Virtual Global & Public Health Internship - Ecuador


The Virtual Global & Public Health Internship offers undergraduate, pre-health, and graduate-level participants the unique opportunity to learn foundational, industry-specific skills for careers in Global Health, Public Health, and related fields. Through virtual seminars and meetings, interns will explore how communities in Ecuador are addressing their most pressing health challenges. This includes a placement with a partner organization, where interns will enhance their knowledge and skills through supporting an ongoing project.

Program components:

  • Competency-informed readings and content 
  • Intercultural training through CFHI partner Aperian Global
  • 30 hours of Spanish instruction
  • Virtual sessions led by CFHI Global Partners, who are experts in local health systems and culture
  • Facilitated group reflection sessions 
  • Project-based work to deepen understanding of local health realities and support operations and objectives of the host organization/partners
  • Cultural learning/virtual immersion
  • Seminars on health topics
  • Final presentation and report to synthesize learning

CFHI offers options for students and faculty to fit your interests and schedule. Choose your program duration, or for a comparative experience, choose to participate in multiple programs. CFHI can also often accommodate alternate program dates upon request. For more information see our How to Apply page.


4 Weeks $975
Arrival Dates: 
Aug 03, 2020 Sep 07, 2020 Oct 05, 2020 Jan 04, 2021 Feb 01, 2021 Mar 01, 2021 Apr 05, 2021 May 03, 2021 Jun 07, 2021 Jul 05, 2021 Aug 02, 2021 Sep 06, 2021 Oct 04, 2021 Nov 01, 2021 Dec 06, 2021 

Dr. Susana Alvear - CFHI Medical Director in Quito. Dr. Alvear is an expert on socioeconomic determinants of health in Ecuador and on healthcare delivery strategies in low-resource settings.  

She has served CFHI since 1996 and is an accomplished family physician who obtained her MD and specialty certificates in Ecuador. She then completed clinical education courses at the University of New Mexico and workshops at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Alvear teaches at Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, where she manages their residency program.
 Dr. Alvear has participated in several international trips providing healthcare services to countries after natural disasters stricken areas such as Pakistan and Ghana. 

Patty Ribadaneira & Sandra de Maldonado - CFHI Local Coordinators in Quito.  The Local Coordinators in Quito are members of the Academia Latinoamericana de Español, Quito. Their names are  Patty Ribadaneira and Sandra de Maldonado. Patty and Sandra are sisters and have been servicing students since 1989. They both studied in the U.S. and are aware of the specific needs that students have. Patty is a collaborative, motivational and inspirational leader; she instills confidence in others. Sandra is a consensus builder, and acts with integrity and fairness when dealing with students. 

During the first 3 weeks of the program, interns will engage in seminars, workshops, and trainings to improve foundational knowledge, skills, and attitudes in Global Health. For subsequent weeks, interns will focus on project-based work, working closely with their intern cohort and with CFHI's partners in Ecuador. Language training will take place on a weekly basis throughout the internship. 

This CFHI program is ideal for students who have a foundation in Spanish and have an interest in health and medicine with a focus on women’s health. Non-students are also eligible. To confirm whether you're eligible to apply, please read CFHI's general eligibility requirements.

Minimum Language RequiredBeginner 1 Spanish or Above

Beginner 1 Spanish: “I can speak a little and understand at times if people speak slowly and clearly.”

  • I can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and simple phrases to get across basic needs.
  • I can introduce others and myself. I can ask and answer questions for example where I live, people I know and things I have. 

Leading this program on-site are our on-site partners (see Local Team tab), all of whom share Spanish as their native language, but may speak English as well. To provide authentic learning experiences translators are not provided. Daily interactions will be in Spanish, but CFHI’s local team is able to support and help you through your experience.

All CFHI participants applying to programs in Latin America will evaluate their Spanish language skills as part of their application. This information will then be shared with the on-site partners. Most important is your general ability to communicate verbally with those around you and to be proactive in speaking Spanish, versus accuracy with grammatical tenses. All CFHI Latin America programs include Spanish language instruction on-site. 

Not sure about your Spanish level? View a full list of CFHI’s language levels for all Latin America programs on our Spanish Level Guidelines page. 

CFHI partners with Canopy to offer high-quality online Medical Spanish courses. Apply using this link for a 20% discount and start improving your medical Spanish today!

  • Robust, competency-informed readings and content 
  • Access to and training rooted in intercultural tools through CFHI partner Aperian Global
  • 30 hours of facilitated Spanish language instruction
  • Synchronous and asynchronous virtual sessions led by CFHI Global Partners, all experts in local health systems and culture
  • Facilitated group reflection sessions 
  • Project-based work to deepen understanding of local health realities and support operations and objectives of the host organization/partners
  • Cultural learning/virtual immersion
  • Virtual language classes (for Latin America-focused interns) or supplemental seminars on health topics (for Uganda-focused interns)
  • Final presentation and report to synthesize learning

The Sustainable Development Goals are a global roadmap set forth by the United Nations General Assembly to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure the well-being of all individuals by the year 2030. This program highlights the following SDG's: