Message from the Director

The human-animal bond is both enduring and important. Evidence of humans and animals working together dates back more than 10,000 years, and a sad but striking indicator of the current importance of this relationship is that in the USA, children are more likely to grow up with a pet in their home than a father. The evidence for the health benefits of interacting with companion animals is accumulating at a rapid rate, but there is still so much we don’t know. It is crucial that we understand the situations in which companion animals may be most beneficial to humans, while ensuring the safety and wellbeing of both species. 

The Center for Human-Animal Interaction was established to further that research, encourage the incorporation and evaluation of appropriate companion animals into healthcare facilities, and infuse results of research findings into academic and medical curricula.

I hope you will take some time to review these web pages that describe our mission, goals, activities, and sponsors. They reflect the efforts of many dedicated professionals who are contributing their research, clinical, educational, and other skills to further knowledge of the health benefits of interacting with companion animals.

If you would like to support the Center by joining our efforts or making a tax-deductible donation, you can obtain further information from the Gift and Support Opportunities web page, or you can contact me directly by phone or email.

With best wishes,


Nancy R. Gee, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry & Director, Center for Human Animal Interaction
School of Medicine
Virginia Commonwealth University
804-827-PAWS (827-7297)