Experiential Education, where students and faculty immerse themselves in Global Health realities at the community level, is so important to build the competency and perspective of Global Health trainees and professionals. Given the legacy of colonialism, poorly designed “parachute” interventions, and power/privilege dynamics, it is so important to engage with thoughtfulness and intentionality. Child Family Health International (CFHI), a California-based non-profit celebrating 27 years of leadership in this arena, is setting and operationalizing standards to provide students and universities quality and impactful Global Health Field Experiences in 11 countries. How do they do it?
As is true in many global health efforts, there’s not one magic bullet that makes for successful field experiences. CFHI integrates and sets standards in a multi-pronged fashion- through partnership practices, competency aims, measured community and learner impacts, ethical foundations, safety/risk management and financial stewardship. CFHI engages across disciplines including:
- International Education through co-authorship of the Department of Justice recognized Forum on Education Abroad Guidelines for Undergraduates in Health-Related Settings;
- Global Health where they contributed to the Consortium of Universities for Global Health interprofessional competencies and faculty tool-kit;
- Community Engagement where they informed and adopted Fair Trade Learning requiring ongoing reflection and quality improvement to push toward fair trade ideals;
- Health Professions Education integrating the University of Minnesota’s Global Ambassadors for Patient Safety and consulting on the World Medical Association’s Statement on Ethical Considerations in Global Medical Electives;
- Higher Education collaborating on assessment and evaluation with GlobalSL and the multi-institutional Global Engagement Survey;
- Cross-Cultural Effectiveness and Corporate Engagement through partnership with Aperian Global to prepare students, faculty, and partners for cross-culturally effective interactions
- Community Based Development incorporating and advocating for Asset-Based Community Development and Engagement as a means of challenging traditional global health narratives and optimizing the empowerment of partnerships.
Ethicist Peter Singer once said “More often there is a compromise between expediency and ethics.” CFHI couldn’t agree more. CFHI partners with over 100 universities recognizing the long-term commitment and consistent presence necessary for ethical, safe, empowering Global Health Field Experiences can be challenging for the administrative bandwidth of universities. CFHI acts as an extension of universities to nurture enriching field experiences while optimizing community ownership of the global health narrative and expertise.
CFHI Field Experiences have a variety of themes relevant to global health. They are all locally led with support from the US-based office. These include Health Access and Inequities that showcases Mexico’s universal health care system, Remote Island Medicine exploring the structure of the Philippines healthcare system that is dispersed over 2,200 islands, Andean Health in Ecuador exploring primary care and the intersections of indigenous health traditions and Western medicine, Healthcare Challenges in South Africa featuring the impacts of Apartheid on modern day health access, and many more. Interested in learning more? Visit CFHI on the web at www.cfhi.org or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org!
This post was written by Jessica Evert, MD, CFHI Executive Director. Child Family Health International (CFHI) provides community-based Global Health Education Programs for students and institutions. Their unique model fosters reciprocal partnerships and empowerment in local communities, transforming perspectives about self, healing and global citizenship. CFHI is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the ECOSOC of the United Nations.