Ximena Salgado-Santamaria Headshot

Ximena Salgado-Santamaria

Research Associate, Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Professional Biography

Ximena (pronounced he-meh-nah) Salgado-Santamaria is a Research Associate with the Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC) at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. From her experience in mentoring youth from immigrant and refugee backgrounds to being a veterinary technician for 8 years, she understands the importance of working alongside marginalized communities, breaking down discriminatory practices and barriers to veterinary care, and prioritizing community-engaged research. She received her MSW from The University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work with a certificate in Animal Assisted Social Work in 2020. As the Keeping Families Together Program Manager for Human-Animal Support Services and American Pets Alive!, she led a nationwide project in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, and over 30 animal welfare organizations across the US to create an eviction response toolkit for animal shelters to use in preparation for the eviction crisis of 2021. She is currently managing the IHAC/PetSmart Charities Incubator Evaluation Program on the Animals & Communities research team at IHAC. 

She is also a proud mother, Latina, daughter of Colombian immigrants, and obviously, an animal lover. She lives in Queens, NY, with her husband, Damian; son, Castiel; Norfolk terrier mix, Obi; and dilute tortie, Sky.


May 2020 - Institute for Human-Animal Connection PJ Hart Bonding Award – University of Denver, Denver, CO