Animal-Assisted Programs at Boston Children's Hospital
Animals and Human Health Certificate 2017
Lynn Belkin remembers listening to Institute for Human-Animal Connection (IHAC) Executive Director Philip Tedeschi at a conference as he shared information about the institute and its educational programs, including its Animals and Human Health (AHH) certificate. She turned to her co-presenter/founder of Pawprints and said, “I will attend that program one day!"
Belkin coordinates Pawprints, Boston Children’s Hospital’s animal-assisted activity program. After gaining more hands-on training through her agency, Belkin enrolled in the AHH program in 2017. Pawprints recently hired a second program coordinator, who also completed the AHH program.
“IHAC confirmed the quality of various components of the program I help run and enhanced my understanding of all aspects of animal well-being,” Belkin says. For example, she notes that she feels more aware of dog stress signals and is therefore able to evaluate these signs effectively and respond accordingly.
"The best part of the AHH program was the opportunity to bring everything we learned together for an in-person capstone session experience," Belkin says. "It was wonderful to present to one another, share feedback and enjoy getting to know everyone surrounded by animals.”