International Family Medicine Fellowship


The Via Christi International Family Medicine Fellowship (IFMF) is a 1-year post-residency training program designed to prepare and equip family physicians to go where others won’t go, to care for those without almost no one who will care for them, and to give so much more than you can ever give …

Our International Fellow thought the little girl – the same age as his daughter – would be dead by the morning. In a hospital in one of the poorest nations on Earth, 3-year-old Aliyah lay limp on a cot, shared with two other babies also needing oxygen, as malaria and pneumonia drained her life. Her heart was beating too slow, and she wasn’t responding to the little oxygen he could give her along with the antibiotics and antimalarial drugs. Through a translator, he told her mother there wasn’t anything else to do … but pray.

He could tell the mother was preparing herself for the worst, for the moment she’d have to carry her daughter’s lifeless body home on her back.

“All babies get carried out of the hospital on their mother’s back, regardless if they are alive or dead,” as he shared one of the more emotional experiences of his five-month rotation at Galmi Hospital in Niger. People would travel up to 9 hours by bus to seek medical care at the 150-bed hospital, where the cots were often shared by more than one patient.

But … Aliyah survived, and for the rest of  Aliyah’s hospital stay, when her mother saw our fellow she would raise her fist above her head – a gesture the native Hausa tribe reserve for those who hold authority – and smile at the bearded Western doctor.


The Need

There is an ever widening gap between the health of wealthy nations and those in developing countries. A child born in a wealthy nation will, with rare exception, live into adulthood, whereas a child born in a developing nation has only a 60-65% chance of reaching his/her fifth birthday. Health in most countries of poverty is only declining.

Our Vision

The Via Christi International Family Medicine Fellowship (IFMF) was developed to equip family physicians with a unique knowledge base and clinical skills set necessary to effectively serve the poorest and most under-served peoples of this world. Its vision is to provide real training to mobilize a force of compassionate, competent family physicians who will go and make a real difference in transforming the lives and health of nations.
Do you want real training to make a real difference? Contact S. Todd Stephens

Photo above via Courtesy of Deborah Berruti