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ANIMAL-Assisted Therapy SYMPOSIUM & Expo


Meet Your Speakers

shot of Aubrey Fine with a dog

Dr. Aubrey Fine



Dr. Aubrey Fine is a native of Montreal, Canada. He received his graduate degree from University of Cincinnati in 1982. Dr. Fine has been on the faculty at California State Polytechnic University since 1981 and is presently a Professor Emeritus and a licensed psychologist. In 2001, Dr. Fine was presented the Wang Award given to distinguished professors within the California State University system (23 Universities).


Aubrey has been recognized by numerous organizations for his service and dedication to children, animals and the community. In July of 2016, he received the William McCulloch Award for Excellence in HAI Education and Practice from the International Association of Human Animal Interaction Organizations, in Paris, France. Additionally, he was awarded the Educator of the Year in 1990, from the Learning Disability Association of CA, as well as receiving the 2006 CA Poly Faculty Award for Community Engagement.


Aubrey’s primary research interests relate to the psycho-social impact of human animal interactions and animal assisted interventions, social skills training and children with ADHD, and resilience in children. Dr. Fine is the author of several books including Our Faithful Companions, Parent Child Dance, Therapist's Guide to Learning and Attention Disorders, Fathers and Sons, The Total Sports Experience for Children, Give a Dog Your Heart, The Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy (new 5th edition released in July 2019) and Afternoons with Puppy. He also has had a featured monthly column in Dog Fancy Magazine on the human animal bond entitled the Loving Bond. He has been a guest on numerous national TV and Radio Shows including on programs on ABC, Discovery Network, KTLA, NPR, PBS, Fox and CNN. His work has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, People magazine, LA and N.Y. Times. He was noted as one of the pioneers in Animal Assisted Therapy in a March issue of the NY Times. Dr. Fine is the chair of the Human Animal Bond Advisory Committee of Pet Partners as well as the past chair of the steering committee on Human Animal Interactions for the American Veterinary Medical Association.




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Amber Barnes, MPH, PhD

Associate Professor

Brooks College of Health | University of North Florida


Amber N. Barnes earned her PhD in Public Health, with a concentration in Environmental and Global Health at the University of Florida. Following a postdoctoral research position with Duke University’s One Health program in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, Dr. Barnes began teaching as an instructor at the University of North Florida. Her research explores the role of domestic animals in peri-urban communities of Kisumu, Kenya and their association with household food and water contamination as well as the prevalence and risk factors for zoonotic enteric parasites among rural Mongolian herding households, domestic animals, and the environment.


She has previously served as a Florida Department of Health’s Epidemic Intelligence Service Fellow and a polio eradication consultant for WHO/CDC STOP Team 37 in Sierra Leone. Her research interests are in zoonotic disease and the creation of One Health programs to support a healthier human-animal relationship.


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Cristy E. Cummings, PhD, LMSW

Assistant Professor

Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work | University of North Florida


Cristy E. Cummings joined the University of North Florida faculty in 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work. She earned a PhD in social work from Michigan State University, with a dissertation on help-seeking behavior of male victims of sexual assault. She also holds a MSW degree with a concentration in Mental Health and Addictions and a Bachelor of Arts in Women’s Studies from Indiana University South Bend.

While pursuing her doctoral degree, she worked as a veterinary social worker at the Michigan State Veterinary Medical Center. Her primary role was in the emergency room, supporting clients through difficult decisions and emotional events involving their companion animal. This role also included the opportunity to support veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and animal caretakers in an effort to reduce burnout and compassion fatigue. She has been an invited guest lecturer by professors at Michigan State University School of Social Work and the College of Veterinary Medicine to present on the following topics: having difficult conversations about grief and loss, and the link between violence towards humans and violence towards animals.

Her teaching interests include social work research, practice, and the human-animal bond. Dr. Cummings’ primary area of research focuses on victims' interface with health, criminal justice, and social service organizations, and help-seeking behaviors. She is especially interested in inquiry that relates to how interventions involving animals can ease that process.



