Public Health Delivery Innovations & Community Medicine
India is the world’s largest democracy and is considered a newly industrialized country. Yet despite its large workforce and immense growth, India continues to face the hurdles of poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, and inadequate public healthcare. Funds for health in India have long focused largely on medical services, reflected in a lack of modern public health regulations and delivery of services.
Travel to Delhi, India, the second most populous city on the planet. Join NGOs working to implement social reforms and improve public health outcomes through educational campaigns and trainings with emphasis on the spread of HIV/AIDS in India, tuberculosis, and management of infectious diseases. Learn about key public health challenges such as low rates of immunization, poor sanitation and waste management, and unsafe drinking water. Understand the lingering impact of India’s caste system and challenges in implementing public health initiatives within a culturally and linguistically diverse population.
Become immersed in Indian culture while living in a private apartment in a residential neighborhood in south Delhi. Visit Delhi’s numerous museums, restaurants, and shops or visit World Heritage sites like the Red Fort or Humayun's Tomb. CFHI participants may also choose to organize day trips over the weekend to the spectacular Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.
Clinical Rotations & Public Health Placements
Participants of this program will be placed in public health settings, including an array of non-governmental organizations (NGO) stepping in to address the gaps in health services and the most needy populations. This provides a unique learning opportunity and in-depth exposure to public health in India.
Environmental and Social Service NGO- Founded in 1970, this facility boasts 60,000 volunteers, making it the largest internationally recognized social service agency in India. It has developed technology for water treatment plants and facilities that eliminate human waste scavenging, traditionally done by India’s untouchable caste. Visit and learn from experts working on projects promoting human rights, environmental sanitation, alternative energy, waste management and social reforms through education, training and awareness campaigns.
LGBTQ Community Center- Founded in 2005, this NGO works to empower sexual minority groups on issues of discrimination, safe sex, and STD prevention. The center holds community meetings, provides free STD testing in a small clinic, and organizes activist and advocacy efforts on LGBTQ human rights issues.
Truck Yard HIV Counseling and Treatment Center- Only 25-30% of HIV positive Indians know their status. At higher risk are men who have sex with men (MSM) and truck drivers who do not have regular access to HIV testing. Truck drivers in particular are more likely to be uneducated and engage in risky behaviors because of high mobility. Join this NGO focusing on HIV prevention and treatment, which offers counseling and testing centers focusing on high-risk groups in accordance with the National AIDS Control Program.
Juvenile Rehabilitation Center– The first of its kind in India, this NGO partners with the government in Delhi and offers a 50 bed inpatient rehabilitation facilities for adolescents struggling with addiction. It also provides counseling, vocational and literacy training, meditation sessions, art and theater workshops, and assists in transition and reintegration including a halfway home.
Homeless Services NGO- Mandated by the Delhi government, several NGOs offer services to the homeless. Join this NGO, which identifies and maps homeless populations and provides services such as food, shelter, health services referrals, HIV and AIDS treatment, and drug rehabilitation and treatment. It also empowers homeless populations through street theater, awareness campaigns, and support groups.
HIV & Drug Rehab NGO- Established in 1979, this NGO offers holistic programs serving injection drug users, street children, and homeless populations. It provides preventative services, treatment and counseling for HIV/AIDS and STDs. It serves homeless drug users through rehabilitation services, needle exchange programs, and opioid substitution therapy. Here, a nurse on staff provides basic care, including cleaning and dressing wounds. Accompany community health workers providing education and outreach in high-risk areas.
Street Children’s Center- This NGO works to integrate street children into mainstream society. It has a shelter, day care center, and provides vocational training. It also uses street and stage theater performances to build self-confidence in children and awareness about social issues relating to the lives and stories of street children. Join volunteers offering guidance, care and organizing workshops for the children.
Rural Nonprofit Hospital- This charitable hospital opened in 1977 with the sole objective of providing affordable health care to the underserved. Housing 30-beds and offering 12 specialties, the facility conducts over 80,000 outpatient consultations and 2,000 surgical interventions annually. The facility has modern infrastructure and comprehensive diagnostic facilities.
Government Hospital Tour- Visit government facilities to understand how some of the largest Government hospitals in Delhi function, providing free and high quality healthcare services to the poor who come from across India to seek care.
CFHI is considered a global health ethics leader therefore CFHI programs uphold strict standards and comply with all local laws regarding student involvement in health settings. Your experience on the program depends on your previous clinical training (if applicable), Spanish level, and the relationship you build with your supervising preceptor. Above all, YOU are the most important factor in making the CFHI experience as fulfilling as possible by being respectful, inquisitive, and open to the wide variety of learning experiences which you will encounter.
India is the seventh-largest country in the world and the second-most populous with over 1.2 billion people. There are over 20 languages spoken across India’s twenty-nine states. The country is also the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions—Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. India offers a rich history, vibrant culture, and diverse landscape unlike anywhere in the world, as well as breathtaking architectural wonders like the Taj Mahal and Golden Temple.
New Delhi, the bustling capital of India, is sprawled over the west bank of the river Yamuna and is one of the fastest growing cities in India, one of the largest cities in the world. Delhi’s historic monuments intersperse with modern infrastructure and government buildings to create a unique city fabric. A true urban experience, the movement, colors, sights, and sounds of Delhi.
Things to Do
CFHI participants have free time during most evenings and weekends and may choose to organize weekend trips to nearby destinations and take part in cultural activities offered within Delhi itself.
