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Following are brief bios of the 2013 team members, and their perspectives on the project.
Sarah Zohdy is a biologist who began doing research in Ranomafana six years ago, drawn by her fascination with lemurs.
Since humans began settling in Madagascar, about 1,500 years ago, much of the wildlife has disappeared, including at least 17 species of lemurs.
Meanwhile, much of the local populace is focused on staying fed, sheltered and alive.
“When people’s children are dying of diarrheal diseases, their priorities are probably not going to include protecting biodiversity.” Headrick is part of an infectious disease team, including Emory students from nursing, the Rollins School of Public Health, the Department of Environmental Studies and the Masters of Development Practice program, conducting research in Madagascar.
The team, in the country for most of the summer, is gathering baseline data on the health of people, domesticated animals and wildlife in and around the Ranomafana National Park.
“To really understand human health, animal health and environmental health, you have to study all three at once,” Zohdy says.
Emily Headrick is a nurse who prefers being in the field to hospitals.
The ultimate goal is to promote human and wildlife health, while also ensuring the sustainability of the ecosystem.