MS, MSOTR/L is a PATH Intl. Master Certified Instructor, CTRI, PATH Intl. Registered Therapist, Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, Mentor, Faculty/ Evaluator, and member of the PATH Intl. Riding Certification Sub-committee.
She is an Associate Professor in Therapeutic Horsemanship Associate and Program Director at State University of New York (SUNY) Cobleskill. SUNY Cobleskill began offering Bachelors in Technology in Therapeutic Horsemanship in 2016.
She earned a Masters of Science in Animals and Public Policy from Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine and a Masters in Occupational Therapy from Colorado State University. She received the PATH Intl. Professional of the Year nationally and for Region 2 in 2014. She has practiced in the field of EAA/T at programs both large and small for over 25 years and is a lifelong horsewoman.
Professor of Department of Physical Therapy at Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions at Central Michigan University
Debbie Silkwood-Sherer PT, DHSc, HPCS is a licensed physical therapist with over 40 years of experience. She holds a clinical specialist certification in hippotherapy (HPCS) from the American Hippotherapy Certification Board.
Dr. Silkwood-Sherer is currently the Chair and Professor in the Doctoral Program in Physical Therapy at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, USA. She has published several research articles that have assessed the effects of incorporating horse movement into treatment of postural control/balance issues in children with various neurological/developmental conditions, as well as adults with multiple sclerosis. Debbie has served on the Board of Directors for the American Hippotherapy Association (Research Chair, Secretary, Vice-President, and President) from 2007-2014.
She currently serves on the American Hippotherapy Certification Board, is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Horses and Humans Research Foundation, and is a manuscript reviewer for several professional journals.
Tracie Faa-Thompson, BA Social Work, MA Crim, PG NDPT, Clin Hypno, Cert EAGALA, Certified Non-directive Play Therapist; Filial Therapist, Supervisor & Filial Therapy Instructor. IIAAPT Instructor, supervisor, International trainer and speaker.
Tracie for 26 years was a specialist social worker in adoption working with traumatized children and their adoptive and foster families. She is a British Association of Play Therapists-registered play therapist who uses a mix of individual play therapy, filial therapy, and group filial methods.
Tracie is a practice teacher of social work students and newly qualified social workers, and a trainer in Life Story Work, Attachment Theory and resilience in adversity. As a clinical hypnotherapist, Tracie incorporates Eye Movement Integration with Emotional Freedom Technique as an effective approach to trauma.
Her passion is working outdoors in nature and since 2004 has been amalgamating Nature family therapy with Equine Assisted Family Therapy. Lover of the natural world she is just about to finish her applied herbal choices animal health consultancy course. She also has a unique approach to therapeutic life story work using nature to plot adopted children and adults journeys in 3D!
Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry and Epidemiology) at the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center
Yuval Neria is Professor of Medical Psychology at the Departments of Psychiatry and Epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center, and Director of Trauma and PTSD at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He completed his studies in philosophy (BA), political science (BA) and clinical psychology (MA) in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and received his doctorate (PhD) in psychology from the Haifa University, Israel.
Dr. Neria joined Columbia University in 2002, and since then has led and collaborated on numerous epidemiological, clinical, and neuroimaging studies in trauma and PTSD. In the last five years, Neria’s lab is focused on translational research aiming to identify highly needed behavioral and neural markers for trauma related psychopathology. By using multimodal brain imaging (MRI; fMRI, CBV) and a number of novel paradigms focusing on fear circuitry, his lab was able to probe new biomarkers of PTSD, and to identify structural and functional neural markers of clinical response to PTSD treatment.
Dr. Neria has authored more than 180 articles and book chapters, a war novel, and co-edited 4 textbooks focusing on the mental health consequences of exposure to trauma.
Janet L. Jones, PhD, is the author of Horse Brain, Human Brain. She applies brain research to the training of horses and riders. Jones earned her PhD in cognitive science from the University of California at Los Angeles and taught the neuroscience of perception, language, memory, and thought for 23 years. She trained horses at a large stable for many years and later ran a successful horse training business of her own. Jones has schooled hundreds of green or difficult horses and competed in hunter, jumper, halter, reining, and Western pleasure disciplines.
