From Chickens to Humans: Improving Health in Madagascar

Photo by the Global Health Institute of UW-Madison

Laurel Myers was still in elementary school when a shipment of goats to her family’s farm in Bridger, Montana, left everyone sick with fever. “So I grew up thinking of the connections between human and animal health,” she says.

Thanks to the first Henry A. Anderson III Graduate Student Award in Environmental, Occupational and Public Health, Myers, a University of Wisconsin-Madison DVM/MPH candidate, spent a month this summer with Madagascar Health and Environmental Research vaccinating chickens as part of a project to improve human health. “You’re improving human nutrition, avoiding environmental degradation and cutting down on disease spread,” she says of the village poultry health project. “Chickens are also seen as a source of women’s empowerment. Men bring in meat. Women keep chickens.”

In work that looks at the many factors that can influence health and disease, Myers and Anderson, a 1972 graduate of the UW-Madison medical school, are kindred spirits.

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