Child Family Health International

Social Media Ethics Policy

Child Family Health International (CFHI) reserves the right to use photographs and text (blogs, testimonials, etc.) related to a participant's' CFHI program whether they be submitted to CFHI or posted to the Internet.  All CFHI participants are Global Ambassadors for Patient Safety and ethical, thoughtful global engagement that recognizes power and privilege, as well as presents individuals and communities in a strengths-based light.

By representing CFHI through social media outlets you acknowledge and will abide by our Social Media ethics policy.

Think before you share

Often, what seems obvious in retrospect is not so obvious in the moment. When deciding what pictures/videos to share on social media, take into consideration who you are featuring, what you are featuring, and where you are. Keep in mind how you are representing CFHI and yourself. First and foremost, you are a guest in the country and community. Just as you would, think about how a local person would want their community portrayed. Consider what the impacts of sharing are and think about what your friends and family would think of the post.

Consider that when you initially arrive to an environment, your opinions might be different from when you leave. Do not post negative comments if possible and consider other outlets for expressing negative sentiments.  If you are posting things that can be construed negatively consider doing so after you have spent some time in the community and can make sure your comments are warranted.

You are an ambassador for CFHI and the facility you are working at and your social media engagement is not just raising awareness but also promoting our program, organization, other affiliates (University, alumni.), and in some cases an entire nation.

Keep posts appropriate and non-offensive. For example, do not post a picture or video of violent behavior; keep your audience in mind.  Also, do not take photos or video in clinical settings, particularly if they show patient encounters that reveal patient’s identities.  

Some food for thought:


Participants should always request verbal permission in the local language to take photos/recordings of patients/staff/other individuals.  Remember that all persons are entitled to say no and that we have the responsibility to respect their decision.  In addition, realize that it is often difficult for people to say no to outsiders or people from wealthier places due to cultural practices to say ‘yes’ to those who you do not know well, as well as power and privilege dynamics.  In clinical settings, patient can be reluctant to say no because they fear it will jeopardize their access to needed healthcare.  In clinical settings, consider focusing any images on your teachers, co-participants, and yourself in a learning environment, rather than patients receiving care.  

When taking photos or videos of subjects, consider the potential vulnerability and victimization you may be portraying. Consider these questions: Do I have permission to use this photo? Does this moment really need to be shared? What message am I sending? Do the subjects want to be recognized? It is your duty to respect and uphold their anonymity, which may entail changing the subject/s name and/or exact location of where you are. Ask before mentioning their name and their situation to avoid anonymity problems. Finally, always respect and follow the rules, laws, and customs of the country and community.  If photos taken in clinical settings or of a diagnosis/disease process, the patient’s need to be de-identified with blurring of faces or redaction of identifying markers (such as their eyes).


Situational awareness

Be aware of your surroundings and if you see the potential for harm for you or for anyone else, through obtaining a photo/video or by sharing it online, step away. Be aware of what’s going on and refer back to ‘Think before you share’.

Do not intrude on the subject’s personal lives and use common sense to identify the appropriate time to take a photo/video and share it.  When in doubt, refrain from photography that can be exploitive of underserved patients. You are discouraged from taking photographs of patients as the main subject while in clinical settings.

For example:

Raising awareness

When you share and post a photo/video online, you aren’t just sharing your experiences but your engagement represents your colleagues’ and community’s experiences as well.  It is important to show the truth, which means minimal photo manipulation. What photo manipulation entails is adding or subtracting from the photo to enhance and or to misguide the audience. Filters are allowed if they do not mislead or drastically change the message.

It is also important to supply context to the image to inform the viewer. The description should be factual and true to the situation, as you know it. Ask for help if you are unaware. Do not over-exaggerate or make false statements to enhance or dramatize the photo and or video – keep it real.

For example:

Cultural Sensitivity

We must all be aware of the image we are projecting. Our photographs/videos/posts should not impose our culture on the communities we are trying to serve. In other words, be sensitive to depicting care givers and care recipients of different ethnicities. Avoid posting photos which show the communities as victims.

For example:

If you are in doubt about any of these situations, please ask for help from a co - worker or on site director.  CFHI Director of Outreach, Keaton Andreas MA, is also available to guide you.  Please reach out via email at