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November 29, 2012

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November 29, 2012

The first two weeks were spent getting to know people, adapting to the new culture, and trying my hardest to learn this new language. I loved getting to know all the students in the program. We all came from different states and had different paths for our medical careers, but we all had similarities that allowed us to get along with one another. There were people in med school or working to get into med school, public health majors, nursing majors, and someone about to go to dentistry school. We all shared the common belief that we wanted to help people and we wanted learn and understand another culture other than our own, which helped us get along. It was nice having someone to talk to when you were missing your family, and one of the best parts about being with a group of people is we were always going and exploring the new environment. There were so many things to go do on the weekends. We took trips to Otavalo, Banos, Cotopaxi, Cuenca, the jungle, and much more. One of my main regrets was that at first I wasn’t going on weekend trips because I wanted to stay and take more Spanish classes. Taking extra classes is good, and I am sure it helped me a little bit; still the best way to learn is by going out and talking to people. Learning about the culture and experiencing it. I realized this later on and decided to change my flight for a later date and allow more time to travel. Anyone who is planning to have an experience like this one, I suggest planning time and allocating money to travel, even if it is weekend trips. The public transportation in Ecuador was cheap and interesting; I saw so many things I would never see in a plane. On the way to Cuenca, I got to see so much of the Andes Mountains. We got to see how different cultures were from different parts of Ecuador. People that live in Cuenca have a different culture than people that live in Otavalo and people that live near the jungle have a different culture also. Ecuador is so diversified. I highly suggest visiting different places and planning time after rotations to see some of the amazing places in Ecuador if anyone is planning to do this program.
During clinical, I was able to see and learn many things about the culture. My eyes were opened about how people live on limited resources. When there is limited access to resources, the health care that is given is limited. Patient satisfaction and comfort is the last concern. During my clinical I got to apply knowledge and skills that I learned in nursing school. I was pleased to develop a better understanding of global health care and community health. Each clinical taught me a lot about family practice and preventative health.
This experience has developed me into a stronger and wiser person. I see the world in a different light. I believe I have only started to open my mind into seeing what the world is truly like. I have now seen what it is like for people who have to fight every day. I appreciate all the blessings and luxuries that I have growing up as an American citizen I can’t even put into words how amazing this trip was. I hope to make more trips like this in my lifetime and expand my knowledge about the world.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unsure

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

October 2, 2012

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October 2, 2012

I was a volunteer with CFHI’s Public Health & Community Medicine in India program in August 2012. I chose this program because while I feel that while health care workers and doctors are instrumental in increasing a population’s health, they are not able to do it alone. Public health infrastructure is essential to keeping people healthy and providing programs and resources. I felt that CFHI’s program in India was unique from a lot other programs I considered. Our rotations ranged greatly, exposing us to many challenges that India faces. Our visits included free outreach medical care programs in addition to well-funded private hospitals. We had discussion with female sex workers, went to juvenile de-addiction centers, and homes for street children among others.
The program was well organized and I never on my own could have seen and visited all the organizations we went to. The local coordinators were very helpful, not only with logistics, but they were also great resources to understanding more about India and the culture. The program did not sugar-coat any medical or public health issues, and I felt I got a much more real understanding than I could have from any book or article.
I am applying to medical school, and the public health rotations in this program gave me a more unique perspective and deeper understanding of the complex issues involved in providing health care in a developing nation than clinical work alone could have.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

September 14, 2012

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September 14, 2012

I went to Oaxaca in 2006 as a part of the first cohort with my undergrad university and CFHI was incredible. They were well prepared, accommodating, and super helpful. The clinical rotations were really great and the doctors were as eager to teach as we were to learn. Even in the midst of some intense political turmoil, CFHI made me feel safe and cared for. They also were able to secure rotations even when we were evacuated to the coastline because our university decided it was too unsafe for us to stay in the city centre.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006

September 9, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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September 9, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

I was a volunteer with the CFHI Rural/Urban Himalayan program in Uttarkhand, India in August 2012. There were three students involved in the program at the time and we spent four weeks living in a variety of settings and experiencing the different modes of health care delivery in each place. Overall, the experience was fantastic from a cultural and public health perspective. Health care and the large-scale challenges in health infrastructure in India were very different from my home country, Canada. I gained a much better understanding of the crucial role that social and environmental determinants play in health. Clinically, the placement did not offer many learning opportunities directly related to clinical, patient management on an individual level. However, I went into the program expecting that to be the case and I am already a medical student in Canada so I know I will get that clinical experience at home. Most importantly, I never felt as though my position as a foreign student was ethically questionable or exploitive. I was particularly welcomed by the staff at the Landour Community Hospital in Mussoorie, and I plan to go back some day and spend more time there. It was a Christian hospital, which may not be appealing to all students, so be aware of that when you sign up for the rotation. I never felt pushed to join in with religious services etc. Logistically, the program coordinators did a good job. We never had any transport issues and the home stay was very comfortable. Overall, I would recommend this program to medical or public health students, with the caveat that it is not a hands-on clinical experience.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Unsure

