe the biggest factor in being a successful company is that CFHI is so fortunate to have a network of global partners across 12 countries. We work with 200+ individuals in about 75 clinics, hospitals, and NGOs at our sites. This network of global health leaders who teach and support our students is without a doubt our greatest asset.

Professional Associations

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