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Institute for Human-Animal Connection

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The Institute for Human-Animal Connection organizes conferences dedicated to advancement, practice and research in the field of animal-assisted social work.

Animals on the Mind 3.0 Practitioner's Conference


Join IHAC for our third, biennial Practitioners Conference, Animals on the Mind 3.0, Extraordinary Connections: Illuminating neurodiversity in human-animal relationships, at University of Denver on May 3-4, 2018.

Extraordinary Connections aims to increase awareness, compassion and understanding of people on the autism spectrum through the strength-based perspective of neurodiversity. This conference will focus on contemporary understanding of neurodiversity and human-animal relationships, through ethical frameworks of educational, therapeutic and vocational opportunities. Experts from around the globe will be featured as we explore the diversity of human and animal minds from a variety of perspectives and research. This special event is co-hosted by IHAC, Front Range Center for Neurodiversity and Green Chimneys.

Learn more and register on the conference website:

past conferences

  • The Institute for Human-Animal Connection's 2nd biennial Practitioners Conference, Animals on the Mind: Social Neurobiology of Human-Animal Interactions in Research and Practice, was held at University of Denver on May 12-13, 2016. This conference centered 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. 
  • IHAC was a proud partner of the 2015 Green Chimneys Human-Animal Interaction Conference titled, "Growing Together: Children, Animals and Sowing the Seeds of Resiliency". Thirty-four students in the Animal-Assisted Social Work certificate program at University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) attended and participated in the conference, along with human-animal interaction professionals from around the globe. Students enrolled in a special topics course at GSSW created a special conference summary as part of their experience.
  • IHAC's inaugural practitioner's conference took place on May 7-8, 2014 and was titled "Transforming Trauma: Research developments and methods for trauma-informed animal-assisted interventions".