Family Health International (FHI) is a public health and development organization dedicated to improving living standards of the world's most vulnerable people. Family Health International has 2,500 staff conducting research and implementing programs in fifty-five countries. Family Health International endeavors to advance public health initiatives and to improve local capacity to address development problems. Since 1971, Family Health International has been a global leader in family planning and reproductive health; After 1986, Family Health International became a leader in the worldwide response to HIV/AIDS. FHI's research and programs also address malaria, tuberculosis, and other infectious and chronic diseases and international agencies, governments, foundations, research institutions, and individual donors. FHI partners include the United States of America.
Family Health International grew from a contraceptive research project begun at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1971. An initial grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) helped establish the International Fertility Research Program (IFRP), which became an independent, nonprofit organization in 1975. In 1982 IFRP changed its name to Family Health International. Since then Family Health International work expanded beyond family planning into other areas of reproductive health research and technical assistance. FHI investigated and implemented effective ways to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and enhance the quality of reproductive health services. In 1986, FHI began working on early strategies to prevent HIV infectionand in 1987 FHI was awarded USAID's first five-year HIV/AIDS prevention program in developing countries. Continuous funding since then – from USAID, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and others – enabled FHI to manage some of the largest HIV/AIDS programs in the world. US Government agencies, principally USAID, the National Institutes of Health, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, remain important funding sources. Other major sponsors of HIV/AIDS programs, as well as other health and development areas, include the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Increasingly, other governments, private foundations, and the private sector are partnering with FHI to overcome the health and development challenges. In 2010, Family Health International rebranded itself with the new tagline, “The science of improving lives,” highlighting FHI's commitment to empirical science empowering the world’s most vulnerable people. The name was also simplified to FHI, reflecting a broadened scope that encompasses health and development as well as service to families, communities, and nations.
FHI contributed to a clinical trial called CAPRISA 004 which provided an important breakthrough in the fight against HIV and genital herpes with a vaginal gel that significantly reduces a woman’s risk of infection.
Areas of focus
Areas of focus include:
- Family planning
- Child and maternal health
- Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis
- Chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease
FHI works with national governments and local communities to strengthen broader health systems and create lasting improvements in the lives of individuals and families.
Headquartered in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, Family Health International maintains field offices in thirty-two countries, including management centers in Bangkok, Thailand; Nairobi, Kenya; and Washington, DC. FHI has worked in over 100 countries since 1971 and is currently engaged in activities in fifty-five countries.
Haiti relief efforts
On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince, the base of operations of FHI’s work in Haiti. Several family members of FHI staff were killed. In response to the great need for humanitarian effort, FHI established a “Fund for Haiti Relief," working with the country office in Haiti and a network of local partners throughout Haiti.
CSIS Commission on Smart Global Health Policy
Family Health International’s President for Public Health Programs, Peter Lamptey, was named a member of the CSIS Commission on Smart Global Health Policy in 2009. The Commission brings together twenty-six prominent leaders from the private sector, the United States Congress, academia, media, and the security, foreign policy, and global health communities to set goals and priorities for US global health efforts over the next decade and beyond.
The Commission released its final report, A Healthier, Safer, and More Prosperous World, in March 2010.
Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria
Family Health International was announced as one of the Global Business Coalition (GBC) on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria's first non-corporate members in December 2009. The GBC is an alliance of over 200 companies dedicated to strengthening the ties between business, government, and civil society in the pursuit of worldwide improved health.