Two assistant professors at UTHealth School of Nursing, Sandra M. Branson, Ph.D., R.N., and Lisa Boss, Ph.D., R.N., are this year’s recipients of a $45,000 collaborative research grant from the International Society of Anthrozoology (ISAZ) for their study “Biobehavioral profiles of attachment to cats in community-dwelling elderly.” The announcement was made at the ISAZ annual meeting in Vienna.
ISAZ partnered with Waltham, an English science institute dedicated to studying both nutritional and behavioral needs of pets as well as their benefits to humans, in order to create a collaborative grant program to encourage new research on human-animal interactions.
“We are very proud of Drs. Sandra Branson and Lisa Boss for preparing this proposal,” said Nancy Bergstrom, Ph.D., R.N., Associate Dean for Research at the School of Nursing. “ISAZ/Waltham has been increasingly interested in biobehavioral markers of the benefits of companion animals, and it should also be noted that this study of elderly persons and their cats is a first of its kind, extending sparse work to date on benefits of cats.”
Both Branson and Boss are UTHealth’s Accelerated PhD Scholars program graduates, and they have also received a Dean’s research award in the past, according to a UTHealth press release. Duck-Hee Kang, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., is the Lee and Joseph D. Jamail Distinguished Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing.
“Drs. Mara Baun and Duck-Hee Kang worked with Branson and Boss throughout their Ph.D. studies, with Dr. Baun having a long-term membership with ISAZ,” Bergstrom added.
Founded in 1991, ISAZ is a worldwide nonprofit, nonpolitical organization that supports the scientific and scholarly study of human-animal interactions. It relies on a multi-disciplinary membership of students, scholars and interested professionals.