The CFHI Remote Island Medicine program in the Philippines is an amazing way to get hands on knowledge and experience in the global and public health field. Much of the program is focused on clinical exposure, shadowing, and learning about health inequities. For me, I had learned about global and public health in the classroom but never had any real exposure to the field. This program was a way for me to understand the field through valuable experience.
The cool thing about CFHI is that they really are a vehicle for you to connect to the local community. I really wanted a program that was working with local organizations, not just an American organization going into a community and doing “good work”. CFHI makes the connection to the local community, and then the rest is up to the local directors in the Philippines. So when it comes to ethical standards and ethical service, CFHI did a great job.
Another great factor in this program is its connection to small, tight knit communities in the Philippines. While you will spend some time in Manila, the bulk of your time will be on smaller islands and living in small communities with host families. Living within the community was my favorite part of the internship, as I made friends with my host families, with nurses in the Rural Health Unit, and with other local personalities. I'm still in contact with my friends from the Philippines today!
This program will not only expose you to the global health field and medicine, but it will also challenge you to think ethically and critically about community engagement, it will challenge you to become involved in the community, it will challenge you to learn about a new culture and attempt to learn a new language! The community partnerships you make in the Philippines will be long lasting if you put in the effort, as I'm already planning to spend a year there following graduation!