My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Child Family Health International, Oakland, CA, USA
In December 2010 I spent 4 weeks volunteering in Puerto Escondido, Mexico. I went through Child Family Health International and participated in their women's reproductive health program. CFHI provided clinical visits, a home-stay, and medical Spanish lessons.
I spent each of the 4 weeks and a different clinical site. 3 of the 4 weeks were at public health clinics and 1 week was spent in labor and delivery at the local hospital. I was able to assist in 4 natural deliveries, observe 4 cesareans, and observe an appendectomy. In the clinics I found fetal heart rates, listened to patients hearts and lungs, removed sutures, and performed breast exams and pap smears. I was able to witness patient care in impoverished communities and understand the lack of medical resources in remote areas. To cope with poverty and sparse medical resources, preventative medicine, nutrition, and education were the main objective of community doctors. I was able to witness illnesses not commonly seen where I work in California such as leprosy, tuberculosis and dengue. The medical education I received in Puerto Escondido could not have been obtained without volunteering abroad.
The home-stay experience in Puerto Escondido was as important as my medical education. My home-stay family welcomed me into their family and helped me feel like part of the community. This provided me with compassion toward my patients in the clinic since I viewed them as members of my own community.
CFHI also provided Spanish lesson. The lesson focused on medical Spanish and I found that what I learned in class was useful in clinic. Also, my Spanish teacher discussed the healthcare system in Mexico with me and made sure I understood how the community accessed medical care. We also visited traditional mexican midwives in an effort to best understand community medical perspectives.
The 4 weeks I spent with CFHI were some of the most influential weeks of my life. I learned about global medicine, improved my Spanish, and gained a new family. I recommend this experience to anyone interested in medicine, cultures, and making great friends!
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
My experience in Mexico has given my medical career a foundation to help underserved communities and break though language and cultural barriers. Also, through the friends I made during my volunteer trip, I feel like a part of the community I served. In turn, I am grateful that the work that CFHI does benefits my family abroad.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I would promote more fundraising for interested students. CFHI fees are used to pay community and medical coordinators abroad, home-stay families, and language teachers. These expenses should not be cut but do result in intimidatingly high fees. I was able to fundraise within my community and cover the cost of my program. I urge CFHI to advertise successful fundraising events so that interested medical professionals are not deterred by costs.