History

Historical Symposia & Workshops

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Since 2008, WALTHAM and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) have been partnering to co-host annual scientific meetings focusing on important topics in the field of human-animal interaction (HAI).

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Directions in Human-Animal Interaction Research:  Child Development, Health and Therapeutic Interventions


Held in October 2008, this meeting brought together more than 40 of the world’s leading scientists in the field of HAI and related disciplines. The conference, “Directions in Human-Animal Interaction Research:  Child Development, Health and Therapeutic Interventions,” was the first on HAI research held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in more than 20 years, and the first to focus exclusively on the role of pets in childhood and adolescence. For two days, scientists reviewed current research in the field, and identified key topics for further investigation, creating a roadmap for subsequent partnership activities.

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Role of Pets in the Socio-Emotional and Bio-Behavioural Development of Children

To further explore the role of pets in child development, a meeting was held in August 2009. The meeting took place at the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition in the UK, and covered topics that included the role of pets in healthy child development, biological responses to human-animal interaction, and pets as potential buffers to childhood trauma.

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Social Neuroscience of Human-Animal Interactions

In November 2011, a public conference was held in Washington DC, as a satellite meeting of the Society for Neuroscience’s annual convention, which explored the current methods and relevant findings in developmental neuroscience as they relate to HAI, specifically in the areas of social and emotional development, cognition, motivation, and social affiliation.

More detailed information about this conference can be found at: http://haineuroconference2011.ezregister.com/

Symposia with Other Partners

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Research Meets Practice: Human-Animal Interaction in Obesity Across the Lifespan

Due to high levels of obesity and obesity-related disease in the United States and other industrialised countries, dog walking – found to positively influence physical activity – was the focus of a one-day symposium embedded within the 18th Annual Conference of the International Society for Anthrozoology, which was held in Kansas City, Missouri in October 2009. The symposium consisted of plenary and peer-reviewed presentations, and was devoted to information dissemination and dialogue promotion between health care professionals from such fields as nursing, medicine, veterinary medicine, social work, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and counselling. A vital goal of the symposium was to foster collaborative projects in creative new directions between researchers and human-animal interaction and health care practitioners.

The meeting resulted in the publication of an edited volume, The Health Benefits of Dog Walking for Pets and People: Evidence and Case Studies.

WALTHAM Sponsored Lectures

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January 2011

WALTHAM sponsored lecture stream on Human-Animal Interaction at the North American Veterinary Conference, Orlando, FL

October 2011

WALTHAM sponsored lecture stream on Human-Animal Interaction at the WSAVA FASAVA World Congress, Jeju, Korea

January 2012

WALTHAM sponsored lecture stream on Human-Animal Interaction, well-being and welfare at the North American Veterinary Conference, Orlando, FL

April 2012

WALTHAM sponsored lecture stream on pet wellness at the WSAVA Congress, Birmingham, UK

Human-Animal Interaction Research
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