Assistance animals for patients’ education

Pace University recently provided an educational workshop at the Northeast Medical Group Endoscopy Center in Trumbull on service and therapy dogs in health care. The program was coordinated by one of our patient family advisors, Thomas Griffen, who is well connected to the service animal community, as his dog, Sterling, has been by his side for the last two years.

Sterling was recommended and prescribed by Northeast Medical Group endocrinologist Joseph Rosa, MD, to help Tom manage his diabetes and other medical issues. Joanne Singleton, PhD, RN, from Pace University, and Lu Picard, co-founder and director of programs for Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD), developed the curriculum. Together with Lynn Halkowicz, RN, the center’s nurse manager, they were enthusiastic about sharing it with the staff.

Pace University’s College of Health Professions is the first and only college in the country to offer “Canines Assisting in Health” as part of their program for future healthcare professionals. The curriculum includes caring for patients with disabilities who are matched with, or may benefit from, being teamed with a service dog, or who may benefit from participation in a range of animal-assisted therapies. For more information about service dogs, please visit the ECAD website:

The next educational session is scheduled at Greenwich Hospital, Noble Conference Room, Thursday, Nov. 29, noon - 1 pm. For information or to register, contact Dorie Gemmell, [email protected].