Child Family Health International

Rating: 4.6 stars   113 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: 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  

3 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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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Sometime in 2007, I was awarded a scholarship to participate in the Infectious disease program in India. This was my first experience, ever, in Global Health.

True, we did stay in some run down leprosy village for a part of the program and I stayed hungry alot of times because I wasn't vegetarian, those experiences were what put courage and resilience in me to go where people refused to go and do what people refused to do 4 years down the line.

Today, I am going on to study Global Health at one of the World's best university because CFHI launched me out on a path from which I have never looked back.

I implore prospective students not to get half way and quit (some people did), I ask you to brace up, laugh out loud and enjoy the ride. It might feel abit strange but you will gain perspective and Knowledge that far outweighs minor discomforts.

I wish you all the best and see you at the top!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I participated in the Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine program in La Pax, Bolivia this past June 2015, and it was an extremely beautiful and illuminating experience. My time spent working with doctors and nurses in varying specialties was invaluable in giving me a chance to learn more about the health care field, as well as about intercultural medicine. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who wants more exposure to the medical field, or to those who aren't sure if this career is right for them. As for me, as a result of this program I have decided to continue along my path into medicine.

CFHI does a great job finding inspiring and intelligent doctors to shadow during our time at the program. Before I left, they were extremely helpful, accommodating, and answered all questions and concernsi I had about my trip. They also provide many resources to fundraise for the program. During the program itself, we are connected with a coordinator who lives in the country, in my case the kind and wonderful Gonzalo Claire. He was available for us whenever we needed him, and worked with us to give us each experience we desired. With his help I was able to shadow a doctor in a women and children's clinic that no other student had worked in before. Overall, I would recommend this program, and CFHI specifically, for anyone who desires to expose themselves to global medicine.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

This organization is doing great work for many underserved communities through partnering on local projects with local leaders and students. I worked to bring new insights to program coordinators in charge of running a female sex worker program by providing a review of the published literature. Following my participation in their public health India program, I have become more culturally sensitive and been able to advocate on behalf of similar communities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Program: CFHI Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 1 Month (July)
Price: Very reasonable (book/pay for your own flight)
Structure: Very well planned and connected with very skilled local coordinators/preceptors/doctors/locals/host families.
Experience: This solidified my aspirations to become a doctor. Full immersion into the world of doctors. The cultural aspect was beautifully balanced with the local sight seeing.
My rating: ∞ / 5

After a 35 hour grueling travel time, I arrive in the Cape Town Airport. I retrieve my luggage and dilly dally around to see if I can exchange currency in an oddly uncrowded airport. Near the exit, I see Mariam extremely worried but also relieved to see me. I know this was going to be a lovely experience when I see the care in the local coordinators and preceptors. I arrive at Aunty Carol and Uncle George's place (host mom and dad) and immediately I can tell that CFHI only finds the best and safest host families to house their volunteers. Later on, this was further confirmed when I notice an increased amount of food left for me (when I'm unable to make it home to dinner) only a few days after I got there - she notices I was a big eater! It truly feels like home. The living situation couldn't be any better. It is safe, fun, and warm.

Again very well timed and structured. Work during weekdays from 8-3pm roughly in the hospital and transportation to the hospital is also included. Weekends are on your own, including meals. The hospital life is the bomb! Even though this is a mid-sized teaching hospital, we were able to shadow doctors to our hearts' content, which is a DREAM for premeds. We learn a great number of things and are able to shadow great and passionate doctors. Every week we have meetings together with Marion and Avril to reflect on our time in hospitals; it paves a way to meld the group together and to further improve the program. I believe CFHI made a very smart move in including this as a method to improve the quality of the programs (which, in my opinion, is hard to do because it's already SO GOOD). In all, this is a very valuable experience for medical related students because you work very intimately with doctors and you learn immense amount of knowledge along local students and international students. The staff and doctors were extremely friendly and everybody acted as if the hospital is a house for a big family. Volunteering in GF Jooste teaches humility, passion, culture, knowledge about inequality, and so much more!

I can personally vouch for CFHI's Cape Town program, since I have been there. In all the conversations and communications I've had with CFHI, they've been highly helpful and kind. With the art of extrapolation, I can venture to say that all their programs are worth exploring. CFHI not only opened my eyes to medicine in general, it also showed me first hand how real health disparities in the world is. I can confidently say that CFHI have made an immense mark in my life in pushing me towards global awareness and I am truly grateful for this opportunity!


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Rating: 5 stars  

In April 2015, I participated in CFHI’s “End-of-Life and Palliative Care” program in Trivandrum, Kerala India. This was a four-week program volunteering with Pallium India, a charitable trust founded by Dr. M.R. Rajagopal (known as the “Father of Palliative Care” in India) that provides palliative care to Trivandrum and the surrounding villages and seeks to educate nurses and doctors in the art of palliative care. As part of Pallium’s mission to educate healthcare providers, Dr. Rajagopal and his team provide a few six-week training courses per year that will allow doctors and nurses to become certified in palliative care. My four-week program coincided with the first four weeks of one of these training courses, so I was able to gain valuable, classroom-based education in palliative care as well as clinical experience on the inpatient ward, in pediatric and adult outpatient clinics, and on home visits in the city and multiple surrounding villages.

