May 1, 2014

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation is funding five research projects, totaling $250,000 in grants that are designed to study the human health benefits of the human-animal bond.

These grants will fund high-quality research in areas including animal-assisted social skills training for children with autism; canines and childhood cancer; long-term effects of pet dogs on families with children with autism; role of dog walking in heart health and equine therapy for trauma survivors.

“HABRI is making a major investment in new, groundbreaking research that will advance our knowledge of the human-animal bond,” Steven Feldman, HABRI executive director, said. “The caliber of each of these research studies is outstanding and the results will build the body of scientific evidence that demonstrates the benefits of animals to human health.”

 The recipients and their planned research projects are:

Erica C. Rogers, PhD, of Green Chimneys Children’s Services, for  “Animal-Assisted Social Skills Training for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.”

Dr. Kevin Morris, PhD, of American Humane Association for  “The Canines and Childhood Cancer Study: Examining Behaviors and Stress in Therapy Dogs”

Dr. Daniel Mills, BVCs, PhD, of Lincoln Memorial University, for  “Long Term Effects of Pet Dogs on Families with Children with Autism.”

Elizabeth A. Richards of Indiana University-Purdue, for “The Role of Dog Walking in Heart Health Promotion.”

Daniel L. Stroud, PhD of Oregon State University for, “Researching Equine-Facilitated Group Psychotherapy (EFGP) for Trauma Survivors: Horses and Humans in Therapeutic Relationships.”

Proposals were evaluated on study design, capabilities of investigators, adequacy of facilities, cost-effective yet realistic budget and potential for impact on the way the disease areas of interest are diagnosed, treated or otherwise understood by an independent Scientific Advisory Board comprised of experts in the field.

Application review and oversight of HABRI research awards were managed by the Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit organization that invests in science that advances knowledge and improves health for companion animals, horses and wildlife.

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