Virtual Purdue Conference on Human-Animal Bond Draws Worldwide Participation

Friday, December 3, 2021

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The Purdue University Center for the Human-Animal Bond captured international attention when it hosted a virtual conference last month focused on human-animal interaction and the work of national and international centers and institutes dedicated to this growing field of study. The Centers for the Human-Animal Bond (CHAB) Conference served as a platform for interdisciplinary conversation and exchange of ideas regarding current and future research. From presentations to panel discussions, leaders in the discipline shared their knowledge with each other and the public.

“The CHAB conference united a global audience interested in the human-animal bond,” said Dr. Maggie O’Haire, associate professor of human-animal interaction in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Comparative Pathobiology and a member of the Purdue Center for the Human-Animal Bond. “Together, we learned about cutting-edge research and discussed ideas to promote international advancement in the field. We were honored to virtually host over 2,000 registrants from more than 60 countries around the world.”

The conference schedule spanned two days, November 4-5, with the first day open to the public and the second day reserved for leaders in the field to discuss research needs and opportunities.  The public component included special presentations, panel discussions, and a “Lunch and Learn” session, all featuring human-animal bond experts. “The nature of the question and answer sessions, the panel of practitioner experts and the panel with leaders in the field provided a unique opportunity to directly connect with the leading experts in the discipline,” said Leanne Nieforth-Bomkamp, a Purdue PhD candidate in human-animal interaction studying under Dr. O’Haire. “This accessibility provided a welcoming and inspiring space for individuals from all over the world to come together and discuss their common interest.”

The first CHAB conference was held by Purdue in 2006, with a ten-year follow-up conference taking place in 2016. This year, the conference was hosted on a virtual platform, resulting in significantly higher attendance compared to previous iterations of the event. The virtual format also provided for sharing unique insights about the human-animal bond with an international audience. The record-setting attendance for this conference showed that the virtual format has a lot to offer. According to Dr. O’Haire, future CHAB conferences may retain a virtual format or utilize a hybrid approach with the goal of enabling people from anywhere in the world to benefit from the way in which the conference fosters the sharing of knowledge and research in the expanding field of human-animal interaction.

Writer(s): Hailee Rolofson, PVM Communications Intern |

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