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University of Maryland School of Nursing’s Friedmann Receives International Distinguished Anthrozoologist Award

July 30, 2019

International Society for Anthrozoology presents 2019 award for outstanding lifetime achievement.

Baltimore, Md. – Erika Friedmann, PhD, associate dean for research, University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), has been named the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Anthrozoologist Award by the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ).

Friedmann was honored at ISAZ’s 2019 Conference in Orlando, held July 1-4, where she presented “Human-Animal Interaction Research Related to Human Health: What We Know and Challenges for Future Research.” The Distinguished Anthrozoologist Award recognizes outstanding lifetime achievement in anthrozoology/human-animal interaction studies by an ISAZ member who is a senior scholar. The award is presented every other year in recognition of a corpus of published work (books, journal articles, and/or book chapters) that are judged to have made a particularly significant or scholarly contribution to the understanding of human-animal interactions and relationships.

Friedmann’s PhD work gave rise to one of the preeminent publications in anthrozoology, “Animal Companions and One Year Survival After Discharge From a Coronary Care Unit,” published in 1980 in Public Health Reports, and provided the first scientific evidence that pet ownership could have a measurable and significant impact on human health. She has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific papers, reviews, and book chapters, with many addressing the impact of companion animals on human health and well-being. She has also been highly successful in obtaining funding for human-animal interaction research, including a 2019 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant for the project “Evaluating the Efficacy of a Service Dog Training Program for Military Veterans with PTSD” with co-principal investigator Cheryl Krause-Parello, PhD, RN, president of ISAZ.

“I am extremely honored to receive this award from my peers. It is particularly meaningful, having been a part of the maturing of a field that my colleagues and I developed from infancy 30 years ago,” Friedmann said. “I couldn’t have imagined that my dissertation research could supply the impetus for a scholarly field and influence public perceptions. It’s gratifying to know that the science behind our knowledge that owning a pet and interacting with animals are beneficial to people’s health, stemmed from my collaborators’ and my research. I am excited to continue to develop this understanding, particularly with the validation of the field that comes from NIH calls for research in human-animal interaction. There is so much more to learn.” 

Friedmann, one ISAZ’s co-founders, was elected a fellow of the society in 2016. She served three terms as the organization’s president, has been a board member for 27 years and was just elected to another two-year term, and is the deputy editor of ISAZ’s journal, Anthrozoös. In 2017, Friedmann was named an honorary member of Sigma, the honor society of nursing, in recognition of her achievements contributing to the advancement of nursing and health care. At UMSON, Friedmann serves as professor and associate dean for research; she teaches research methods and statistics and has served on more than 50 doctoral dissertation committees since she joined the faculty 16 years ago. In addition to conducting her own research, she supports, facilitates, and mentors UMSON faculty to develop their own research and scholarship.

“We congratulate Dr. Friedmann on this extraordinary honor recognizing her long-standing contributions to the field of anthrozoology,” said UMSON Dean Jane Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Dr. Friedmann has had a distinguished career, having shown exceptional promise and impact while still a graduate student, and she has been in the unique position of being able to nurture and grow an entire field of study. As a researcher and scholar, as an educator, and as a mentor to the next generation of researchers, she continues to make her mark. We are enormously proud of our colleague, applaud her accomplishments, and look forward to what we know will be her continued contributions to research, education, and practice.”  

(Above) Friedmann (left) is picuted with Cheryl Krause-Parello (right), PhD, RN, president of ISAZ.


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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the nation and is ranked among the top nursing schools nationwide. Enrolling nearly 2,000 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.