CFHI Planetary Health Initiative

From our work in Uganda to Mexico to the Philippines and in the virtual space, CFHI knows that the health of people, ecosystems, and the planet are connected. We have seen tremendous advancements in human health outcomes since our founding, from increased life expectancy, to reduced poverty, to reduced maternal and infant mortality. However, this progress has been accompanied by unprecedented global environmental changes that jeopardize these gains and the health of future generations. Some of these threats include deforestation, biodiversity loss, soil degradation, and water scarcity.

At CFHI we envision a generation of planetary health changemakers equipped to address global environmental change and health impacts. Our global partners who live on the front lines of environmental challenges are well equipped to support students as they engage in clinical rotations, lectures, site visits to explore planetary health themes.

The following programs are well suited for a student interested in planetary health:

Virtual Global Health Elective

The CFHI Virtual Global Health elective offers inter-professional trainees a unique opportunity to build key Global Health competencies. The elective is open to final-year medical, nurse practitioner, dental, physician assistant, pharmacy, allied health students/residents/fellows. Students will explore global and public health issues broadly, highlighting how health systems around the world deliver healthcare in a variety of environments, examining cultural interplays, developing agility for making health care decisions in diverse settings, delving into Planetary Health, and expanding self-awareness. Students will learn how communities are addressing their most pressing health challenges, including chronic disease, maternal-child health, infectious disease, and reproductive health, all while gaining insights into the public health realities internationally, reverse innovation, and interplays of international development, climate change, and health. Additionally, tangible skill development includes critical reflection, cross-cultural effectiveness & adaptability, and continuous quality improvement (CQI).  Final-year medical students will be provided with additional opportunities to analyze clinical cases and develop approaches to diagnosing patients in resource-constrained settings. 

Global Health in Ecuador (Guayaquil & Puyo) 

This program takes you from the public hospital in an urban setting to a small public healthcare clinic at the edge of the rainforest. You will get exposure to rural and community medicine dealing with a wide range of conditions. This program provides an anthropological insight into indigenous communities through a visit to a Shuar tribe village. In this Planetary Health program, you will learn from local experts about a wide range of environmental disciplines (botany, animal husbandry, forestry, entomology) and the sociocultural and political aspects of jungle preservation. Learn more


Global Health in Ghana (Accra)

In the bustling capital city of Accra, this program covers the scope of the various factors that directly affect the health of Ghanaian children. The major themes include Planetary Health approaches such as malnutrition, children without sufficient access to proteins, lack of clean water, family planning, etc. Learn more

Global Health in India (Dehradun/Rural Himalayas)

This program integrates themes related to Planetary Health. In many regions of the world, traditional medicine is the only affordable care for most of the population. A big part of traditional medicine involves the use of plants for treatment and is naturally aligned against aggressive farming or deforestation practices. This program creates a connection between traditional and modern medicine and aims to highlight how the two can work in harmony by developing cross-cultural competency. The week spent in a small clinic in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains offers an opportunity to learn about these integrated approaches. Learn more

Global Health in India (New Delhi)

The brief placements at several NGOs in this program cover significant aspects of Planetary Health. This is a unique opportunity to learn more about the ecology of poverty and how these organizations address social and health challenges in the Indian cultural context. In many of these settings, environmental approaches and social reforms are integrated. These projects aim to develop environmental sanitation, alternative energy or waste management through education and vocational training. CFHI’s partners at this program site promotes human rights and focuses their efforts on bringing care to vulnerable populations (untouchable caste, LGBTQ community, HIV patients, street children, homeless population, adolescents with addiction). Learn more

Global Health in the Philippines 

This program takes you from the urban settings of Manila to the remote islands known as geographically isolated disadvantaged areas (GIDA). You will have the opportunity to experience first-hand the healthcare challenges in the Philippines and to observe the impacts on health and environment of different industries  such as mining, fishing or farming. Learn more


Global Health in Uganda (Kabale) 

This program offers a unique exposure to Planetary Health through a ground-breaking approach to improving food security and nutrition. CFHI’s local partner in Kabale leads actions in health, education and economic development. From a primary care clinic to rural communities, you will witness the implementation of practical solutions in health, farming and education. Learn more

Global Health in Uganda (Mukono District)

This program provides the opportunity to look at several social and technological innovations involving Planetary Health. Learn more about the importance and organization of Community Health Workers in Uganda’s health system who help with the shortage of healthcare professionals. In addition to preventive health education, primary diagnosis and health monitoring, they play a role in building low cost technologies maximizing existing natural resources and having direct positive impacts on human health, such as cookstoves helping to reduce asthma or sources of clean water. Learn more