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A little

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

August 16, 2012

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August 16, 2012

I think this is a good time to look back and reflect a bit on the hospital experience in some detail. It was amazing to be able to go to places and observe things that I’ve never had the opportunity to go or see before. Even though there were some slow days, overall I loved it.

So, this is
how the overall month went. Each week we rotated to different hospitals or to different units within hospitals and tagged along with Doctors/Surgeons and Nurses. Some weeks we would go to multiple different locations. While in these rotations we would observe so much. We got to follow along in rounds, and occasionally even participate in the discussions, and we were able to observe almost all aspects of the state health care system. In my time in South Africa, I spent a week in King Edward’s Pediatrics Department as well as it’s Surgery Department. In surgery, I was able to observe some amazing procedures such as laparoscopic gall bladder removal and (in the trauma ward) the insertion of an intercostal tube into a stabbing victim. That was amazing!

I was also able to spend a full week at St.Mary’s Hospital, where I did rounds in the medical ward, pediatric inpatient ward, and pediatric outpatient ward. I also spent a considerable amount of time in the theater as well as the Antiretroviral (ARV) Clinic. The last week of my stay, I also had the opportunity to visit an orphanage (picture below) and go to the Malagasy clinic, which was a really great experience. At the clinic I got to see firsthand the first line of institutionalized healthcare; the place where basically everyone went previous to arriving to the hospitals. This time spent within the medical system of Durban was more amazing than anything else I’ve had the opportunity to do in my pursuit of medicine thus far. It was stunning to be able to interact with patients and physicians on such an intimate level (or as intimately as possible given the language barrier with many patients). One of the most interesting things for me was that, as an African-American, this is the first time I’ve ever truly just blended in. It seems like a minor thing, but it was strange to me to be surrounded by other black men and women everywhere. At hospitals where I’ve been before, I always stuck out like a sore thumb, but here, I was home. I truly loved it.

Photos

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Some

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Okay

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

August 14, 2012

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August 14, 2012

I was a participant of one of the CFHI programs, Confronting Tropical Infectious Diseases in Mumbai, India this past July 2012. This volunteer experience has taught me so much about the world and myself. I have learned that I can adjust to any circumstances and live in any place in the world. I am looking forward to become a doctor and to practice medicine in rural areas where the supply for is limited and highly need it.
I knew that being part of this program and being exposed to a complete different culture will aid in increasing my awareness for global health understanding, I just did not know up to what level my understanding will increase. The experiences I have acquired through this program will facilitate to establish self-confidence as a future physician. They will enhance the development of trust between my future patients and me regardless the difference in religious beliefs and culture.
Along with gaining new skills, I also enjoy learning about India, and its people, culture and customs. There is no right or wrong way to do things, there are just many different ways to do them and accomplish the same results and goals.
One of the challenges I faced was not speaking Hindi. My channels of communication with people from this country were limited due to this barrier. I could not understand what they were saying either, although being humble and having a smile helped me to feel welcomed everywhere I went.
I am looking forward to get involved in more programs that will allow me to visit countries where there are an increasing number of underserved communities in need for medical care. I recommend this program for anyone thinking about specializing in Infectious Diseases. Visit www.cfhi.org and click on Confronting Tropical Disease Challenges in Mumbai Program for more details

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

August 6, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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August 6, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

This was an amazing experience for me. I had never flown to another country before, so I really did not know what to expect. CFHI really took care of me when I was there, placing me in an excellent homestay and checking in with me regularly. They also answered all questions that I had before the program began very promptly and were very accomadating to my schedule (I went outside of the recommended program start and end dates and did not have any problems). It is hard to offer points of improvement for constructive feedback. The program is a bit expensive, combined with the cost of flights to the country. However the cost is well worth it, and CFHI provides fundraising suggestions for you. As for the program itself, I had much freedom to do what I was comfortable with. Perhaps this could very with each preceptor at the locations, which would be outside of CFHI's control, but their medical director allows flexibility in scheduling to change rotations if you are unsatisfied (the same with your host stay as well). I got more clinical exposure than in Med1 back in the states, doing physicals on children with things like pneumonia, hip displasia, and meningitis. I have my strongest recommendations for the program.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

