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Grand Rounds: Understanding Animal-Assisted Interventions


By Taylor Chastain Griffin, PhD , Executive Director, Association for Animal-Assisted Intervention Professionals; National Director, AAI Advancement, Pet Partners

Objectives (Educational Content) :

1. Differentiate between the various kinds of working animals: service animals, therapy animals, and emotional support animals. 2. Identify the contexts in which different animal-assisted interventions are most appropriate for meeting a person's treatment objectives/needs. 3. Summarize key empirical findings related to the efficacy of animal-assisted interventions.

Target Audience:

General pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, social workers, psychologists, and nurses.

Identified Gap:

New information on the effectiveness of animal-assisted interventions.

Estimated Time to Complete the Educational Activity:

1 hour

Expiration Date for CME Credit:


Method of Physician Participation in the Learning Process:

The learner will view the presentation, successfully complete a post-test and complete an activity evaluation.

Evaluation Methods:

All learners must successfully complete a post-test, as well as an activity evaluation, to claim CME credit.


Dr. Griffin has indicated that there are no relevant financial or other relationships with any commercial interests and that this activity was developed independent of commercial interest.

Accreditation Statement:

Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron is accredited by the Ohio State Medical Association to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

CHMCA designates this enduring material activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit TM.  Physicians should only claim the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.


Branson, S. M., Boss, L., Padhye, N. S., Trötscher, T., & Ward, A. (2017). Effects of animal-assisted activities on biobehavioral stress responses in hospitalized children: A randomized controlled study. Journal of pediatric nursing, 36, 84-91.

McCullough, A., Ruehrdanz, A., Jenkins, M. A., Gilmer, M. J., Olson, J., Pawar, A., ... & Grossman, N. J. (2018). Measuring the Effects of an Animal-Assisted Intervention for Pediatric Oncology Patients and Their Parents: A Multisite Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing, 35(3), 159-177.

Tsai, C. C., Friedmann, E., & Thomas, S. A. (2010). The effect of animal-assisted therapy on stress responses in hospitalized children. Anthrozoös, 23(3), 245-258.