a Primary Care, Health Justice, and Rural Medicine in the Philippines | IE3 Global
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Primary Care, Health Justice, and Rural Medicine in the Philippines | Manila, Philippines

Interns with Child and Family Health International (CFHI) in the Philippines complete rotations in a variety of clinical and non-profit care facilities focused on healthcare, health justice, and rural medicine. The 10 week program consists of an introductory week in Manila, followed by 8.5 weeks on remote islands. This unique arrangement maximizes interns’ exposure to both urban and rural healthcare on the islands, building an understanding of public health across the Philippines. This is a great opportunity for students interested in pre-med, pre-nursing, pre-pharmacy, and public health.

Internship Dates:

This program is currently on hold. Please check back for future openings.

Duration of Internship:

  • 10 weeks

Founded in 1992 by Dr. Evaleen Jones, Child Family Health International (CFHI) offers educational and community health programs at 20+ sites in seven countries. To date, their programs have 7000+ alumni from 35 countries. Many participants in the programs are medical students who spend four weeks on rotations. The joint program with IE3 Global allows for 10 weeks of rotations for pre-med, pre-nursing, and public health students.

CFHI’s programs in the Philippines immerse participants in both urban and rural settings, allowing participants to compare and contrast health care services and resources across the country. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found through the islands, although nearly 50% of the population lives on the main island of Luzon, with more than 12 million inhabitants living near the capital city of Manila. Known for their warm hospitality and contagious smiles, Filipinos truly make the Philippines a very special country to visit.

In the Philippines, the majority of citizens are covered under the Philippine Heath Insurance Corporation. However, since the out-of-pocket payment is so high, there are many people who lack access to public health care. In many remote, hard-to-reach islands, otherwise known as geographically isolated disadvantaged areas (GIDA), hospitals and health care clinics lack infrastructure and investment, as well as supplies and personnel. Join the Philippines program and learn how resources, medicine, and healthcare services vary between remote islands and the mainland.

Interns with CFHI will rotate through a variety of clinics, hospitals and emergency services as participants. Clinical rotations are designed to offer interns clinical and public health experience relevant to your level of medical education, much like what you would experience during a rotation or internship in the United States. IE3 Global interns may work with the local coordinators to identify the health care services/departments where they would like to spend more time. CFHI programs are not episodic volunteer experiences, and are not designed to provide service to those who would otherwise not have healthcare.

The learning objectives for interns with CFHI are:              

  • Develop a larger sense of cultural competency
  • Observe and develop existing clinical skills
  • Broaden public health knowledge
  • Develop creativity in problem-solving
  • Deepen their commitment to service
  • Promote medical supply conservation

The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia compromised of over 7,100 islands in the Pacific Ocean and home to more than 100 million people. It is filled with natural beauty and rich culture. Along with its biodiversity, white sandy beaches, mountain ranges, and tropical rainforests, the country’s colorful history is filled with a unique blend of cultures.

Interns will spend the first week in the capital city of Manila, visiting local government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and a variety of health facilities in the city. This provides and introduction to the Filipino healthcare system and an understanding of how resources and healthcare services vary between urban centers, remote island communities, and the mainland. Interns will then spend approximately 8.5 weeks stationed on two remote islands in the archipelago, in the provinces of Quezon and Romblon. This allows the intern to experience first-hand the daily healthcare challenges faced by “barangays”, or villages. Interns will work alongside local physicians, nurses, and midwives in rural primary healthcare clinics, with the chance to observe general consultations, pre-natal checkups, immunizations, and family planning. Interns may also join local clinic staff on trips to various barangays throughout the island to aid in health education programming.

The last few days will be spent back in Manila and also are a time for reflection exercises and lectures to understand the true challenges of providing quality healthcare to all Filipinos and efforts being made to address these challenges. It is an invaluable opportunity to understand how healthcare varies between urban centers and remote island communities.

Academic Background

  • Pre-med, pre-nursing, pre-pharmacy, public health, global health, Asian studies, or other pre-health studies


  • Prior experience in health care settings preferred

Language Requirements

  • English. Knowledge of local languages (Tagalog/Filipino) is beneficial but not required.

Other Requirements

  • Interns who wish to participate in CFHI programs must be a minimum age of 20 at start of program. Due to the limited availability of internet during the island placements, interns should plan ahead with academic supervisors, family, and friends regarding communication for the duration of the island stay (approximately six weeks).

Estimated One-Time Expenses

  • IE3 Global Program Fee: $3,450
  • Host Site Fees: $5,710
  • International Travel: $1,800
  • Visa Fees: $300
  • Recommended Immunizations: $600

Estimated Monthly Expenses

  • Housing: Included in the host site fee
  • Food: $100 for some meals
  • Local Transportation: $50
  • Recreation: $100
  • Personal Expenses: $100

Additional Expense Information

The CFHI host site fee includes:

  • Accommodation for 10 weeks on a shared basis with two meals a day
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off
  • In-country orientation
  • Weekly meetings with Medical Director and Local Coordinator
  • Clinical rotations
  • Pre-paid/pay-as-you-go cell phone
  • Transportation between locations (Manila and islands)
  • Public transportation in Manila (between sites)

Housing in Manila is hotel or dorm-style shared housing in the city. Interns will be instructed on recommended transportation between housing and clinical rotations around the city. While on the islands, interns will stay with homestay families. Please note that housing on the islands is rustic – participants should be prepared to survive without air conditioning, mineral water, internet, telephones, and hot water.

Student Reports:

  • Read about Anisha’s internship in the Philippines during summer 2016.
  • Read more from Alexis about her summer 2016 internship with CFHI.


“The wonderful thing (in my eyes, at least) about this program is that it is just as much public health/global health as it is clinical rotations (and small piece of advice when choosing future interns - someone just looking for clinical shadowing and mostly concerned with medicine will NOT get nearly as much out of the experience as someone interested in both), so coursework in both is helpful. The main purpose here is to learn. I think both the biggest challenge and reward has been that I haven't come out of this internship with any concrete answers about what I should do with myself. I feel like I'm being thrown back into school with no sense of whether I'm on the right track or not. It is good though because it is that many more paths I could take, so many more options for me to explore. That was a nice thing to discover. I think I've learned about important aspects of my personality that aren’t always apparent when I'm in my home culture. Living on a tropical island has brought out parts of myself that I didn't know were there.”

- Anisha, University of Oregon

“The community organization, services, and mentality was honestly unbelievable. In every little barangay there was a government set up with a barangay captain, barangay officials, and barangay health workers that all served to make their communities healthier, more prosperous, and happier. My professional reward definitely crosses over into the cross-cultural rewards of my internship as well. I’ve absolutely loved being able to connect with clinic staff and community members on levels way beyond coworkers and acquaintances. I feel like I have made lifelong friendships in a foreign country despite a language barrier. Coworkers treat each other like family. I think that in order to work effectively, you have to balance all aspects of life. If you try and numb one aspect of life, in my opinion, you numb all others inadvertently. I believe it’s so important to feel everything and process everything together in order to get the full picture, and healthcare workers in the Philippines did this very well.”

- Alexis, University of Oregon


Fall | Winter | Spring | Summer

Application Deadline

Program on hold until further notice.

Basic Requirements

- Pre-med, pre-nursing, pre-pharmacy, public health, and other pre-health courses

- Prior experience in health care settings preferred