Building the Human-Animal Bond


What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  And perhaps even us.  On April 23, American Humane Association brought together 124 of America’s top leaders in science, medicine, philanthropy, animal welfare and business at the first national conference to focus on the transformative impact of innovation and technology and their relevance to the well-being of people and animals.They examined how fascinating breakthroughs in the fields of human and veterinary health can be accelerated through collaborative research involving animals and people.  It turns out, not surprisingly to us, that people and the creatures who share our earth also share a lot of similarities and there is tremendous potential to learn from each other.

The star-filled roster of speakers included Dr. Stephen O’Brien, former Chief of Laboratory of Genomic Diversity at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health, and author of Tears of the Cheetah; Amanda Bowman, Conference Director & Co-founder of MyPetzLife; Kip Frey, CEO, Dognition, who has a long history of running and investing in start-up companies, including Ventana Communications Group, Accipiter, and OpenSite. Companies Frey has run have generated over $1 billion in investor returns; Lara Fontaine, Vice President, Strategy & Portfolio Solutions, Pfizer Inc.; Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO, and Dr. Patricia Olson, Chief Veterinary Advisor for American Humane Association; Dr. Clay B. Marsh, Executive Director for Personalized Health Care and Vice Dean for Research at the College of Medicine at Ohio State University; Michael Mentesana is the Global Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences R&D Advisory Services Leader for PwC; Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz  cardiology professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and author of the acclaimed Zoobiquity; Dr. James Serpell, Director, Center for the interaction of Animals & Society, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Jeff Trent, President & Scientific Director for TGen, which focuses on the study of genetic changes related to cancer predisposition and progression; Dr. Chris Wasden, US leader of PwC Healthcare Strategy & Innovation Practice; and Dr. Brad Weinberg, Founding Partner of Blueprint Health, a healthcare-focused accelerator in NYC.

American Humane Association also welcomed a number of high-profile animal-loving celebrities including Isabella Rossellini and Bernadette Peters, who are interested in the remarkable power of the human-animal bond.

News of the conference reached people worldwide with stories syndicated to 164 countries around the globe.

“Exciting things are happening and they’re happening at American Humane Association,” said Dr. O’Brien. “There are many stories about how understanding animal health can help human health, and vice-versa.”

“We’re talking about using the human-animal bond as a key, a key that not only opens new doors, but can improve the quality of life for all of us living together on this Earth.”

The Human-Animal Bond Conference was sponsored by American Humane Association and MyPetzLife, funded through the generosity of Merck Animal Health, and hosted by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) at its headquarters in New York City.