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Animal Assisted Interventions

The Animal Assisted Intervention Organization (AAI) is a group of students dedicated to making a positive impact on mental health through the use of animals through therapeutic means. Membership is open to anyone with interest in the use of animals in therapeutic interventions. Our goal is to educate and raise awareness about the benefits of animals in regard to mental health and well-being. We hold events, general meetings, philanthropic endeavors, and psycho-educational presentations. AAI gives students an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of individuals as well as further their education on relevant topics and issues when utilizing animal assisted interventions in current and future practice. 

Executive Board 2023-2024
President Kelsey Applegarth
Vice President Danielle Ketter
Secretary Cosette Rodriquez
Treasurer Kylee Cullen
External Events Chair Haley Barry
Internal Events Chair Haley Sauro
Research Chair Serafine Fernandez
Diversity Chair Morgan Lawrence
Public Relations Chair Georgia Martin
First Year Representative Soraya Ziemert
Counseling Representative Ciara Castro
Faculty Advisor David Feldman, Ph.D. 

Resources on AAI

  • There are no certifications for clinicians, however, clinicians should do their due diligence to comply with the APA code of ethics when considering incorporating animal assisted interventions into their practice (trainings, continuing education, research, consultation, etc.).
  • At base level, the canine should be able to pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Test for obedience:
    • Accepting a friendly stranger
    • Sitting politely for petting
    • Appearance and grooming
    • Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
    • Walking through a crowd
    • Sit and down on cue and stay in place
    • Coming when called
    • Reaction to another dog
    • Reaction to distraction
    • Supervised separation
  • The animal should undergo further training to obtain specific certifications based on the population they will be utilized with.
  • Individuals with mobility limitations
  • Vision impaired
  • Hearing impaired
  • First responders
  • Military/Veterans
  • Individuals with chronic disease
  • Children with emotional or behavioral problems
  • Individuals with mental health disorders including:
    • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Depressive disorders
    • Substance use disorders
    • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
    • Neurocognitive disorders
    • Schizophrenia and other psychotic related disorders
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other trauma related disorders 
  • Therapeutic riding facilities
  • Mental health facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Correctional settings
  • Educational settings
  • Nursing facilities
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Horses
  • Livestock
  • Birds
  • Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) include the following:
    • Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT)
    • Animal Assisted Activities (AAA)
    • Animal Assisted Education (AAE)
    • Animal Assisted Special Programs (AASP)
    • Animal Assisted Placement Programs (AAPP)
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