Alana D'Onofrio participated in CFHI's program Exploring HIV & Maternal/Child Health in Kabale, Uganda in September 2014. She is an aspiring physician assistant and recent graduate of Northern Arizona University, where she majored in Biomedical Sciences. Q. How did you hear about CFHI? What attracted you to the Uganda program? I heard about CFHI through the study abroad program […]

The beauty of competency-based education (CBE) is that it is fluid and flexible, promoting critical application of the course material with a focus on what students should be able to do, as opposed to a singular emphasis on knowledge. The ability of CBE to produce graduates who are competent professionals has made the approach increasingly popular among various health fields. In fact, The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), and the Canadian Medical Education Directives for Specialists (CanMEDS) have all developed core competencies for their programs.

The workshop coincided with the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions (NAAHP) Annual Conference, held this year in San Francisco. Advisors were eager to discuss strategies for guiding students towards reputable programs and avoiding companies and experiences where students are encouraged to “do too much, too soon.” Case studies were presented, based on actual incidents from the field. Some were particularly alarming: undergraduates delivering babies, students conducting hospital rounds unsupervised, even instances of students scrubbing in for surgery!

Scholarships and funding initiatives are key to making real strides in south-to-south participation in global health internships and reducing their exclusivity as the domain of the wealthy. Crowdfunding is also growing, and is a powerful tool that should be considered by WHO and other global health internship providers to improve equitable access to global health and other professional internships abroad.

A recent study found those who engage in multicultural and international environments are more likely to be offered jobs. Yet it is the quality of experiences and personal engagement, not traveling itself, that build skills that are attractive to employers.

Fast forward to 2014. Global health has become a buzzword, conjuring up images of Bill and Melinda Gates projects and Partners in Health initiatives. Once a field that rallied for press, global health is receiving increasing limelight. Global health teaching in undergrad and medical curricula is also increasing and the 2013 Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, states study abroad by U.S. based students is steadily increasing and is at an all time high.

Rain or shine Seattle was brimming with energy and dialogue, as The University of Washington hosted the 11th Annual Western Regional International Health Conference (WRIHC), themed “Uncensored: Gender, Sexuality, & Social Movements in Global Health.” The largest student lead conference in the nation, nearly 600 attendees from around the country and the globe joined the dialogue around gender and sexuality, topics too often stigmatized and neglected. I was there as an alumna of three different Child Family Health International (CFHI) global health education programs, representing CFHI amongst an army of global health enthusiasts.

During this, the 19th annual National Public Health Week, let’s consider the definition of global health that appeared in The Lancet, “Global Health is Public Health.” What students will soon learn upon beginning their CFHI experience is the important reality that in many low and middle-income countries the lines they envision between public health and biomedicine are very much blurred. This is largely out of necessity demanded by sparse or finite resources, and evidence-based.

Women’s Empowerment Beyond International Women’s Day International Women’s Day, also known as United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace was March 8th.  Child Family Health International (CFHI) firmly believes, however, that we must reflect more than once a year on women’s empowerment, progress made, and steps we can take as individuals and organizations […]

Truth in the Spoof: An expose of voluntourism in The Onion. By: Aditi Joshi, MD Newsflash!  This week’s headlines report a new humanitarian organization ‘Doctors Without Licenses’ will start providing substandard care by putting together a group of “decertified physicians, pre-medical undergraduates, and ‘people just interested in the human body’.” The organization states it will be […]

February 20th is World Social Justice Day. We would like to take this day to highlight one of our partners who has been working to achieve social justice. Dr. Rajagopal has been helping to reform the Hospice and Palliative Care laws in India through personal visits to patients and by building a strong system of doctors across the nation..

Over the past decade, the number of American students in health fields going abroad has nearly tripled, with many opting for programs that take them out of the classroom and into clinics and hospitals. But as participation has increased, so, too, have educators’ concerns.

Uganda is a country in Sub-Saharan East Africa facing serious health problems and challenges, including high rates of maternal mortality, HIV and child malnutrition. Through CFHI, students from all academic backgrounds and levels have the opportunity to work closely to learn first-hand about child and maternal health, HIV, malnutrition prevention and rehabilitation, food security, sustainable agriculture, empowerment of women’s groups, micro-credit savings and community mobilization.

An article profiling Child Family Health International - CFHI’s Global Health Education Programs in the current online edition of the Association of American Medical Colleges’ journal Academic Medicine contrasts two interpretations of ‘helping.’ The students writing the article draw an important contrast between the two definitions of ‘helping’ represented by CFHI Programs and brigades.

Nothing can beat that kind of immersion; nothing can beat waking up in a tiny mountain village everyday at 5:30AM with my fellow travelers to do yoga, or getting woken up in the hospital by a nurse to aid in a delivery or assist in the emergency department. India left a lasting impression – one that no doubt will shape my medical career, but also my personal life. It left me wanting to..

..the film came to an end and the audience allowed the weight of the story to settle, he delicately reminded everyone that every effort produces a result. These efforts would eventually result in CFHI as we know it today. According to Evaleen, "There are some people who you can sense very quickly are special individuals." Even after only a week of knowing Dr. Rodas, she allowed her instincts to propel her forward.

You may have heard people refer to CFHI and those involved in the organization as part of a global family. This family encompasses those who work and are served by CFHI. In India, young men, and boys barely out of school, travel the highway system connecting the most distant corners. The work is hard, the hours long, and the travel dangerous on the over-crowded highways connecting coast to coast.

At the recent NAFSA conference CFHI paused to reflect on the role of social justice in health. Social Justice has been studied as one of the key ethical principles for students wanting to be involved in Global Health. Increasingly there has been discussion on whether social justice should be a factor when selecting students for admission into medical school.

At CUGH’s Annual Meeting last week in Washington, DC educators and students from over 60 countries met to discuss the global health landscape. Perhaps one of the most powerful and emotional sessions was one that captured power of reflection in global health education. Eight trainees from undergraduate to post-graduate levels read personal reflections on global health education experiences that affected them.

Often the global health dialogue is dominated by Western voices. IFMSA allows 1,000+ medical students from around the world to work face-to-face twice a year. It democratizes global health and allows for crucial relationship development that is necessary for a unified global advocacy voice for health equity and justice. During the IFMSA alumni meeting attendees praised CFHI for its gold-standard model for global health education. Colleagues from Ghana, Serbia, Philippines, Nigeria, and beyond approached me with gratitude for CFHIs important advocacy voice in the global health education field.

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