Child Family Health International

Rating: 4.56 stars   112 reviews


995 Market St Ste 1104 San Francisco CA 94103 USA


Founded in 1992, Child Family Health International is a global family of committed professionals and students who work to strengthen communities at the grassroots level. We are united by a vision of advancing quality healthcare for all by creating global health education programs that are socially responsible and financially just. We are recognized by the United Nations.


-->Established in 1992 -->20+ sites in 7 countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, South Africa, Uganda) -->8,000+ volunteers have completed programs to date -->Supports & works with 250+ medical professionals around the world -->Donated over $10 million in medical supplies/equipment -->Offers professional development opportunities to global medical partners -->Academic Partners include UC Davis, Northwestern University, Northeastern University, etc. -->Awarded Special Consultative Status with the United Nations (ECOSOC) Economic and Social Council, July 2008

Target demographics:

Our students explore what health care and public health are like in developing countries while experiencing local culture and issues. Our program fees help support the local underserved communities where we work. We have enrolled 8,000+ students to date.

Direct beneficiaries per year:

700+ students and 250+ CFHI community partners (doctors and businesses, NGOs)

Geographic areas served:

Worldwide, with a focus on the US, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, South Africa, Uganda, and India.


GLOBAL HEALTH INTERNSHIPS : Experience global health through 4 to 16 week programs in Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, India, Mexico, Uganda & South Africa. Open to all with an interest in global health/medicine. INTERNATIONAL GRANTS: CFHI indirectly provides critical medical services to our partners abroad. Support CFHI's efforts in bringing village-based health care to underserved areas. HEALTH PROMOTER TRAINING: CFHI trains community-based health workers and teaches local members about preventive medicine and public health issues. Equipped with medicines and supplies physicians often see over 400 patients in a month.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Child Family Health International

Rating: 5 stars  

I attended CFHI's two week intensive Tropical Medicine and Community Health program in Puerto Escondido.

CFHI programs appealed to me because they are not for profit and based in partnership and exchange. Their motto, “Let the world change you,” is real and something that all of us in dominant cultures should do more. Being in Puerto with CFHI was a transformative experience. It was helped me to expand my view of community and global health, and see the ways in which our actions in the United States and modern medicine affect the rest of the world.

I was welcomed into the clinical settings and appreciated the ethical approach of CFHI surrounding international experiences in healthcare. Volunteering to "fix" problems in other countries from an ethnocentric position doesn't usually create sustainable change - and often is damaging to communities. I really appreciated how the medical director in Puerto was a public health doctor in the community. Our (excellent) language classes and homestay were through another local business - and very professional. My whole experience in Puerto felt like real service learning, and was built upon long-term sustainable relationships.

My time in Oaxaca was illuminating in that I could see how all different kinds of medicine can coexist. And I also found people that I could relate to, especially in terms of the paradigm shift we want to create. It’s not always easy to merge the old with the new. We need evidence-based practices in healthcare, but we also need the wisdom and knowledge of our ancestors – and we are losing this with each passing generation. We need to reconnect the mind and spirit to the body when we’re working with patients and we desperately need all forms of healing on all levels – from individual to community to global.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I went to Oaxaca, Mexico with CFHI for a month. This was my first time practicing medicine abroad and I appreciate how careful they were about making sure that I only did what I was qualified to do unlike other programs which sometimes let people do things way above their level. They were always available which made me feel safe at any point I was in Mexico. My home stay, clinics and hospitals I visited, and Spanish school were all set up and ready to go upon my arrival. I rotated through peds, surgery, internal med, L&D, ED... My medical director was extremely receptive of what I wanted out of my experience.

I got way more out of this experience than I could have possibly imagined. I previously shied away from short missions trips because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to fully immerse myself in the culture and really get something out of it while giving back. This trip with CFHI was perfect because my role often fell at the same level as it would be in the US which made it easier to feel immersed into the environment. The only down side is that it was quite expensive, but CFHI did help cover half my funds with a scholarship which was easy to apply for.

A month was also the perfect amount of time to get to know plenty of people, learn medical knowledge in Spanish, and get to know the area well enough that I would feel comfortable visiting another time (which I can't wait to do). I absolutely recommend it to any other med (or nursing) students!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I just returned from an amazing month-long global health experience in Quito with Child Family Health International. I witnessed some great medicine, took Spanish classes, immersed myself in the culture through a homestay, adventured across Ecuador, and made many lifelong friends. I learned so much about both medicine and myself through this experience. While any country will have differences in policy and operations I was surprised at just how similar clinic in Quito was when compared to my experiences in the US. In a way, it was beautiful illustration of how universal the human condition is. No matter where you are from, what work you do, or how you identify, all humans face the same medical problems across the world. This is a simple and obvious truth that is surprisingly difficult to grasp until you experience it firsthand. From stomachaches and cough to cancer and dementia, humanity can’t escape illness and (hopefully) doctors will always be there to aid and heal those in need. I highly recommend CFHI to any medical student!

