Institute Leadership

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Steering Committee
Dr. Samuel and Myra Ross
Kristin Dionne
Maureen Doherty
Michael Kaufmann, Institute Director

Donna Kessler
Miyako Kinoshita
Dr. Steve Klee
Dr. Michael Otten
Dr. Edward Placke


Nature-Based & Institute Committee of the Green Chimneys Board
Dr. Michael Otten, Committee Chair
Dr. Ronald Feldman
Jack Manes
Christopher Platt
Bob Vetere

Advisory Council
ALAN M. BECK received his Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) in Animal Ecology from The Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. He has studied the ecological and public health implications of dogs and the health benefits of animal contact. Together with Dr. Aaron Katcher, he edited the book, New Perspectives on Our Lives with Companion Animals, and co-authored the book, Between Pets and People: The Importance of Animal Companionship. He has written numerous articles and is a founding board member of the Delta Society. Dr. Beck is now the “Dorothy N. McAllister Professor of Animal Ecology” and Director of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University, School of Veterinary Medicine.

ANDREA BEETZ Ph.D., M.A. in Psychology from the University of Erlangen, Germany. Already during her studies and as a postdoc she conducted research on human-animal interactions at the University of California, Davis, Utah State University, UT, USA, and University of Cambridge, UK. She founded a Human-Animal-Interaction Group at the Dept. of Education at the University of Erlangen (2006-2009) and later at the Dept. of Special Education, University of Rostock, where she focused on animal-assisted interventions and attachment between humans and dogs. Since 2011 she is also working as a researcher at the Human-Animal-Relationships Group at the Dept. of Behavioral Biology, University of Vienna, Austria. Her main areas of interest are animal-assisted interventions, especially in education and special education, and attachment between humans and companion animals. Dr. Andrea Beetz has published her research in scientific journals, books and at national and international conferences. She also serves as board member of IAHAIO, ISAZ and as president of ISAAT.

PAUL BROWN Ph.D., ABPP has been a licensed psychologist and Health Service Provider in the State of Tennessee since 1985. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Mississippi, his M.S. degree from Abilene Christian University and his PhD from the University of Mississippi in 1984. For the past 23 years, he has surveyed for the Behavior Health Accreditation program of the Joint Commission. In this role, he has surveyed many programs that utilize animals as a major focus in their treatment interventions. He has worked as a clinical director in residential treatment programs, in private practice and clinical consultation with juvenile courts, families and other treatment programs. In 2006, Dr. Brown received Board Certification in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, Certificate Number 6204. In 2007, he was awarded Fellow Status by the American Academy of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. This is the highest honor that can be given by the American Board of Professional Psychology. Dr. Brown has a great interest in establishing animal based therapy as an evidenced based treatment approach for children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Brown is an avid outdoor person and enjoys spending time with his Golden Retriever.

OCTAVIA BROWN D.H. is Professor of Equine Studies, Director of Therapeutic Riding and teaches Therapeutic Riding Instructor Certification at Centenary College. This is a course approved by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl). She also teaches Fundamental Theories of Riding - a First Year Experience class - and riding classes. She is a founding member of PATH International. In 1972, she founded the Somerset Hills Handicapped Riding Center in New Jersey and co-founded a NJ state-level council for therapeutic riding programs. She is a past president of the Federation of Riding for the Disabled International.

MARIE-JOSÈ ENDERS-SLEGERS Ph.D. is, since 2013, a professor in Anthrozoology at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences at the Open University in Heerlen, the Netherlands. Her research topics are the development of the human-animal bond; the effects of animal assisted interventions on individuals with autism, post traumatic stress disorders, dementia and psychiatric problems, in green care , as well as the relation between animal abuse and domestic violence. Marie-Jose is Vice President of IAHAIO, founder and Board member of the “Circle of Violence’, a  ‘Linksgroup’  in the Netherlands, has served for many years at the Board of ISAZ, at the Board of American Humane, was founder (30 years ago) of the first animal shelter in her region, was President of the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals.


RONALD A. FELDMAN Ph.D. is the Ruth Harris Ottman Centennial Professor for the Advancement of Social Work Education and Dean Emeritus at the Columbia University School of Social Work. He also was a faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley and at Washington University, St. Louis where he served as Acting Dean and received the university-wide Distinguished Faculty Award. He has been a Fulbright Lecturer (Turkey), Resident Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Study Center (Bellagio, Italy), and Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare. Dr. Feldman has served as Vice Chairman of the NIMH Task Force on Social Work Research, Chairman of the CSWE Commission on Educational Policy, VP of the International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions, and Trustee or Board Member of the William T. Grant Foundation, the Institute of Medicine’s Board on Biobehavioral and Mental Disorders, Cedar Crest College, and other organizations.  He founded the Center for the Study of Youth Development (Boys Town, Nebraska), the Center for Adolescent Mental Health (Washington University, St. Louis), and the Center for the Study of Social Work Practice (Columbia University). He also was a founding officer of SSWR and co-convener of the St. Louis Group for Excellence in Social Work Research and Education. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Career Achievement Award of the Society for Social Work and Research. He has published three books based upon NIMH-funded research concerning peer influence, parenting, group treatment and adolescent mental health and serves currently as U.S. Delegate and Senior Editorial Advisor for Social Work, Oxford University Press.