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Amy Johnson, MA, MAT, LPC, CPDT-KA, UW-AAB



School of Nursing | Oakland University


Amy Johnson is the Director of the Center for Human Animal Interventions at Oakland University in Rochester, MI which includes the online Animal Assisted Therapy Certificate program which she developed and has directed since 2007. She founded and directs the nonprofit, Teacher's Pet: Dogs and Kids Learning Together which pairs at risk (adjudicated as well as homeless) youth with harder-to-adopt rescue dogs for a multi week training intervention program. This program was a part of an NIHCD funded study in 2012. She is co-facilitator of the Human Animal Interventions in Counseling Interest Network through the American Counseling Association, a board member and chair of the competencies committee for the American Psychological Association, Human Animal Interactions Division 17 as well as on the dog welfare committee for Animal Assisted Interventions International. She has published journal articles and book chapters related to human animal interventions. She is a licensed professional counselor as well as a nationally certified dog trainer.


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Jennifer Main, PhD, LPC-S, RPT-S


Magnolia Counseling & Play Therapy, PLLC


Dr. Jennifer Main is a licensed professional counselor supervisor and registered play therapist supervisor in Mississippi. She has raised and trained 3 shelties, all of which have went on to become certified therapy dogs. Dr. Main earned a doctorate from the University of Mississippi in Counselor Education and Supervision in 2017 with her dissertation focused on Understanding Child-Centered Canine Assisted Play Therapy™: A Qualitative Collective Case Study. She actively uses her trained therapy dog, Rook, in the treatment of emotional and behavioral issues with children through the use of Canine Assisted Play Therapy™. She has utilized the use of her therapy dog through her work in private practice as well as in various university settings.


Dr. Main has published articles on the topic of Canine Assisted Play Therapy™ and presented at local, state and national conferences on a variety of topics pertaining to Play Therapy and Canine Assisted Play Therapy™. She is currently a board member and the secretary for the Mississippi Association for Play Therapy.


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Carlene H. Taylor, EdD, LMHC-S, LPC, RYT200




Public Health | Brooks of College of Health | University of North Florida


Dr. Taylor is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a Qualified Counselor Supervisor in Florida and Licensed Professional Counselor in Georgia. She is a Georgia Certified Professional Counseling Supervisor and a National Board-Certified Counselor. She holds a Georgia Professional Teaching Certificate in School Counseling. She and her K-9 partner, Eli, are registered with the AKC and the Pet Partners Program as a Therapy Dog/Handler Team, and Dr. Taylor is a Licensed Pet Partners Team Evaluator. Dr. Taylor is registered with the Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) with specialized training in yoga for general mental health and trauma treatment. She is most recognized in the UNF community as a leader and advocate for Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling and Integrative Healthcare through the Integration of Creativity, Animals & Nature in Healthcare Initiative within the Brooks College of Health.


Prior to joining the faculty at UNF, Dr. Taylor has served for 20 years of clinical practice in numerous administrative and clinical positions working to expand high quality clinical care to underserved populations. She is a nationally recognized expert in Human-Animal Interaction, Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling and Childhood Sexual Abuse. Her practice specialties have included working with experientially with children and adolescents who have experienced sexual trauma and those who additionally became sexual offenders. In a related capacity, she provided forensic interviewing/offender risk assessment and expert testimony in cases involving child abuse for both Georgia and Florida Superior Courts.


The Georgia Legislature has enacted laws based upon expert witness testimony from Dr. Taylor as she has been successful in advocating for expanded privileges for Licensed Professional Counselors and to limit access of known sexual offenders to children. Dr. Taylor maintains a small private practice specializing in the integration of creativity, animals and nature for health and wholeness.


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Reverend Elizabeth Teal


Reverend Elizabeth Teal is a specialist in interspecies/trans-species bonds, companion animal behavior, animal-assisted therapy, education, emotional support and crisis response. She was on the board of The Society of North American Dog Trainers; served on the Pet Partners National committee; was a member of The Association of Pet Dog Trainers; and was a Delta Society Pet Partners evaluator and instructor. At the ASPCA’s headquarters in New York City, she was coordinator of the Visiting Pet Program, served as an evaluator of shelter and Board of Health animals in the care of the ASPCA, and was a behavioral counselor with the Society’s Companion Animal Services. She and her dog Annie made over 19 trips to the World Trade Center in the aftermath of 9/11 and volunteered at the NYC Family Assistance Center Pier 94 until it closed. Annie lived a long life of service and love. Reverend Lizzie has a new canine partner, Tomi, a Standard Poodle. Together they partner in chaplaincy, and spiritual counseling. Tomi is also a Canine Guardian ad Litem in the State of Florida, additionally he visits with the Clay County Humane Society. She is a consultant for ‘Pattes Tendue,’ headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.