Institute Leadership

Green Chimneys is grateful to those dedicated to The Sam and Myra Ross Institute, including:

Kristin Dionne

Maureen Doherty

Michael Kaufmann, Institute Director

Donna Kessler

Miyako Kinoshita

Dr. Michael Otten

Dr. Michael Otten, Committee Chair

Dr. Ronald Feldman

Jack Manes

Christopher Platt

Bob Vetere

Alan M. Beck

Alan 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.

Andrea has an 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

Paul 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.

Octavia 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.

Marie-Josè 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.

Ronal 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

Karyl 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.

Gail 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

George 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.

James 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.

Philip Tedeschi MSSW, LCSW

Philip 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., CAAB

Stephen served as a senior executive at the ASPCA for 26 years and he is currently Science Advisor Emeritus. “Dr. Z” is a well-known speaker on a number of animal behavior, shelter and animal welfare topics. He is a certified applied animal behaviorist and chaired the Animal Behavior Society’s Board of Professional Certification from 1998-2007, is founding co-editor of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, and an adjunct professor in the Animal Behavior and Conservation graduate program at Hunter College. He co-edited Animal Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians and Staff with Dr. Lila Miller (2004) and the second edition in 2013, co-authored a history of the ASPCA, Heritage of Care with Marion Lane (2008), and authored a textbook Companion Animals in Society (2008). Dr. Z served on the ACC&D Board of Directors for eight years (2005-2013), including multiple years as Board Chair. He received public service awards from the USDOJ and USDA for his work on the Michael Vick dogfighting case.