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Graduate School of Social Work

Institute for Human-Animal Connection

IHAC's Second Annual Research Symposium: May 20,2018


Please join us to learn more about the innovative research IHAC conducts on the many roles that animals play in our lives. Enjoy brief presentations by students, staff and faculty of what we accomplished this year and our future research directions. Featuring a keynote by Amanda Arrington, Director of Humane Society of the United States' Pets for Life Program: "Promoting Social Justice by Breaking Down Barriers to Animal Care Resources"

**Click here to register for this free event!**

May InTerconnected Webinar 


Topic: Emotional Support Animals

When: May 24, 2018 1:00 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Presented by: Philip Tedeschi, IHAC Executive Director and Clinical Professor at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work.

**Register here to attend this online webinar for FREE!**

Description: There is currently a lot of media and confusion regarding Emotional Support Animals (ESAs), despite their potential for improving the lives of persons with mental health conditions. Unfortunately, some individuals falsely claim their companion animal is an ESA, which only undermines ESA policies aimed at providing essential and life- changing support for persons struggling with their mental health. In this Interconnected webinar, IHAC Executive Director Philip Tedeschi, who supervises the ESA program at the University of Denver, will go over the science of the human-animal bond as it relates to ESAs, best practices for ESA programming, clinical considerations for conducting an ESA evaluation with a client, and tips for offering emotional support animal prescriptions and generating ESA letters as documentation.

May 3-4: Animals on the Mind 3.0 conference

Animals on the Mind 3.0 2018

A huge thanks to all our attendees, speakers and sponsors for making this event a success!

NEW! CAnine-assisted intervention specialist certificate

The Canine-Assisted Intervention Specialist (CAIS) Certificate is a professional development program specifically designed for teachers and advanced-degree mental-health therapists who want to add canine-assisted work to their practice. The program is competency-based and integrates a wide variety of current best practices from experts around the globe. CAIS utilizes a hybrid educational model: three online courses, two live weekends in Denver, and fieldwork with multiple canines in your city.

For more details, please visit our dedicated Canine-Assisted Intervention Specialist Certificate Program website

Raising Compassionate Kids - Enrolling now for Fall

This professional development certificate program of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver focuses on humane education training for teachers, parents and caregivers of children ages 2-8, with easy adaptability for older children. It includes three online courses and one residential course taught in Denver, Colorado. Learn more.



  • IHAC was a proud partner of the Human-Animal Interaction Conference, Building Connections: Children, Animals and Healthy Families at Green Chimneys in Brewster, New York on April 28-29, 2017

  • IHAC hosted Martha C. Nussbuam on January 30, 2017 for an illuminating talk entitled, "Animal Rights and the Capabilities Approach: A Radical Alternative to Anthropocentrism". Thank you to our co-hosts, Sturm College of Law and Friends of Animals. Gratitude and recognition is also extended to Chuck & Don's, for their generous support and sponsorship of this event.

  • IHAC led the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos - Denver at the Colorado State Capitol Building on September 24, 2016. Join the worldwide movement to advocate for a total ban on the ivory trade. Learn more here.

  • Watch IHAC"s very own Philip Tedeschi and Sarah Bexell talk about IHAC's latest work as canine companion Nathaniel steals the show on Colorado and Company. 

  • IHAC hosted its second Practitioners Conference, Animals on the Mind: Social Neurobiology of Human-Animal Interactions in Research and Practice on May 12-13, 2016. This conference focused on the applications and research of animal-assisted interventions specific to social neuroscience in areas such as: autism spectrum disorders, mental health treatment and variants of exposure to animals across the lifespan.

  • Press Release: Equine-Assisted Mental Health at University of Denver - New Program Starts in 2015. Download the full press release here.
  • Summer 2015: IHAC welcomes Nina Ekholm Fry as the Director of Equine Programs! Nina leads the new Equine Assisted Mental Health Practitioner Certificate program- learn more

  • IHAC partnered with Green Chimneys in hosting the 2015 Human-Animal Interaction conference in Brewster, New York. Learn more and download the conference summary here.

  • New evidence is always emerging regarding the significance of the human-animal bond. A new study suggests that companion animals may prove to be a helpful addition to treatment programs designed to help children with ASDs improve their social skills and interactions with other people.

  • Read about Marc Beckoff's work teaching animal behavior in the Boulder County Jail here

  • Take action to save wildlife! Measure and find out how you can reduce your ecological impact using the Global Footprint Network's Footprint Calculator here. SIgn the petition banning the sale of ivory in the state of Colorado here

  • The University of Wisconsin-Madison did a special alumni piece on IHAC's Executive Director, Philip Tedeschi. Read the full article here.

  • IHAC, Chuck & Don's and Animal-Assisted Social Work students highlighted on local news! See the Fox News story here.

  • University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work students organize animal-assisted stress relief event at DU Law School. See the 9News story here.

  • Chuck & Don's donates $23k to IHAC for new safe shelter program for pets.

  • Executive Director Philip Tedeschi discusses human-animal relationships on the radio show Our Wild World. Listen to the full interview

  • IHAC successfully hosted its first Practitioners Conference, Transforming Trauma: Research Developments and Methods for Trauma-Informed Animal Assisted Interventions, on May 7 and 8, 2014.