One Health Challenges

Program Dates: May 28, 2023 - June 14, 2023

Madagascar has some of the highest levels of biodiversity on the planet; however, this is coupled with numerous anthropogenic threats resulting from immense, widespread poverty. As a result, Madagascar is known as a key biodiversity hotspot and a top conservation and humanitarian priority global site. The OneHealth concept suggests that human, animal, and environmental health are all intrinsically linked and improvements to one must consider and address the others. This program focuses on conservation and human-livelihood issues in Madagascar with the aim of developing OneHealth research approaches to address these needs. The Andasibe-Mantadia region of Madagascar provides a unique backdrop for this  course. Students will visit, explore, and help collect data on the many lemur, carnivore, chameleon, and plant  species (most occurring nowhere else in the world) occupying Madagascar’s most visited protected rainforest site. Students will track and record calls of wild Indri (primate) populations and set up camera traps to monitor cryptic fosa in rainforest habitat. At the same time, students will visit local villages bordering these protected areas, meet with community organizers, interview health care workers, and connect with the community through various planned experiences such as cooking demonstrations, working in community gardens and  school gardens, engaging in conservation experiences with Malagasy guides, and learning from Malagasy community leaders about their service organizations.  

Students in this course will see and experience the interconnectedness of human, wildlife, and environmental health up close and personal. Students will participate in research and interact with multiple non-profit and government organizations working in this community. By the end of this course, students will have a greater understanding of the OneHealth concept and its approach to addressing conservation and human priorities in a biodiversity hotspot.  



Antananarivo also known by its colonial shorthand form Tana, is the capital and largest city of Madagascar. The administrative area of the city, known as Antananarivo-Renivohitra ("Antananarivo-Mother Hill" or "Antananarivo-Capital"), is the capital of Analamanga region. The city served as the capital of the Kingdom of Imerina until 1710, when Imerina split into four warring quadrants. Antananarivo became the capital of the southern quadrant until 1794, when King Andrianampoinimerina of Ambohimanga captured the province and restored it as capital of a united Kingdom of Imerina, also bringing neighboring ethnic groups under Merina control. These conquests continued under his son, Radama I, who eventually controlled over two-thirds of the island, leading him to be considered the King of Madagascar by European diplomats. Antananarivo remained the island's capital after Madagascar was colonized by the French in 1897, and after independence in 1960.


Andasibe is a rural municipality in Madagascar. It belongs to the district of Moramanga, which is a part of Alaotra-Mangoro Region. The population of the commune was estimated to be approximately 13493 in 2006. (Source: Wikipedia)



Program participans will enroll in one course from the following selection.

Course Prefix

Course Name



CHS 4530

Madagascar Study Abroad: One Health Challenges


Alisha Farris & Zach Farris

CHS 5530 

Madagascar Study Abroad: One Health Challenges


Alisha Farris & Zach Farris


Faculty Leaders

Dr. Alisha Farris
Associate Professor
Department of Nutrition and Foods


Dr. Farris is an Assistant Professor in Nutrition at Appalachian State University, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). She has a background in both community and clinical nutrition. Prior to receiving a PhD, Dr. Farris worked as a clinical dietitian for 8 years predominantly in pediatric populations. However, for the last 5 years her focus has been in community nutrition, specifically maternal and child nutrition issues as she consistently works with various community partners locally and globally on challenges such as: child nutrition programs, international nutrition, food insecurity and diet diversity, and food parenting practices. Dr. Farris enjoys mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in community research projects each year. She has authored and co-authored many publications and presentations in her research area, including national and international presentations. Aside from her professional life, Dr. Farris loves the mountains and enjoys exploring them with her husband and two children.

Dr. Zach Farris
Assistant Professor
Department of Public Health and Exercise Science

Dr. Zach Farris is an Assistant Professor in Public Health & Exercise Science. He earned his PhD from Virginia Tech in Wildlife Conservation and his masters from University of Arkansas in Wildlife Biology. He has been conducting research in Madagascar for the past 15 years where he studies carnivores and primates using non-invasive sampling (camera trapping and transect surveys) and population modeling across multiple, rainforest protected areas. He co-founded and runs a non-profit in Madagascar that provides free veterinarian services to conserve wildlife via managing free-ranging dog and cat populations. 


Program Cost: $3,270

Program cost includes meals, lodging, in-country transportation. 

Estimated Additional Expenses


Undergraduate Tuition - Resident

$152.54 / credit hour

Undergraduate Tuition - Non-Resident

$172.54 / credit hour

Graduate Tuition - Resident

$187.54 / credit hour

Graduate Tuition - Non-Resident

$207.54 / credit hour

Personal Expenses




Please note that non-billable costs are estimates only and will be affected by personal spending habits, currency fluctuations, etc. Prices listed in USD unless otherwise noted. Students are encouraged to start planning for their study abroad program costs well in advance. 

Payment Schedule





 Upon receipt of application

Payment 1



Payment 2 



Payment 3



Appalachian reserves the right to cancel or alter the program format or to change costs in case of conditions beyond the university's control.  Further details about Appalachian's withdrawal/cancellation policy can be found at this link.


Application Process

  1. In order to apply for this program, you will need to contact one of the program leaders and provide your Banner ID and email address. Program leaders may request additional information or a meeting to discuss the details of the program and your interest.
  2. When permission to apply for the program is granted, you will receive an email from the Office of International Education and Development with a link to the application and further instructions.
  3. Your application will be considered complete when you have submitted it and paid the $300 deposit fee. The fee cannot be paid until it appears on your student account. Please note that it may take 2–3 business days for it to post to your account. You will receive an email with Instructions for paying the deposit fee. Instructions can also be found in the application.