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HABRI Hits $2 Million Milestone for Research Support


December 7, 2017

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced funding for four new research grants focused on the effects of human-animal interaction on human health, including social skills outcomes for children with autism spectrum disorder; the physical and developmental health of children living with family pets; and the mental health and well-being of seniors living alone. These four grant projects raise HABRI’s total research funding to more than $2 million.

“The companies and organizations that make HABRI’s research program possible deserve the credit for hitting the $2 million dollar milestone,” said Bob Vetere, HABRI president and chair of the board of trustees. “With their support, HABRI is building a strong pipeline of high-quality research projects that are showing how pet ownership is essential for human health and wellness.”

Since HABRI’s founding in 2010, HABRI has funded 21 competitive research projects from institutions across the globe and has supported the creation of the world’s most comprehensive online library of human-animal interaction research, bringing its research funding to more than $2 million.

In 2017, HABRI awarded a total of approximately $200,000 to the following four research projects, identified by the expert HABRI Scientific Advisory Board out of a total of 48 proposals received:

Heidi Ewen, PhD (University of Georgia Research Foundation): Healthy Aging: Human Companionship Through Fostering Felines

Gretchen Carlisle, PhD (University of Missouri): Shelter Cat Adoption in Families of Children with Autism: Impact On Children’s Social Skills and Anxiety as Well as Cat Stress

Alexandra Protopopova, PhD (Texas Tech University): Integration of AAI and Applied Behavior Analysis to Improve Academic Performance in Children with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disability

Hayley Christian, PhD (The University of Western Australia): The Health and Developmental Benefits of Companion Animals for Young Children: Advancing The Evidence Base

“These projects are exciting, including HABRI’s first two cat studies, and we look forward to seeing the results,” Vetere said. “Each year, HABRI receives an increasing number of research proposals, which is why we need even more support from within and outside the pet care community. Together, we will deliver the scientific research needed to strengthen the role of pets in the lives of children, families and the communities where they live.”

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