The Human-Animal Connection Board
Genie Joseph, PhD - President & Executive Director
Genie Joseph, PhD is a certified Trust Technique Practitioner and dog trainer. She was previously on the board of the Human-Animal Bond Program at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii.
She is the creator of The Act Resilient Method and for this work, she was given President Obama's Silver Volunteer Service Award. And the Resilience Team won the American Psychological Association's National Workplace Resilience Award. She and her dog Sophia are registered and certified as a Therapy Dog Team with The Alliance for Therapy Dogs and have done hundreds of visits with over 4,000 Service Members, Veterans, youth, elderly, and incarcerated people.
Genie has over 2,000 hours of volunteer work in animal shelters, rescue centers, and sanctuaries. She does private consultations, conducts workshops and classes, and speaks to groups on communication, healing, and the human-animal connection. She is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and published author. She registered and insured through The International Institute of Complementary Therapies. She is Human-Animal Bond Certified through NAVC.
Nathan Bush - Treasurer - Vice-President
After ten years of distinguished military service and a promising career, U.S. Air Force veteran Nathan Bush faced a sudden medical separation from service. Battling multiple health conditions and chronic pain, heavily medicated and with all treatment possibilities exhausted, told by doctors not to expect recovery...he was feeling hopeless.
In this dark time, Nathan found some solace in nature. Though his mobility was limited, and pain a constant companion, he had to keep moving. With the support and encouragement of friends and family, Nathan planted a garden. It was a new beginning. And an unanticipated and profoundly healing process had begun. As Nathan learned to nurture and nourish the plants and animals of his growing farm, and the farm, in turn, nourished and nurtured him, doctors were surprised by Nathan's increasing health and strength.
Within three years, Nathan had experienced miraculous recovery and remissions. With his returning health and ability, and a sense of profound gratitude, Nathan wanted to share his healing experiences and continuing recovery with other veterans struggling with PTS, chronic pain, and reintegration into civilian life.
Working at a nearby non-profit equine therapy center as Farm Manager and Programming Coordinator, he partnered to develop a successful and life-changing model of therapeutic horticulture. In collaboration and official partnership with Cornell University and the Department of Veteran Affairs, the program was funded and advanced, and the model adopted by the VA's Whole Health System, making this programming currently available to all qualifying veterans in the Fingerlakes region of Upstate New York, with plans to replicate the program across the nation.
This healing journey taught Nathan that connection is a primary human need. He recognized that the “medicine of connection” to self, with others, and with nature had done for him and others what no other medicine had. Nathan continues to work in veteran outreach and has discovered the profound and unique qualities of the human-animal connection. He regularly works with wild mustangs who have been gathered from federal lands, separated from their herds and family units, living in the sub-optimal conditions of BLM holding pens. Nathan teaches these wild horses the skills they need to be adopted into new families and become part of a new herd. In this symbiotic relationship there is benefit to both. For Nathan, relating to animals in gentle cooperation builds trust. It makes available the deep wisdom and healing power intrinsic to animals.
Now, for Nathan, sharing these practices and facilitating the human-animal connection has become his new mission. A mission for life.
Patricia Billard, PhD - Dir. of Educational Healing
Trisha Billard, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice specializing in holistic approaches to growth and healing through mindfulness-based somatic psychotherapies that support mind/body/spirit integration and balance. Trisha is an EAGALA certified mental health practitioner, and embodied mindfulness meditation teacher.
A passionate advocate of both human and non-human animal rights, Trisha is invested in humane education that fosters trust and healing through collaborative human-animal bonds and supports positive, ecological, and ethical social change.
Trisha’s three rescue dog’s Leo, Harry, and Oliver are her best teachers.
Andrew Mahan - Secretary and Videographer
I began my digital journey around 1985 with my Amiga computer (video toaster) which eventually led to getting a System Administration Networking degree and multiple computer certificates. I worked as an IT Technician at Pima college for several years and retired in 2017 from an international Network Operations Center as a Network Specialist. I have filled my personal studios with multitrack audio, graphic, video, and interactive processing equipment, digital and analog.
Dogs have lived in my homes almost constantly since the late-1950s. From farm mutts to AKC registered highbred but mostly rescue from pounds and private organizations. Each of those wonderful souls simply allowed me to join in with their playful and amazing spirits.
My grandparent’s farm taught me the deep reverence and true nature of living with animals. My other grandfather worked in the saddle at cattle ranches throughout the Chiricahua mountains well into the Cochise Stronghold. Many of my close relatives continue to work their farms and ranches in Arizona and New Mexico. As a sophomore in High School, I worked with the owner of small herd of Shetland ponies. In the mid-80s I worked as management and fill in wrangler at a world-renowned guest ranch with well over 100 horses. Animals are and will continue to be a vibrant and constant connection for me to share.
I have also always been fascinated by the moving image and its creation. Paintings, music, posters, the written word, making movies (particularly animated) have fueled my imagination and tuned respect for craftmanship all my life. I am honored to contribute a multi-media and digital tech aspect for the Human Animal Connection.
The Human-Animal Connection Advisory Board
Dr. Blake L. Hardin - veterinarian
Dr. Blake Hardin is a graduate of the University of Georgia School of Veterinary Medicine. He has experience in both large and small animal medicine and currently works as the Medical Director at Church Ranch Veterinary Clinic in Westminster, Colorado. Prior to practicing veterinary medicine, Dr. Hardin lived in Sydney, Australia and worked as a management consultant in the healthcare and financial industries. Dr. Hardin received his Bachelor of Arts in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, holds a MBA and received his Master of Public Health from Harvard University in 2020. In his free time, Dr. Hardin enjoys adventures with his dog, Daisy, developing sustaining farming practices and educating people on the power of the human-animal connection.
Lieutenant Colonel Dana Allmond
Veteran Mental Health Adviser
Dana Allmond - a mother, retired Army lieutenant colonel, dynamic change agent, and champion for our communities - is a 1994 United States Military Academy graduate who holds dear the West Point Cadet Honor Code: “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate those who do,” the West Point motto: “Duty, Honor, Country,” and the seven Army values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. Dana is a strong lifelong veteran advocate who presses for action now. She is the Chair of the Southern Arizona Veterans Mental Health Advocacy Council and member of the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System Veteran and Family Advisory Council.
Lynne Stott, CPTD-KA
Positive reinforcement trainer and member of the TOP Dogs training team at Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson with more than 3400 volunteer hours teaching volunteers, fosters and adopters to train shelter dogs and remediate problematic behaviors. Served the last 18 months on the national committee for professional outreach with Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) helping to create web content on training topics for owners and beginners in the field and to launch a scholarship program for certification testing. A background in life science supports my interest in understanding the physiology of behavior and the process and possibilities of change.
Nonprofit Development Adviser
Patricia is a nonprofit development professional who has worked with local and international organizations since 2014. She has extensive experience in fundraising, grant writing, branding, and external communications. In the last few years, she has shifted her focus toward creative projects as a freelance branding and communications strategist. Patricia graduated with a bachelors of arts degree in Communication from the University of Arizona. She currently splits her time between Tucson and Manila, Philippines.
Here's a two-minute video about The Human-Animal Connection
The Human-Animal Connection is a proud member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators