The event, titled, “Who Let the Dogs In?,” will encourage discussion among those involved in animal-assisted therapy, while educating those who want to learn more about the field.
As part of Atlantic Health System, Morristown Medical Center has integrated animal therapy teams into its offerings, through the organization’s pet therapy program, "Healing Paws." The program has approximately 60 pet therapy teams, each made up of a hospital volunteer and his or her trained dog, that visit common areas such as waiting rooms. Patients and visitors can pet and interact with the dog in the common area. Each therapy team goes through extensive training by licensed organizations.
Visits by Atlantic Health System’s animal teams are available for most patients, as well as their families and other visitors, by request at all Atlantic Health System hospitals, which also include Overlook Medical Center, Newton Medical Center and Goryeb Children's Hospital, as well as Atlantic Rehabilitation.
Phil Arkow, coordinator for the National Link Coalition, will be the keynote speaker for the event. Arkow teaches courses in Animal-Assisted Therapy and Animal-Assisted Activities (AAT/AAA) at Camden County College in Blackwood, NJ, and Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He has written "Pet Pals," a biweekly newspaper column on pet care, and has authored or edited 10 key reference books and innumerable articles on animal-assisted therapy, the human-animal bond, humane education, the animal abuse/human violence connection, and animal shelter management.
Arkow also has served on national boards and advisory committees of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Delta Society, the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians, the National Animal Control Association, the National Link Coalition, and the American Humane Association. He consults with the ASPCA and the Animals and Society Institute.
The event will include lectures and panel discussions on a wide variety of topics relating to animal-assisted therapy, by experts in pet therapy as well as various areas of traditional medicine, both from Morristown Medical Center and other health care and therapy-animal organizations, including:
- How To Start a Pet Therapy Program in a Hospital; by Morristown Medical Center staff members, Denise Fochesto, Manager of the hospital’s MICU/SICU/HBO, Mary Beth Leaton a clinical nurse specialist in the MICU/SICU; and Peggy Grow, Coordinator, Healing Paws Pet Therapy at the hospital.
- Positive & Negative Stress in Therapy Dogs; by Anine Booth, MA, of Animal Behavior & Conservation
- Animal Assisted Therapy Research in Various Populations: Patients Experiencing Congestive Heart Failure; by Sami Abate, manager of nursing quality and Magnet Program Manager of the Inspira Health Network
- Pet Therapy Across the Continuum of Care – Acute Care to Rehabilitation Settings; by Jane Smith, clinical nurse specialist of orthopedics/trauma/spine at Morristown Medical Center
- Human-Animal Interaction: An Innovative Program of Research to Combat Human Stress in American Soldiers and Veterans; by Cheryl Krause-Parello, PhD, RN Associate Professor College of Nursing University of Colorado Denver
- Panel Discussion: - An Overview of Pet Therapy Certification: From the Experts - Career-Change Dogs: From Potential Guide to Working Dog; by Kira Wright, director of evaluations, Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs; Joan Baer, executive director, Creature Comfort Pet Therapy; Annie Murphy, MS counseling, president, Creature Comfort Pet Therapy; Heather Cammisa, president and CEO, St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare; and Kathleen Daly, the Linda Feinne-Roth Manager of the Puppy Development Department at The Seeing Eye, Inc.
For more information or to register for the event, please call 1-800-247-9580.