KARYL HURLEY DVM is the Director of Global Scientific Affairs for Mars Petcare on behalf of Mars, Incorporated. She is a specialist in Small Animal Veterinary Internal Medicine, and manages a portfolio of research under the Waltham Foundation which provides funds to study and promote the health and welfare of companion animals worldwide. She leads the Mars $5million initiative in human-animal interaction and manages the Mars Incorporated Public-Private Partnership with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development which seeks to understand the impact of companion animals in the lives of individuals, families and communities. She received her B.S. and D.V.M. from Cornell University and Specialty Diplomate status at North Carolina State University. Prior to Mars, she was on faculty at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London and currently maintains Adjunct Professorships in Nutrition and Internal Medicine at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania. Karyl shares her home with her husband, and a host of pets; two cats, two dogs and multiple tropical fish.

GAIL F. MELSON Ph.D. is Professor Emerita in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies and a faculty member in the Center for the Human-Animal Bond, both at Purdue University. She received her B.A. cum laude from Harvard University and M.S. and Ph.D in psychology from Michigan State University. Her scholarship focuses on the significance of animals, nature, and robotic pet technology for children’s development. Dr. Melson has authored or co-authored four books and over 50 articles and book chapters. Her book, Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children (Harvard University Press) has appeared in Chinese, Japanese and French language editions. Dr. Melson has been Visiting Professor at Radcliffe College, Tufts University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. She lectures frequently on the role that animals, nature and robotic pets play for children's development, including recent keynote addresses in Denver, Seattle, Tokyo, and Jerusalem.

GEORGE OLSHIN EdD is a Professor of Special Education at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) in New Haven. He has been at SCSU for over 40 years. In addition to teaching graduate level classes he also coordinates the Interdisciplinary Special Education Program. He has previously held positions as a Special Education Teacher in New York City, worked at the Department of Education for the State of Georgia, and has worked for the US Department of Education in Washington D.C. He has been a consultant to Grove School for over 30 years and currently serves as the President of Grove School's advisory board. He functions as the Grove School liaison with SCSU. Dr. Olshin works with Grove School staff in their professional graduate studies and helps direct their ongoing training in the field of Special Education. He also makes it possible for Grove School graduates who choose to attend SCSU to have an on-campus connection with someone who is very familiar with both programs.

JAMES SERPELL Ph.D. is the Marie A. Moore Professor of Humane Ethics and Animal Welfare at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, where he also directs the Center for the Interaction of Animals & Society (CIAS). In 1985 he established the Companion Animal Research Group at the University of Cambridge in England before moving to his current position at the University of Pennsylvania in 1993. Dr. Serpell is the immediate past president of the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ), and serves on the editorial boards of most of the major journals on animal welfare, applied animal behavior, and human-animal interactions.  His research focuses on the behavior and welfare of companion animals, the development of human attitudes to animals, and the history of human-animal relationships.

HIROKO SHIBANAI DVM is with the  Department of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine in Japan and is the Director, Akasaka Animal Hospital, She has been an advisor for the Japanese Animal Hospital Association (JAHA), is a member of CAPP Jury for Certifying Animals (JAHA), serves as an inspector for the Japan Hearing Dog Association and has been a board member with the  Society for the Study of Human Animal Relations. Additionally she has been a member of the steering committee for Nagano Prefecture Animal Care Protection Center, a committee member for Sendai City Animal Care Convention (Association) and is an advisor for Societe Franco-Japonaise des Science Veterinaires.

PHILIP TEDESCHI MSSW, LCSW is a clinical professor and an Animal-Assisted Social Work and Experiential Therapy Specialist and co-founder of the Institute for Human–Animal Connection programs at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW). Tedeschi is the Clinical Director of The Institute for Human-Animal Connection and coordinates the school's Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate program for Master of Social Work (MSW) students, as well as the Animals and Human Health online professional development certificate program. He also teaches MSW courses with emphasis on conservation and environmental social work in areas such as East Africa, the inclusion of animals in therapeutic settings and is a certified Master Therapeutic Riding Instructor and instructor with Outward Bound.

STEPHEN L. ZAWISTOWSKI, Ph.D. joined The ASPCA in 1988 and is currently Science Advisor. Dr. Zawistowski is a certified applied animal behaviorist and chaired the Animal Behavior Society’s Board of Professional Certification from 1998 to 2007. Dr. Zawistowski was a founding board member and past president of the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, serves on the Harmony Institute Community Advisory Board, and the Scientific Advisory Panel of the World Society for the Protection of Animals, the board of the Found Animal Foundation/Michelson Prize and member of the board of the Alliance for the Contraception of Cats and Dogs. He is an adjunct Professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, adjunct assistant professor with the Hunter College program in Animal Behavior and Conservation and an adjunct faculty member in the Canisius College graduate program in Anthrozoology.

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