Philip Tedeschi, Clinical Professor and Executive Director-Institute for Human-Animal Connection

Clinical Professor Philip Tedeschi is the Executive Director of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver within the Graduate School of Social Work. He has been with the University of Denver for 17 years and is the founder of the Animal Assisted Social Work Program and Institute for Human-Animal Connection. He is recognized for expertise in the clinical methods for Animal Assisted Interventions and coordinates the school’s Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate program for Master of Social Work (MSW) students, as well as the Animals and Human Health online professional development certificate program. He received his MSSW degree for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his specialization was the therapeutic connection between people and animals. He teaches MSW courses in forensic social work, human-animal interaction and animal welfare, conservation social work, human ecology and international social work in areas such as East Africa.

Philip’s research, scholarship, presentations, training and community practice work have focused on human-animal interaction, conservation and environmental social work, experiential therapy and forensic social work practice. Philip is a certified Master Therapeutic Riding Instructor, former course director and instructor with Outward Bound, wilderness medical technician, forensic evaluator and has many years of experience in non-traditional therapeutic approaches with children, adults and families, as well as program development and intervention in interpersonal violence including, assessment and intervention with animal abuse, attachment, trauma disordered and sexually abusive youth and adults. Philip has been recognized as a graduate level educator and has remained active as a social work practitioner with over 30 year of practice experience. He serves on numerous national organization board of directors including the Delta Pet Partners National Board, The Green Chimneys Institute Board of Advisors, The Horses and Humans Research Foundation, the African Network for Animal Welfare, and the National Link Coalition among others. Email:

Sarah Bexell, Scholar in Residence – Institute for Human-Animal Connection and Director of Conservation and Education – Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

Dr. Sarah M. Bexell has been engaged in wildlife conservation, conservation education and humane education for many years. Currently the Director of Conservation Education and Communications at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, Education Specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Black-footed Ferret Recovery Program, and Research Scholar in Residence in the Institute for human-Animal Connection, she has participated in projects related to conservation, animal behavior and education for 15 years.  She was instrumental in helping the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding and Chengdu Zoo establish their conservation and education departments, and she has served as Director of Conservation Education and Communications at the Chengdu Research Base since 2006.  She was an Instructor in the Environmental Sciences Department of China’s Sichuan University in 2007-08. Her career has focused on developing programs that foster the human-animal bond for increased conservation and animal welfare concern and participation. Email:

Ethan Crawford, Digital Instruction Specialist and Student of International Studies

Ethan Crawford works as Digital Instruction Specialist at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work, where he supports a wide variety of teaching and learning technologies, and provides audio/video services for faculty, staff, and students. He is also a part-time student at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, with an academic focus on International Security and Geographic Information Science. Ethan is a member of the DU Sustainability Council, which helps the university achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. He graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a BS in Broadcast Production Management in 2002. Ethan is an avid photographer, videographer and documentarian, and enjoys a regular dose of adventure – a passion that has taken him across five continents and also keeps him happy in his native state of Colorado. Email:

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