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Where is Trifinio? ​

(click on the above map to see a larger version)

The Trifinio region of southwestern Guatemala lies in the rural coastal lowlands near the border with Chiapas, Mexico.

The region is named “El Trifinio” for the confluence of the three departments (states) of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, and Retalhuleu.

Trifinio is made up of small communities with a population of approximately 30,000.​​​​​​​​​​​​​



Signature Site

The Center for Global Health (CGH) at the Colorado School of Public Health (ColoradoSPH), in partnership with Children's Hospital Colorado, and AgroAmerica, a private family-owned Guatemalan banana and vegetable oils agro-business, created the first ever international public-private partnership at the University of Colorado to promote population health and sustainable development in an extremely poor, rural region of southwest Guatemala (Trifinio). This partnership has garnered a multi-specialty project that involves faculty, residents and students from schools on the University of Colorado Denver and Anschutz Medical Campuses.

Most recently, the National Institutes of Health funded a large natural history study taking place at the Trifinio site. In collaboration with Baylor College of Medicine's Vaccine Testing and Evaluation Unit, the study will examine neurologic, neurodevelopmental and other clinical outcomes of Zika virus infection in infants and young children.  Read the announcement.


 See What the Site Has to Offer!


 Trifinio Center for Human Development

Trifinio Center for Human Development

The Trifinio Center for Human Development was opened, along with the community clinic in 2012. In order to provide the best care for the community, oral health services, a clinical lab and a pharmacy shortly followed.  In 2016 the birth center officially opened.

  • Community Clinic - The clinic serves the families of the plantation's 5,000+ workers and over 28,000 residents in the surrounding villages. Learn more about the clinic.
  • Birth Center - The birth center provides a safe place for women in the Trifinio to give birth.  Read the press release.
  • Oral Health Services - The School of Dental Medicine at the CUAnschutz collaborates with the CGH by funding and providing low-cost dental services at the community clinic with a team of students and faculty. Learn more.
  • Clinical Lab - Laboratory services at the clinic include blood and urine testing for both routine health monitoring and diagnosing a wide range of health conditions.
  • Pharmacy -  The pharmacy is staffed by a full-time pharmacy technician, as well as fourth-year pharmacy students from the Skaggs School of Pharmacy, CUAnschutz.

 Community Outreach

Community Outreach

As part of the care provided, community outreach has played a large role in ensuring families are receiving continuity of care. 

  • Child Health - Early interventions to improve infant and child development, health and nutrition are shown to have a lasting impact.  Read about the project.
  • Maternal Health - We work to combat Guatemala's high rates of neonatal and infant mortality.  Learn more.
  • Worker Health - CGH has collaborated with the Center for Health, Work, and Environment  of the ColoradoSPH to address Total Worker Health® in partnership with AgroAmerica. This program will seek to improve  the health, safety and wellbeing of employees and their families.

 Research Projects

Research Projects

The Center for Global Health's senior investigators conduct research projects in the Trifinio region to learn more about Dengue, Diarrhea, mHealth, Zika and more! Read about the projects.


Talk to a Researcher

Interested in being a part of a research project in the Trifinio?  Click here to search for the project that is right for you. 




The Center for Global health offers a Global Health Elective for residents in Pediatrics, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine and Obstetrics-Gynecology. The resident elective consists of a one-month clinical rotation focusing on clinical, research and educational activities.

Learn more about the Guatemala elective at the southwest Trifinio project site. 

Traveling to the site?

Learn more.


 Guatemala Project Team

Meet the Guatemala  Project Team

Learn about the key players who make the signature site run!


 Art Program

Art Program for Children and Adolescents in Trifinio

Communities at Southwest Guatemalan Trifinio area suffer from high levels of poverty, malnutrition and mental health concerns like domestic violence and alcoholism. This area experiences one of the highest poverty levels in the nation. There is limited mental health support available in Trifinio. Many of these problems start early in life and worsen during the teenage years and adulthood. We created an opportunity to positively impact the life of Trifinio community members by providing teens with an opportunity to create, be free, and experience visual arts.  Art provides a safe space for people to express themselves, which can become a powerful tool for community empowerment and social change.

The first one-week pilot art program was delivered to 18 children and 12 teens in Trifinio in April 2018. Developed by Guatemala Project Specialist Cristina Del Hoyo and in collaboration with Dr. Alejandra Paniagua, a physician and public health specialist at the Center for Human Development​, and psychologists Desiree Bauer and Sara Hernandez, the art program aims to promote community engagement and a creative space so children and adolescents can express their emotions, hopes, and dreams. The objective of this program is not intended to teach children and adolescents how to draw or paint, but to give expression to a community that has neither voice nor representation in many aspects of daily life.

The art program in Trifinio has two sub-programs dedicated to meet the unique needs of children and adolescents. Paint Your Life is designed for children who are 9-11 years old focusing on self-esteem, identity, family and a sense of belonging. Create Your Life is designed for adolescents age 12 and up and addresses self-esteem, identity, planning for the future, and setting goals.

In May 2019, Create Your Life will partner with the Big Decisions Program to provide, along with the art program, education on sexual and reproductive health for adolescents between the ages of 12-18 years. The Big Decisions curriculum is being implemented at twelve high schools in Southwest Trifinio to meet the needs and concerns surrounding teen pregnancy and early initiation of sexual activity. This interdisciplinary collaboration aims to use the power of art to help adolescents build their communities, explore their unique experiences and challenges, and promote strength and resilience for the future.   


 Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

See what all the fuss is about: check out the photo gallery!​​


Latest News!

Stay up-to-date on the latest news regarding the Guatemala project.


Notes from the Field

Members of the project team share notes on their work while in the field. 


For Residents: Video Tour of Guatemala Signature Site 

Learn more about Guatemala and what to expect during your rotation in Guatemala from these two videos produced by the Center.  

Still want to learn more?

Contact Cristina Del Hoyo, Guatemala Project Specialist


Center for Global Health

13199 East Montview Boulevard, Suite 310
Mail Stop A090
Aurora, CO 80045


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