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AHH Graduate Launches Successful Human-Animal Interactions Program

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IHAC Comm. Team

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Feature  •
Andrea Sierra

Andrea Sierra graduated from our Animals and Human Health (AHH) certificate program in 2022. She is now a clinical supervisor at The Crossroads Inc., in Phoenix, Arizona, one of the largest non-profit residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment programs in the United States. At Crossroads, she utilized the knowledge she gained in AHH to assist her in implementing a human-animal interaction program that incorporates psychoeducational topics, such as communication skills, trust building, trauma, and mindfulness. Within her program, the presence of Andrea’s rescue dog, Sammy, helps her clients feel more at ease and willing to open up in sessions.

A primary component of the Animals and Human Health certificate program is learning how human-animal interactions can be ethically incorporated into practice, and how to create and realistically implement high-quality programs. Successful programs like Andrea’s demonstrate how the human-animal bond can create social, emotional, and cognitive changes that last.

When asked about her experience in the AHH program, Andrea shared that she loved being able to engage with other professionals in her cohort that shared a similar passion for human-animal interactions. IHAC intentionally utilizes small cohort sizes in all our certificates to encourage peer and instructor connection. Andrea also enjoyed the Capstone session in which students create a program proposal that they can then implement in their current or future work. Andrea enjoyed receiving valuable feedback for the program she created.

To learn more about Andrea and Sammy’s work, check out their news feature from ABC15 in Arizona.