Please note this program is an unpaid global health education program. There is a program fee required to participate. This program fee pays for on-site services such a lodging, language classes (if relevent), 24/7 emergency support, coordination of rotations and/or placements, and on-site staff. CFHI is a nonprofit organization committed to fair-trade partnerships around the world. Please use the following code when applying for a program on the CFHI website “HandshakeCFHI” in order to have the application fee waived.
The World Health Organization defines palliative care as an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering through assessment and treatment of pain and physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs. (WHO)
The field of palliative care is growing rapidly. A recent article from NPR Health News highlights the current state of palliative care in America and the growing need for licensed palliative care practitioners within the US to adhere to patient needs and meet the best practice standards. India has some of the highest rates of oral and oesophageal cancers, yet only a tiny faction of those coping with life-threatening or life-limiting illness have access to effective pain relief. There is a lack of facilities, personnel trained in palliative care, and cultural awareness of the importance of palliative and end of life care.
Join the “Father of Palliative Care” in India, Dr. Rajagopal (Dr. Raj), who leads this program, and witness the realities of providing care for terminally ill patients and those suffering pain in a low resource environment. Dr. Raj is a world-renowned leader in the field and has been featured in The New York Times and New England Journal of Medicine. In the fall of 2014, Human Rights Watch honored Dr. Raj for his tireless efforts, more than two decades worth, battling conditions that cause patients to suffer unnecessary pain.
Sit in on classes with trainees from India and around the world to learn about the four core competencies of palliative care and how Indian culture influences perceptions of life, illness, suffering and death. Join small healthcare teams on homecare visits within the city of Trivandrum and nearby coastal villages. In addition, rotate at healthcare facilities including a private hospital and hospice care centers. Throughout rotations, assist Dr. Raj and other physicians, nurses and social workers in providing primarily free services to low income families. Gain access to the very personal patient-provider relationship unique to this field, while learning how to implement a pragmatic palliative care model in the developing world. Understand how culture impacts communication and decision-making amongst patients, families and physicians.
Become immersed in Indian culture while staying on a college campus in Trivandrum, and explore museums and other attractions, such as the Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Lord Vishnu, nominated as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. CFHI participants may also organize weekend trips to nearby destinations such as the beach resorts of Varkala and Kovalam.