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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 10 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.


2369 Ocean Ave, #200
San Francisco, CA 94127
United States



I came across CFHI as a pre-med student - I wasn't sure what branch of medicine I wanted to study. All I knew was that I was interested in traditional medicine and women's health, and that I liked traveling. I approached their table at a pre-health conference and was insistently drawn into a rich conversation with them. My eyes were immediately opened by CFHI who taught me what global health entails, such as the social determinants of health and the importance of approaching a trip as a learner and observer of the local culture. Being aware of cultural boundaries. Responsible and ethical partnerships. After doing my research, I realized that these values were not common in other abroad programs. I decided that a trip with CFHI would lead to my personal, academic, and professional development and signed up.

Besides the obvious integrity of CFHI, what drew me to CFHI and continues to impress me is the genuine personal attention and sincere compassion towards their students. CFHI is a small organization, and it shows in their student interactions and intimate communication. I felt completely supported throughout the entire process. They want to help their students and make it easy. They encouraged me to apply for a scholarship, with fully funded my trip. The application process was straightforward, as it should be.

CFHI is furthermore unique among other "study/volunteer/work abroad" organizations because of its individual focus. Rather than joining a trip 'slot', you decide where you want to go, what focus you want to have, what specific clinics you want to shadow at, when you want to embark, and for how long. It is totally catered to make it worthwhile for the student, while also assuring the highest quality ethical partnerships with locals. Each day consists of a medical aspect and a cultural aspect, reinforcing the idea that health is more than just the doctor-patient dynamic.

My 6 week trip in Oaxaca, Mexico focused on Women and Maternal Medicine, Midwifery, Indigenous Medicine transformed me, and now I am pursuing to be an OB-GYN, a profession I never would have chosen if it weren't for the eye-opening perspectives I got from my CFHI trip. And for that I am forever grateful. Thanks CFHI for all the opportunities and integrity you are putting into the world.

Yes, I recommend this program
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As a college student, I have to complete field experience in order to graduate. I had already completed the requirements for field experience but wanted to learn more about maternal health. So when I found at that Child Family International had a program dedicated to HIV and Maternal Health, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. I had the honor to receive a scholarship from CFHI which allowed me to go to Uganda. I chose CFHI because of their message of sustainable and ethical methods when sending students overseas. There are many volunteer programs out there but none with such a strong message. In the pre-departure packet, CFHI has students read about cultural competency, volunteerism, and even discussed the savior complex.

The program itself was an amazing experience. CFHI has a partnership with a local Kegezi clinic called Kihefo. The clinic has many departments so students who don't necessarily want to focus just on maternal health have the opportunity to shadow different departments. There is a dental clinic, an HIV/AIDS clinic, a maternal clinic, and a general practice clinic. As an aspiring midwife, I loved going to the maternal health clinic. There I learned how to measure/record a fetal heartbeat, measure how far along a baby is, and common complications. A big highlight for me was watching a live birth. It was amazing and something I would never forget.

The living conditions were very good. We received three meals a day and a water bottle for each meal. The Kihefo apartments are quite nice. There is not hot water all the time but it was totally worth it. The staff here is excellent and everyone is very supportive. I would caution LGBTQA+ students from traveling to Uganda as this is a conservative country. Overall, this was a good experience

How can this program be improved?
It would have been nice to receive our projects the first week instead of the 3rd week we were here. The first two weeks were mostly shadowing.
Yes, I recommend this program
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I came into my experience with Child Family Health International thinking that I would get some hands-on healthcare experience that would make me a better healthcare professional in the future. I came out of it with a new perspective on what health means and a trip that - although different than I was expecting and not "hands-on" - will truly make me a better, more culturally conscious and stronger global citizen and health advocate. 

Through CFHI, I learned to question my perspective and learn from local experts. I learned that health is not only the classes I took, the biological processes I studied or the hospitals I was familiar with, it is social, it is personal and it looks different to each of us. Healthcare in India is something that I am by no means an expert in, which is why I was refreshed that CFHI fosters a learning environment where participants are learners and local experts are teachers, guiding students through the intricacies of global health and social determinants of healthcare in different environments. 

Participating in the CFHI program in Delhi and Dehradun, India broadened my horizon and opened my mind to what it means to provide quality health care around the world, and I am forever grateful. Thank you CFHI!

Yes, I recommend this program
Lake Bunyonyi

Child Family Health International (CFHI) gave me the opportunity to give back to my motherland. I remember interviewing for Belmont's Pharmacy program and telling my interviewer that I would like to go back to Uganda for a month in my fourth year as part of my experiential education. It was a dream then, and now a reality. This was my first global health trip and it was definitely a life-changing experience. Robin and Ally were essential in setting up this trip and I am very grateful for all their help and tireless efforts. This is the first time Belmont University College of Pharmacy has had a rotation site in Uganda and the first Public Health//Missions elective that has lasted an entire month, and it was a great success. Several students are already interested in pursuing this elective in their fourth year and I hope I can return as a CFHI volunteer in the near future. As a person of color and from an underserved community, I was able to learn from first-hand experience of other social determinants that I had not personally experienced. HIV, malnutrition, poverty, and gender inequality are still a reality in many communities, including Kabale, Uganda I feel it is my role, as a global citizen, to start making the right changes as the world continues to change me. I like the Kigezi Healthcare Foundation (Kihefo) model because it integrates sustainable healthcare initiatives that fight disease, poverty, and ignorance. In Kabale, I participated in patient care in the general clinic (most common disease states include malaria, brucellosis, and typhoid), HIV/AIDS clinic, and maternal clinic. Besides my clinical experiences, I participated in gardening and visited a traditional healer for the first time. I learned more about how he incorporates spiritual, traditional, and western medicine. I also had the opportunity to visit the bishop that baptized me as a little girl (he moved to Kabale shortly after he baptized me and I had not seen him since then) and that made me feel like my spiritual circle is now complete. I have many questions after this trip, and I do not have all the answers, but I will continue to learn and be an advocate for quality healthcare for all. Thanks again CFHI and the Thomas Hall Scholar Award! #lettheworldchangeyou

Yes, I recommend this program
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This experience was more than I could have ever asked for. The local coordinators made sure that you constantly felt safe and comfortable. They brought us around town and made sure we felt comfortable navigating around. If you ever had a problem they were more than willing to help out in any way possible and turned into great friends. At the hospital I was in the physical therapy department. The therapists were very kind and welcoming as soon as I arrived. They made sure to answer any questions I had and were eager to teach me about their profession and culture. The most interesting case I saw was a baby girl who was born with only a fibula in one leg. She was there for casting for club foot in her other foot but it was interesting to see the X-ray of her leg. I would definitely recommend putting yourself out there when at the hospital. Don't be afraid to ask questions, get to know the people working there & talk to the patients. There are great relationships that can be made by just talking with others. For me, this experience was unforgettable, but it really is what you make of it. Make sure to try new things, step out of your comfort zone, and build relationships with the people around you.

How can this program be improved?
I think it would be nice if every group that stayed in the house wrote down in a journal the things they discovered while being there such as good places to eat, good places to buy souvenirs, or different places to visit. Every time a group leaves they should add to it so there are a lot of different options. It would also be nice if the volunteers could get a house key so they didn't feel like they couldn't leave if they didn't want to bother the coordinators.
Yes, I recommend this program


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