Palliative care is all about providing patient-centered, holistic care as well as psychosocial and spiritual support for the patient and family. It’s a team effort (doctors, nurses, social workers, and volunteers), and Pallium recognizes this. They have developed a grassroots, community-driven model for delivering palliative care that relies on the generosity of the community for financial support and the commitment of local volunteers as the backbone of their home visit teams. As a fourth-year medical student, I found great value in the classroom instruction in communication, symptom management, bioethics, and end-of-life care. However, I was most touched by my clinical experiences with the patients, especially on the home visits. Getting to step inside someone’s home and observe the home-care team’s interactions with the patients and families was a privilege. Empathizing with a patient’s situation is necessary in palliative care, and there is no better way to do this than to visit a patient in his or her home.

I highly recommend the “End-of-Life and Palliative Care” program to anyone who is interested in palliative care, whether you are a student, doctor, nurse, social worker, or just someone looking to learn more about palliative care and experience the hospitality and beauty of Kerala (also known as “God’s Own Country”). It was a life-changing experience for me, and I am grateful to CFHI and Pallium India for allowing me to take part in the program.

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Rating: 4 stars  

I participated in CHFI’s Intensive Beginner Spanish in Quito, Ecuador! I chose this location because I wanted exposure to South American culture and I also wanted to work on my Spanish. I went to Ghana during the summer between my first and second year of medical school and that trip was amazing. Studying abroad creates opportunities to challenge yourself on many levels and expand your world-view. I was truly blessed to have another opportunity to study aboard.

The Ecuadorian landscape is truly amazing! Definitely beyond any of my expectations! In addition to Quito, we spent time in Otavalo, Mindo and Banos! The Spanish classes were helpful and I was able to use this Spanish while volunteering with the elementary school kids. The healthcare experience was also interesting. The attendings were eager to answer questions and discuss the local healthcare issues.

Over all this trip was a great experience! I will be a family medicine resident in a couple months and I am grateful for the additional Spanish I learned and the opportunity to experience a culture different from my own. I've always been committed to helping underserved populations and expanding my worldview and through this program I was able to do both!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

When I first arrived in Cordoba, I was more than little enthusiastic to see how my experience in Argentina will be shaped by my perspective as a (dare I say) adult and young almost-doctor.

I arrived in Córdoba, the second-largest city in Argentina, renowned for it's beautiful colonial structures and for being a center of higher education since the Jesuits established the first National University here in 1613. As a soon-to-be double graduate of Jesuit universities, I was obviously excited to be immersed in a city built on the same foundation. I was met by, Charly, the coordinator of Intercambio Cultural, the local partner of CFHI who made this trip come together for me. Charly greeted me like an old friend with the one-cheek-kiss hello, a simple reminder of the warmth that makes Latin America feel like a second home.

The warm welcome of the ICC team lasted throughout the entire trip, with lectures and day trips that made for an easy, educational transition and very difficult parting from my life in Argentina!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I just arrived less than a week ago from my CFHI Maternal & Infant Health Program in Pune India and what I have learned and experienced is incredible. I am a MSW (Masters Social Work) graduate interested in maternal and infant health and I have found this program amazingly educational, both professionally and personally. Here is a piece of this adventure:

What did I learn:

I know I will be asked this by everyone. I already have been many times.
So I watched many surgeries. You will ask, what does this have to do with social work? Well, for one thing, all knowledge is useful. Professionally speaking, I will not become a doctor. With this being said, whether I work in a hospital or not, my clients or patients will have surgeries. They’ll see doctors. I’ve had a glimpse into that scene, the decisions doctors make, how they say it, why they do. Doctors to me perform the role of social workers too, so the connection was easily made. If I have a patient that needs a hysterectomy or has undergone thyroid cancer removal surgery, I’ve seen it. I can tell them about it. I’ve seen childbirth and this made me feel wild, in the best of ways. I cried and I knew that my life needs to be centered around this miracle. Personally, I gained something invaluable. I am stronger than I thought. All my life I’ve told myself that I couldn’t see surgery, that I would lose it and embarrass myself. I discovered the contrary, that I found it very interesting and I found myself looking forward to being in scrubs and mask again and again. It isn’t glitter and rainbows. It’s gross but it’s us and I’m ok with this. How often do you change how you view yourself?

I know something about how India’s medical system works, how it’s like and unlike our own systems. This is easier spoken than written about so if you have questions I’ll try to answer.
I know what it’s like to feel alone, unlike everyone else, isolated. Does this compare exactly with a foreigners experience in America? No. Even here I hold my privilege. But I have feelings I’ve never had before, so maybe I can empathize with my clients, wherever they’re from. I’ve learned to observe quietly. I’ve learned to ask questions. I want to treat people the way they want to be treated, and this lesson comes up again and again, whether it’s with greetings, food eating, or lesson teaching. How to be respectful of other cultures while not losing yourself. I’ve learned to be flexible, to embrace not being able to control everything, the value of money. I’ve taken for granted the resources I have. How many times have I thought something was cheap but have it be insanely expensive in rupees? I talk about traveling the world but when I think of the rupee cost for education, plane tickets, living expenses, I realize how lucky I am, and how arrogant I must sound.

I’ve learned much.
India has surprised me. It is much more than I ever expected. It’s both traditional and growing. It’s dusty and bright. It’s overwhelming and comforting.

I’m lucky. I’m so so lucky.

Thank you so much Child Family Health International (CFHI) for giving me a chance to learn all that I have. I'm forever grateful!

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