Partnerships Poised to Meet Increasing Student Demand for Global Health

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Child Family Health International teams up with prominent medical student and professional organizations.

Student on CFHI Program in Rural India

Student on Child Family Health International Program in Rural India

35% of US medical students participate in international experiences. The numbers reflect significant trends, culminating in the increasing internationalization of medical education.

Rightfully so, Global Health is proving to be more than just a fad on US campuses. Summer 2014 marks a 3-year partnership between Child Family Health International (CFHI) and the American Medical Students Association (AMSA). It also brings the beginning of a new partnership formed between CFHI and the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA).

Why exactly are these collaborations significant?

Global health and related fields are gaining in popularity as career choices. According to data from a study by the Association of Schools & Programs of Public Health, “between 2000 and 2010, enrollment in Schools of Public Health increased by 57%.” Global health initiatives are also receiving increased focus and funding from governments and big names such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In addition more students are studying abroad, specifically health professions students --an American Association of Medical Colleges report shows 35% of US medical students participate in international experiences. The numbers reflect significant trends, culminating in the increasing internationalization of medical education.

As student numbers grow, partnerships between CFHI and large student associations like AMSA and AMWA mean increased support and vetted options for students – setting expectations, standards, and frameworks for ethical engagement in health settings abroad and supporting local health infrastructure. Nida Degesys, M.D., AMSA National President remarked, "Today, more than ever, medical students are interested in electives abroad that allow them to interact with patients and learn about other cultures. AMSA's partnership with Child Family Health International has proven successful over the past three years. By working with CFHI, we are able to inform our members and help them find opportunities such as CFHI that prioritize and empower communities abroad."

On the heels of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, global health policy is entering the post-2015 era. The new Lancet report Global Health 2035 cites the looming issue of the “Know-Do Gap,” or the chasm between what we know saves lives worldwide, and what actually gets done. Jessica Evert, MD, CFHI Executive Director and University of California, San Francisco Faculty, observed, “Organizations and academic institutions are realizing the benefits that come with a CFHI partnership. We’re unique because of the relationships we’ve established in these communities over our 20 plus years. We provide students an authentic experience of global health through a local perspective. Understanding reality through this viewpoint is critical to overcome the know-do gap. CFHI positions our students to be future global health leaders.”

Partnerships, by definition, amplify impact and foster strength through collaboration. CFHI, AMSA and AMWA hope to do exactly this. Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH, Executive Director of AMWA, put it best, remarking, “AMWA is thrilled about our new partnership with CFHI. Together we can meet increasing demand for international clinical and public health experiences and provide our students unique opportunities to participate in global health work with a recognized leader.“

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Rebecca Lubitz-Marchena
since: 04/2009
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Child Family Health International (CFHI)
since: 09/2008
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