Visit Delhi’s numerous museums, restaurants, and shops or visit World Heritage sites like the Red Fort or Humayun's Tomb. CFHI participants may also choose to organize trips to the spectacular Taj Mahal and Agra Fort.
Accommodations & Homestays
Participants stay in apartments in a residential area of Delhi in the same building as CFHI’s India Director. CFHI accomodations provide a unique opportunity to learn about local culture and live amongst locals in a residential area.
The apartments have have either two or three bedrooms, a bathroom with Indian style toilets and shower, and a common living room area. Acommodations are comfortable and include two meals a day. A local caretaker will provide the meals and cleaning of the apartment. At the welcome orientation, participants will be instructed on recommended transportation from housing to program visits and getting around the city.
Eligibility: Who Can Apply?
This CFHI program is ideal for students and non-students of all levels and health disciplines and welcome anyone interested in and passionate about global health and medicine. In particular, this program will focus on challenges faced in providing adequate medical care in both urban and rural settings and deepening understanding of rural/urban divides.
For more information, please read CFHI's general eligibility requirements.
Language Required: English
India is a multicultural and diverse country with over 30 different languages spoken by more than a billion native speakers. English and Hindi are considered the language of government and business and are widely spoken by most professionals and used daily in many business and academic settings.
Hindi is used widely in the northern Indian region where Delhi is located. Professionals at the various NGOs and CFHI staff you will interact with speak fluent English. You may find that daily communication amongst locals and community members will be in Hindi. However, the Local Coordinator will often accompany participants during rotations and can provide interpretation if needed.
Participants should arrive in Delhi, India on the program start date and will be picked up from the airport by a CFHI representative and taken to their housing. A welcome orientation will take place the Sunday or Monday after arrival.
US citizens and others should apply for an Indian tourist visa in advance. More information and specific instructions on visa applications will be provided by CFHI after acceptance into the program.
CFHI Program fees include the majority of your on the ground costs. As a nonprofit, CFHI strives to keep fees low and offers fundraising opportunities, scholarships and discounts. Learn more
- Guidance from CFHI staff in San Francisco before departure
- Program-specific materials with information on making travel arrangements, visa requirements, recommended immunizations, etc.
- Airport pick-up upon arrival and transportation to housing in Delhi, India with local CFHI representative
- Welcome orientation with other participants covering safety, transportation, and other logistics
- CFHI Local Team: providing instruction, logistical support, and 24/7 emergency response
- Weekly meetings and lectures on local healthcare system and socio-economic determinants of health
- Placement and coordination of public health activities and NGO's
- Accommodation, two meals a day
- Local cell phone
- International emergency medical and evacuation insurance
- Access to CFHI alumni-only LinkedIn group featuring news and career opportunities related to Global Health
- CFHI alumni newsletter highlighting events, resources, and ways to stay involved
Uniquely CFHI, 50% or more of student program fees go directly to the communities they will be visiting, benefiting the local economy at large and specifically underserved health systems. Read more.
Hema Pandey- CFHI India Director: The role of the India Director is to coordinate and manage activities for all CFHI programs in India. Hema has been instrumental in establishing CFHI's growing presence in India, developing new program sites and researching CFHI's growth potential in-country. She has worked for CFHI since 2005. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business & Commerce from Kurukshetra University and a PG diploma Fashion Design from International Institute of Fashion Technology. Her professional interests include rural and urban healthcare, water and sanitation, gender, social development. She likes helping CFHI students achieve academic and personal goals and develop leadership skills during their time on program. In her free time she enjoys photography, travelling with family, volunteering, basketball, and cycling.
Dr. Vimarsh Raina- CFHI New Delhi Medical Director: The role of the Medical Director is to arrange clinical and public health placements, supervise the participant experience at these sites, and provide instruction on healthcare topics during weekly meetings. Dr. Raina has served CFHI since 2007. He recieved his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the Government Medical College and University of Jammu. He received his MD in Pathology from Dayanand Medical College, Punjab University and a post graduate diploma in Hospital Administration from Delhi University. Dr. Raina is currently the President of New Delhi’s Safe Blood Organisation. He enjoys working with CFHI students and teaching and introducing the real health care system of India. In his spare time Dr. Raina loves travelling & visiting new places.
Sanjay Chakraborty- CFHI Delhi Local Coordinator: The role of the Local Coordinator is to assist participants with all logistical aspects of the program, including transportation, introducing NGO staff to participants on the first site visit, assist with interpreting when needed and act as a resource for any questions related to India’s cultural norms. Sanjay can also provide tips on planning weekend travel. Sanjay has served CFHI since 2009. He has extensive nonprofit experience, having worked managing a street children project for a local NGO before joining CFHI. He is originally from Darjeeling where he completed my schooling. In his free time he enjoys riding his motorcycle and going out to movies and music shows with his family.
What Alumni Say
“Even though, this is not my first time seeing such issues in developing countries, I had never faced them on such a grand and ubiquitous scale. Learning about these problems, being exposed to them, talking to those affected by them, are all very important reasons for me to question why I’m going into medicine, what is really driving me. Though this does remind me that I want to study medicine to serve and help people and it inspires me to be a better person, it also leaves me..” Read More.
-- Jorge Munoz Pineda, June 2013 (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, MS-1)
"One of my favorite weeks was the final week I spent in Delhi volunteering at a juvenile de-addiction center. I was able to sit in on counseling sessions, life skills classes, literacy/math classes, and group therapy sessions. It was an incredible learning experience and an amazing program with extremely devoted staff."
-- Angela Jacobs, March 2014 (University of Oregon, Pre-Med Senior)