Researcher at the University of Basel, at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and a neurorehabilitation clinic (Switzerland)
Dr. Karin Hediger is a licensed psychotherapist and researcher at the University of Basel, Switzerland, at the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and a neurorehabilitation clinic, investigating effects of animal-assisted interventions. After studying psychology at University of Zürich, Switzerland, she did her PhD in Rostock, Germany, in the field of human-animal interaction. She has a certificate in animal-assisted therapy, a diploma in equine-assisted therapy and recently founded a centre for animal-assisted psychotherapy.
Karin Hediger is president of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Human-Animal Relationship (IEMT Switzerland), secretary of the International Society for Animal Assisted Therapy (ISAAT), board member of the International Association of Human Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHIAO) and gives courses on animal-assisted interventions in different institutes in Europe.
Director of Equine Programs at Institute for Human-Animal Connection
Nina Ekholm Fry is the Director of Equine Programs at the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at University of Denver where her work encompasses therapeutic human-horse interactions and equine behavior and welfare. She is an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work and the Graduate School of Professional Psychology, and leads the post-master Equine-Assisted Mental Health Practitioner Certificate program. For the past 15 years, she has focused on horses in human services, specializing in the inclusion of equine interactions in psychotherapy and counseling. Nina is the Vice President of the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA Inc.), the immediate past Co-Chair of the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP) and serves as the Chief Editor of the HETI Journal: International Research and Practice, published by the International Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy (HETI). Nina has a background as a mental health practitioner providing clinical services, specializing in trauma treatment, as a competitive rider and equine behavior consultant, and as an academic professional actively engaged in national and international organizations for both human and equine health. She has a particular interest in applied ethics and social justice perspectives within human-animal interactions, including human-horse conflict.
Research fellow in Sociology (CNRS – UMR Triangle – University of Lyon – France)
I’m a Sociologist, at The French National Centre for Scientific Research, currently working at the Triangle laboratory (UMR 5206 – University of Lyon). My research interests are human-animal relationships, science studies, sociology of mobilization, and sociology of health. My work consists in a sociological exploration of social dynamics within the “benevolence towards animals’ communities”. My PhD dissertation about Animal-Assisted Therapy as a social phenomenon has been published in 2014 (Panser avec les animaux. Sociologie du soin par le contact animalier, Presses de Mines, Paris). I tried to understand how health care has changed the social status of some animals (namely dogs and horses). I’m also working on Animal Rights Activism, and especially the links between Advocacy and Academia.
Professor of pediatric rehabilitation at the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Samsung Changwon Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine
Completed the studies in medical science at Ewha Womans University, Seoul (BA), and Yonsei University, Seoul (MA), and received the doctorate (PhD) in medicine from the Pusan National University, Pusan. After completing the resident course at Severance Hospital, I started working as a clinical assistant professor at Samsung Medical Center, where I first encountered equine-assisted activities and therapy and observed its effect. Since 2009, while working at Samsung Changwon Hospital, I wanted to let the children with neurologic disorder experience horseback riding, but it was difficult due to accessibility. Therefore, I became interested in the horseback riding simulator, and recently attempting to combine virtual reality to enhance the therapeutic effect.
Natasha Skult is the CEO & Creative Director of MiTale, a game development company from Finland focusing on narrative-driven experiences in mixed reality and gamification. She is an active member of the Finnish and international games industry as Board Member of IGDA.org and Chairperson of IGDA Finland. She is also one of the founders and elected Chairperson of The Hive – Turku Game Hub (game business center in South-West Finland). Besides industry work, she is active in academic research and teaches courses in game design and game (digital) art production at University of Turku.
Stable Business Developer at Equestrian Federation of Finland
Ms Minna Peltonen in an experienced professional in equestrian sports and education, with a proactive insight to the equine industry and the role it plays in the society.
By education she is Level II Riding Instructor, , Corporate and Social Responsibility Specialist, BSc in Hotel and Restaurant Management and Vocational Teacher. She is currently working as a Stable Business Developer in the Equestrian Federation of Finland. In this position Minna is working with developing the industry for the demands and challenges of the future.
The future of our sports and the sustainable possibilites that a horse can provide to our society are her top priorities. Minnas education and over 30 years of working experience gives her a solid background and the abilities to view the society and it´s driving forces objectively.
On her free time Minna is an active Showjumping judge.