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Rating: 5 stars  

It’s been one week since I got home from my amazing trip to Argentina and there has not been a single day where I haven’t talked about the incredible experience I had. I enjoyed it so much that my only regret is not staying longer than two weeks. When I arrived in Cordoba for the Hospital Medicine program, I was greeted by Carlos (one of the local coordinators for CFHI) at the airport and he took me to my homestay. I got to stay with an incredibly kind woman whose daughter and two granddaughters lived in their own apartment not far from us so I really got to bond with all four of them. The other local CFHI coordinator, Charly, taught me how to get to the hospital using the local bus system and after that I was set to make the most of my two weeks.

All of the doctors, residents, and students in the hospital were so helpful and always took the time to explain what they were doing whether it was a basic physical exam, an EKG, or stitching up a wound. I got to spend every morning in the local emergency hospital and I learned so much it was amazing. As soon as I told people that I was a student from the United States, they would ask me lots of questions about California (where I’m from) and about the medical school process in the US compared to Argentina. Everyone was really friendly so I felt very comfortable right away. I loved getting up and going to the hospital every morning because I knew that in the four hours that I was there, I was going to learn so much. I really wish I had planned to stay for at least a month because two weeks was not nearly enough! I am so grateful that CFHI put together this amazing program and I definitely plan on participating in more CFHI programs in the future!!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am forever changed by my Ugandan experience. Thank you CFHI for this amazing opportunity, and thank you KIHEFO for accepting me like family. This was truly a once in a lifetime adventure. CFHI provided me with an opportunity to be immersed in Ugandan culture. This is the way to experience global health! I was forced to put my own assumptions aside and learn to think about health from a different perspective. I left Uganda with a new sense of purpose and a renewed passion for global healthcare.

Uganda is a great country with even greater people. I will never forget the special people that I met. The KIHEFO staff was incredible and truly did everything possible to ensure that I enjoyed my stay. I am forever grateful for there amazing hospitality. This entire experience has changed my outlook on not only health but also on life. 

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Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I regret not reviewing CFHI's Cape Town project beforehand as CFHI's reputation got the best of me. It is apt to say that the program is total rubbish. Here is some information that you are not told.

1) There is NO clinical rotation. CFHI's webpage advertises the opportunity to observe in general surgery, general medicine, pediatrics, HIV clinic, and casualty. The reality is that you are placed in Internal Medicine for the duration of the program. When I brought this fact up, one of the coordinators, Avril, got mad and replied word for word "Why can't you be open to the experience?"

2) The staff offers ZERO accommodation. It was extremely frustrating to work with Avril and Marion (coordinators of the program). It seems that their answers to any problems in the program are "Be open minded", "Don't let the small things get to you", and "You are already blessed to have this opportunity". The driver associated with the program is one of the grumpiest, least accommodating person that I've encountered. You are picked up at 6:30, because he doesn't want to sit in traffic. You arrive at 7, and you wait until 8 to begin observing.

3) The planning of the homestay is counter logic. All the volunteers are placed in a neighborhood called Vanguard Estate. It is in the region called Athlone. Two blocks down is a massive township called Langa. Think townships as one grade above slums. You can imagine that the neighborhood is not safe at all. Additionally, you are in a remote location where there is nothing fun to do. To head to the city where most attractions are, you have to either take Uber or drive. You can imagine the accumulated cost for that.

I speak from the bottom of my heart when I say that you should avoid this program. If you want to be placed in South Africa, choose Durban. It seems that project has more positive reviews, and I doubt it can be worse than Cape Town's project. Save yourself money and time.

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(Nonprofit Staff) wrote:

Thank you for sharing this feedback with us. We are sorry to hear that the program did not match your expectations. We take this type of feedback very seriously we welcome the opportunity to continue to improve. I would like to encourage you to contact us directly so that we may learn more about your concerns and address them directly. Thank you for again for your feedback and for bringing these important issues to our attention. Sincerely, Robin Young, Assistant Director- Africa and Asia, Child Family Health International. Email:

Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

CFHI is an amazing organization that does an excellent job melding a learning experience with assisting global communities. I've been a part of many nonprofit organizations and CFHI is by far one of the most organized and thought provoking. As a volunteer in both South Africa and India, I felt well immersed and blended into the local communities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

CFHI India went above and beyond to provide me an amazing public health experience in Delhi. I learned far more than I anticipated, and I'm excited to apply this knowledge to my future career as a public health physician.

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Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This summer I participated in a health related program in Uganda. Through CFHI, I was matched with the KIHEFO general clinic in Kabale Uganda where I was able to shadow physicians in the general clinic. Along with this experience there was a public health component via outreaches in the villages in the Kabale district.

The people were amazingly warm and welcoming. Uganda is a very safe place to be and the program is very structured which is great for those who have never been abroad. There was cultural immersion as well and plenty of time for tourist activities like safari. Overall a great experience.

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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

In the Summer of 2013, I was selected to receive the International Enhancement Grant, from Indiana University’s Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, to finance the, Intensive Beginner Spanish Program sponsored by Child Family Health International (CHFI) in Quito, Ecuador. My experience was incredible!!! As a medical student, the program broadened my context of health care as it relates to the United States and developing countries. The Spanish classes provided by, “The Amazing Andes Spanish School,” especially those that focused on medically related Spanish, were effectively taught and engaging. These classes were particularly helpful when I volunteered at the community maternity hospital and family medicine clinics. With the help of the program, I had visited several historic sites, such as the Presidential Palace and Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus; and took excursions to Baños and Mindo

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