August 3, 2012

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August 3, 2012

When I had initially embarked on this trip I had low expectations of the future while in South Africa. By this I mean I knew that life would have been different from the United States but how different was something I could paint in my mind. I was also a bit perplexed at the idea of living with perfect strangers as my home stay family. However this trip ended up being a learning experience as well as a sense of connection with others whom I had previously never encountered in life. During my stay I was able to appreciate the community life and family life that is shared among each South African citizens. Everyone is different but very alike as they tied with the past, present and promising future. Although life was very different to a great extent to life in the United States we are somehow very alike. We share the same stress and common goals in life. There was no difference in the heart of a person unless one chose to look at the color of their skins. I had very friendly neighbors that made my trip worth while. My daily activities after the hospital were varied and always fun. At times it always felt as if there was so much to do and so little time to do it. I was very please with how amicable the atmosphere was in the hospital among professionals. Although there was a great amount of stress applied to the work and seriousness there was also a sense of ease that helped to make the work easy. I learned a lot about the Zulu culture as well as the Zulu language. I admire their prairies and vast landscape that are almost never ending. The tourism in the country was something that we were all driven to achieve. I learned about strength and courage as I watched people around me deal with daily struggle of life with great optimism. The struggle of a family for clean water and electricity was something I was familiar with through the stories of my country of birth the Democratic Republic of Congo. I was able to share with the people of South Africa my life experience as well as give hope by showing them that their struggles although significant are somewhat better in certain areas than the struggles of other African nations.. In the Cape, I was able to see the both the similarity and difference the socio-economic lifestyle of its citizens. For instance, there were parts of the cities in which you will find only a certain culture which was mainly influence by the race that lives in that community. I remember going out one night in the sea point neighborhood and it was beyond belief the lifestyle that I saw there. I must say there was absolutely no difference between the city of Los Angeles and some part of the cape. One strange thing that did strike me the most was the lack of crime. I was almost always expecting the worst because we hear stories but truthfully I got to realize that all stories are a bit exaggerated. In short, this trip gave me a mirror image to myself. I was able to enter another world and see how intricate and similar it is from the one I know, but it also allow me to look into myself and appreciate as well as compare certain things I have in my world.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've not yet to experience the results of this organization in my community or place of work but I am confident that sometime soon I will see these results.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would perhaps increase the time and different field students are exposed to.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

Time spent at the hospital and various places

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Absolutely, profound effect.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

My volunteer experience made me feel rewarded because I felt as if I made an impact in people lives every second of the time I spent volunteering.

August 1, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

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August 1, 2012
1 person found this review helpful

I have been a board member for 10 years, 2 of which were as Chair. I do this because I love the organization, its passion, its relentless pursuit of what its belief systems are, its values, and the friendships build over the years. That time represents 25% of my lifetime, so it should say for something about CFHI. Ajoy Mallik

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

July 30, 2012

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July 30, 2012

This past November I went with Child Family Health International (CFHI) on their Healthcare Challenges in Cape Town, South Africa program. I worked at a public hospital called GH Jooste in Manenberg, a township located right outside Cape Town. I experienced first hand how doctors and nurses had taken care of patients while the hospital was understaffed, overworked and had limited supplies. However, during my time there, the doctors still took time out of their busy days to teach me about a wide variety of tasks including reading ECG graphs, taking blood, interpreting patient histories and lab results, as well as minor surgeries. I shadowed doctors in the trauma department for 3 weeks and then the orthopedic clinic for 2. There I was allowed to apply pops (casts) under supervision and scrub in to observe orthopedic surgery.

My days would begin with rounds, and because GH Jooste was a teaching hospital, every staff member (doctors, nurses, students) participated. Each patient was examined and the resident or supervisor in charge would make each a new “case,” explaining how one would come to a clinical diagnosis and plan out a treatment. Most of the time the doctor would do a quick physical examination, read the blood results and be able to identify what was wrong. As a pre-med student, I came into the program having only a basic biology background and whenever I was lost, someone would always take the time to walk me through each step.

My homestay family, along with the local coordinator and medical director, were amazing and I couldn’t have asked for more. They always called to check in on me and my homestay family was accommodating, warm and welcoming—I felt right at home on the very first day. I still keep in contact with all of them and I miss them dearly!

This program was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had and it was truly life changing. I originally chose this program because I needed to figure out if I wanted to pursue medical school. When I returned, I had no doubt that I wanted to become a doctor. I really hope that other students, whether or not they are going into the medical field, take advantage of CFHI’s programs because what you gain is a once in a lifetime experience.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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