Madagascar Health and Environmental Research (MAHERY) began in 2004 when Dr. Christopher Golden first visited the Maroantsetra region of Madagascar. His research agenda spanned the intersection of human health and the environment and engaged a variety of students and local people to contribute to his work. Over time, it no longer became his research agenda, but an agenda set by local people and local researchers to address what they believed to be important questions about ways in which environmental change would be affecting their health. Through funding from the National Geographic Society, National Science Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Wellcome Trust, DEFRA (UK), Margot Marsh Biodiversity Fund, and Mohamed bin Zayed Conservation Fund, MAHERY has grown into a strong research organization providing hands-on research experiences for both American and Malagasy students.
Since 2004, MAHERY has focused much of its efforts on the following bodies of research: (1) the impact of overhunting and terrestrial wildlife declines on food security and nutrition (2) the impact of fisheries management and marine conservation on food security and nutrition (3) the use of traditional medicines by local people (4) the practice of pica and geophagy (5) barriers to accessing healthcare and adequate nutrition (6) the role of livestock husbandry in securing adequate nutrition (7) the role of wildlife hunting and consumption in zoonotic disease transmission (8) the disease ecology of various infectious diseases (i.e. malaria) In each of these research activities, we have collaborated with local organizations and trained American and Malagasy students to understand how to carry out interdisciplinary research.