HABRI Foundation Awards First Research Grants

HABRI uses animals to help autistic children and human heart health.

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Using animals to help autistic children and improving human heart health through dog walking are among the first five research topics being funded by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation.

The $250,000 in grant money is designed to study how the human-animal bond benefits people, the Washington, D.C., foundation reported today.

 Dog and Girl
"Animal-Assisted Social Skills Training for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders" is one of five approved research projects.

"HABRI is making a major investment in new, groundbreaking research that will advance our knowledge of the human-animal bond," executive director Steven Feldman 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 grant recipients and their planned research projects are:

• Erica C. Rogers, Ph.D., of Green Chimneys Children's Services: "Animal-Assisted Social Skills Training for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders."

• Kevin Morris, Ph.D., of the American Humane Association: "The Canines and Childhood Cancer Study: Examining Behaviors and Stress in Therapy Dogs."

• Daniel Mills, BVCs, Ph.D., of the University of Lincoln: "Long-Term Effects of Pet Dogs on Families With Children With Autism."

• Elizabeth A. Richards of Indiana University-Purdue University: "The Role of Dog Walking in Heart Health Promotion."

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

Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit group based in Denver, reviewed the grant applications.

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