Launch of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction

Animals and people benefit one another in many ways that go well beyond the strong bonds that we have with our pets. From seeing-eye dogs to therapeutic horseback riding, from therapy dogs helping children struggling to read to the healing power of an animal for someone recovering from a traumatic event, animals positively impact our lives in many ways.

Although there is a great deal of enthusiasm around human-animal interaction (HAI), there is not yet the high quality, rigorous science that is necessary to advance this field using an evidence-based and interdisciplinary approach.

To address this need, we are pleased to announce the launch of a university-wide initiative: the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction (TIHAI). To position the University as a leader in the field of HAI, The Institute, which has its core in the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, will bring together faculty, staff, students, and alumni from multiple schools, including the School of Arts and Sciences, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, the School of Engineering, the School of Dental Medicine, the School of Medicine, Tufts Medical Center, and Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. The Institute will be supported by foundations, federal agencies, and philanthropists.

Our mission is to promote the health, strengths, and well-being of humans and animals through transdisciplinary partnerships that foster innovative research, education, and service programs in HAI.

If you are currently involved in HAI-related activities, or wish to become involved, please visit the Institute’s website at http://hai.tufts.edu to learn more about what we are doing and to tell us about your interests. You can also contact us at hai@tufts.edu.

We hope you’ll join us at TIHAI launch events to learn about the TIHAI Scholars Program for students; how you can get involved in TIHAI research, education, or service activities; and see some of our HAI-related work in action. The first event will take place on the Medford campus on February 10 at 4 pm in the Coolidge Room on the second floor of Ballou Hall.

Board of Advisors:
Lisa Freeman, DVM, PhD (Director), Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, Tufts Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Deborah Linder, DVM (Co-Associate Director), Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service
Megan Mueller, PhD (Co-Associate Director), Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Senior Tisch Fellow, Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service
Gary Bedell, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy
Deborah Kochevar, DVM, PhD, Dean, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Richard M. Lerner, PhD, Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development
Miriam Nelson, PhD, Associate Dean, Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service; Professor, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy
Chris Rogers, PhD, Director of the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach; Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Allen Rutberg, PhD, Director, Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Edward Saltzman, MD, Academic Dean for Education, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy; Associate Professor, School of Medicine; Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging