Washington, D.C. (January 15, 2014) — The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation today announced that, after an extensive nationwide search, Steven Feldman has been selected to lead the organization as its executive director. An experienced association executive and public policy advocate with more than 20 years in the field, Feldman has worked in many related areas including wildlife conservation, animal welfare, healthcare and education.
“On behalf of all of our trustees and sponsors, we are thrilled to welcome Steven into the organization to help position HABRI for continued growth,” said Bob Vetere, president of HABRI. “Given his successful background in leadership and management in the public sector, along with his extensive knowledge and previous work in the zoo and aquarium industry, we are confident he will be a great asset in taking HABRI to the next level.”
Feldman replaces Steve Hellem of Navista, who had been contracted by HABRI to oversee the organization since its launch nearly four years ago.
“We truly thank Steve Hellem for all he has done to help HABRI get to where it is today,” said Vetere. “He has been a great asset and we look forward to growing HABRI on the solid foundation he has helped build with a full-time executive director.”
Prior to joining HABRI, Feldman served as senior vice president for external affairs for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. He also worked at Powell Tate, a leading public affairs firm, and as a staff member in the United States Senate.
“It’s an honor to join HABRI because its mission is so critical to improving the lives of so many people,” said Feldman. “The Foundation has taken a leadership role in achieving more widespread recognition of the power of the human-animal bond to benefit the health of individuals and communities. I am grateful to the trustees and sponsors, and look forward to continuing the momentum they have created in advancing the research in this important area of health and science.”
Since its launch, HABRI has created the world’s largest database of human-animal bond related research, which can be found at www.habricentral.org. In addition, HABRI recently announced that, in conjunction with the Morris Animal Foundation, it will soon be awarding $300,000 in research grant funding for additional scientific research with a specific focus on the benefits of the human-animal bond in seven key areas of human health:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Cardiovascular Health
- Childhood Allergies/Immunity
- Dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease
- Neurological Disorders
With a new executive director in place, future growth for HABRI includes plans to launch a book series, Pets & People, in partnership with Purdue University and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), geared towards helping health professionals apply human-animal interaction science to improve clinical practices.
Founded by The American Pet Product Association (APPA), Petco Animal Supplies Inc., and Zoetis (formerly the animal health business of Pfizer), HABRI is a broad coalition of companies, organizations, entities whose mission is to achieve formal, widespread scientific recognition that validates and supports the positive roles of pets and animals in the integrated health of families and communities, leading to informed decisions in human health.
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New Study to Explore the Connection Between Human and Pet Health
The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) announced today it has awarded a $27,000 grant to Lincoln Memorial University, for a study titled, Measuring the Impact of a Mutually Reinforcing Relationship Between Pet Owners and Their Pets. This research project will analyze data collected via a series of public health fairs and develop a general model of health and wellness behavior to examine the relationship between the health of humans and their pets and whether patterns of health and health-associated behaviors are similar. It is anticipated that the model will help determine that pets share the same health benefits and risks as their owners. “Healthy pets make healthy people,” said HABRI Executive Director Steve Feldman. “Lincoln Memorial University can help us establish this important connection so that the human-animal bond is universally accepted as an essential element of human wellness.” The one-year pilot study will aim to obtain data sufficient to describe the current state of health and health associated behaviors in pet owner-pet pairs in the Cumberland Gap Region (CGR) of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia. Health metric data including body weight, heart rate, blood pressure and height will be collected for 300 human subjects and their pet dogs or cats through conducting a series of public health fairs. The investigators seek to use the data to formulate a general model of health and health associated behavior. “Few studies have simultaneously investigated the health and health promoting behaviors of owners and pets,” said principal investigator Dr. Charles Faulkner, Associate Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Lincoln Memorial University. “We believe the model developed in this study will help provide evidence that the relationship between humans and companion animals mutually reinforces their health and quality of life. This is especially important in a geographic region where residents rank at the bottom in health outcomes for heart...
Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act Funding Now Available: Aid for Survivors of Domestic Violence and their Pets Arrives at Critical Time
The PAWS Act Coalition, a group of nonprofit and for-profit organizations, is working to raise awareness among the domestic violence shelter community of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Emergency and Transitional Pet Shelter and Housing Assistance Grant Program. This program will support shelter and transitional housing services for survivors of domestic violence and their companion animals, which was made possible by the passage of the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act by Congress in 2018. “The PAWS Act funding and new grants mark an important milestone in keeping more pets and their families together,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, president of Nestlé Purina PetCare. “Purina is committed to continuing to work alongside our partners to increase the number of pet-friendly domestic violence shelters so families and their pets can safely leave an abusive situation and heal together.” “With incidents of domestic violence increasing as a result of coronavirus stay-at-home orders, the need for pet-friendly sheltering will also grow, and this funding could not have come at a better time,” said Steven Feldman, Executive Director of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI). “HABRI is proud to have participated in this two-plus year effort to support the successful implementation of the lifesaving PAWS Act. The PAWS Act Coalition and many in the greater pet care community have worked hard to make this grant program a reality.” The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will provide up to five grants of $400,000 each, to begin on October 1, 2020. The primary goal of this funding is to support shelter and transitional housing services for survivors of domestic violence and their companion animals. With these grants, the DOJ seeks to increase the number of shelter beds and transitional housing options to meet the needs of domestic violence survivors who need shelter or housing for them and their companion animals. Funding provided by this grant will also provide...
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