Summit 2004 Speaker Biographies
Dr. Gail Melson
Professor, Child Development and Family Studies, Purdue University
Visiting Scholar, Eliot-Pearson Department of Family and Child Studies, Tufts University
Dr. Melson is also a faculty member of the Center for the Human-Animal Bond at Purdue University. Her research centers on the developmental significance of animals in children's lives. Her most recent book is Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children (2001, Harvard University Press). She is the author of two previous books, Family as Ecosystem and Child Development: Individual, Family, and Society and the co-editor of Origins of Nurturance. Dr. Melson has published over 50 articles and book chapters, as well as reviewing articles for professional journals and serving on the editorial boards of Family Relations and Anthrozoos. She presents frequently at national and international conferences.
Dr. Dennis Ownby
Professor, Pediatrics and Medicine and Head, Section of Allergy and Immunology, Medical College of Georgia
Dr. Ownby has been recognized for his work on factors that contribute to the risk of children developing asthma and allergies. His primary research interest is in factors affecting the onset of allergy and asthma in children, especially in relationship to animal exposure. He has chaired the Allergenic Products Advisory Committee of the FDA and served as a committee member of the National Academy of Medicine, examining the effects of indoor environment on asthma. He has published over 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals in addition to 30 book chapters, reviews and editorials and is often an invited lecturer at medical centers, local, regional, national and international meetings.
Expert Host and Panel Discussion Moderator
Dr. Alan Beck
Director, Center for the Human-Animal Bond, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University
In 1990, the Center for the Human-Animal Bond was established to develop a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between people and their companion animals. Dr. Beck has been the Director since its inception and is also the Dorothy N. McAllister Professor of Animal Ecology. He has studied the ecological and public health implications of dogs in Baltimore, St. Louis, New York and along the United States-Mexican border. His book, The Ecology of Stray Dogs: A Study of Free-Ranging Urban Animals, is considered a classic in the field of urban ecology. He co-edited the book, New Perspectives on Our Lives with Companion Animals, and co-authored the popular book, Between Pets and People: The Importance of Animal Companionship.