InterAction Advisory Board
Dr. Sandra Barker
Center for Human-Animal InterAction
Virginia Commonwealth University
Dr. Sandra Barker is Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical
College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).
She currently serves as Associate Director for five inpatient
psychiatry programs and Director of the VCU Center for Human-Animal
Interaction, a Center she established in the School of Medicine.
She has incorporated evidence of the health benefits of interacting
with companion animals into her teaching of psychiatry residents
and doctoral psychology interns and incorporates animal-assisted
therapy (AAT) into her clinical work. Dr. Barker is also an
Adjunct Professor of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at Virginia-Maryland
Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech.
Dr. Barker has been actively involved in research on human-companion
animal interaction, and has published numerous articles and
given talks around the world on the subject. She has received
numerous awards including the 2002 Friends of Veterinary Medicine
Award from the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association, the
2001 Community Achievement Award from the American Kennel
Club, and the 2001 Distinguished Alumni Award from Florida
Dr. Alan Beck
Director, Center for the Human-Animal Bond
School of Veterinary Medicine
Since 1990, Dr. Beck has served as the Dorothy N. McAllister
Professor of Animal Ecology and Director of the Center for
the Human-Animal Bond in the School of Veterinary Medicine,
Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. The Center was
established to develop a comprehensive understanding of the
relationship between people and their companion animals. Dr.
Beck has studied the ecological and public health implications
of dogs in Baltimore, St. Louis, New York and along the Unites
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; it was republished
in 2001 by Purdue University Press. This book is touted as
being of considerable interest to all ecologists, behaviorists
and biologists. Dr. Beck co-edited the book, New Perspectives
on Our lives with Companion Animals and coauthored the
popular book, Between Pets and People: The Importance of
Veterinary correspondent for ABC-TV’s Good Morning
Author, The Healing Power of Pets
Dr. Becker is the resident veterinarian on ABC-TV's Good Morning America, and he stars in segments for the Walt Disney Television Series Petsburgh, U.S.A., airing nationally on Animal Planet. His highly acclaimed weekly newspaper column, The Bond, is distributed internationally by Knight Ridder Tribune Services. He is the co-author of the bestseller Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, and Chicken Soup for the Dog and Cat Lover's Soul, Chief Veterinary Correspondent for Amazon.com, as well as contributing editor to Dog Fancy and Cat Fancy magazines. He is also the author of the popular new book, The Healing Power of Pets. Dr. Becker has lectured at the Smithsonian Institute, at veterinary schools across North America, and in over 60 countries, serving as a catalyst for change in the way we interact with and take responsibility for our pets. As a veterinarian, author, educator and media personality, Dr. Marty Becker was selected for Veterinarian of the Year 2000 by the MSPCA (Massachusettes Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Animals).
Dr. Edward Creagan
Professor, Mayo Clinic Medical School
American Cancer Society Professor of Clinical Oncology
The John and Roma Rouse Professor of
Humanism in Medicine
As a Mayo Clinic cancer specialist, Dr. Edward Creagan has
written extensively about the secrets of successful aging.
According to Dr. Creagan, quality of life is determined more
by lifestyle choices than by genetics. He has authored 400
scientific papers and given speeches throughout the world,
presenting his "seven proven strategies for living longer,"
advocating the healing power of pets, not pills. His columns
on health and wellness in the Minneapolis Tribune and Cedar
Rapids Gazette are widely acclaimed. He has been at the Mayo
Clinic for 29 years, recently completing his term as President
of the Mayo Clinic Staff. Dr. Creagan is the medical editor
of Mayo Clinic on Healthy Aging and the authour of
a book in progress, Don't Bet on Your Life. A Guide for
Cancer Patients. He is an associate medical editor of
MayoClinic.com, Mayo's internet site for health information.
He is also on the editorial board of Healthquest, a wellness
publication for Corporate America.
Dr. Rebecca Johnson
Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing and Public Policy
Director of the Center on Aging, Sinclair School of Nursing, University of Missouri - Columbia
Dr. Rebecca Johnson is the Associate Director for Research with the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) College of veterinary medicine Center for the Study of Animal Wellness. As the author of over 30 publications in peer reviewed journals and books, Dr. Johnson combines her research and clinical interest in fostering wellness and independence among older adults with her belief in the importance of the human-animal bond. She is currently conducting a 5-year study investigating the relocation and decision-making process among elderly people from diverse ethnic backgrounds as they transition to nursing homes. Her research explores the important role of the human animal bond in mediating the stress and negative outcomes of relocation, while studying the benefits of animals as a unique source of social support. At the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, she serves as the Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing and the Public Policy Director of the Center on Aging, a virtual Center dedicated to facilitating interdisciplinary research on aging among MU's faculty.
Dr. Joseph Ouslander
Director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, Emory University
Joseph G. Ouslander, M.D., is a Professor of Medicine and Nursing, and serves as the
Director of the Division of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology at Emory University. He is
also Director of the Emory Center for Health in Aging and the Chief Medical Officer at Wesley
Woods Center of Emory University. Dr. Ouslander is widely recognized as an expert
especially in the fields of geriatric urinary incontinence and long-term care for the aging - he
has published over 100 original research articles and book chapters, as well as edited
special volumes for journals. He is co-author of Essentials of Clinical Geriatrics, Medical
Care in the Nursing Home, and an editor of Principles of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology.
Previously, Dr. Ouslander was on the faculty of the UCLA School of Medicine and the Johns
Hopkins School of Medicine. He has served on the Board of Directors of the American
Geriatrics Society for ten years, was the Society's President in 1999-2000 and its Board
Chair in 2000-2001.
Dr. Nalini Saligram
Past Board Chair, PAWsitive Interaction
Nalini served as Board Chair for PAWSitive InterAction from
its inception in 2001 to Sep 2003. She was a prinicpal founder
member of the board and was responsible for guiding the group's
strategic direction. She is now an advisory board member.
Until most recently, she served as director of corporate communications
for Merial in North America, where she was responsible for
communications and public relations initiatives, and for raising
Merial's corporate profile both internally and externally.
Previously she worked at GlaxoSmithKline in a global communications
role. Passionate about giving back to the community Nalini
has been a member of numerous non-profit boards and community
efforts. She was a founder of Women's Initiative Next Generation,
WINGs, a program under the Women's Legacy group of the United
Way of Metropolitan Atlanta. She serves on the Dean's Council
of Emory's Rollins School of Public Health and is a member
of the Society of International Business Fellows.