Pets and their implications for community well-being
Taryn Graham promotes health in urban communities through human-animal interactions. Taryn's graduate work as a Master's student examined social inequalities among pet owners in public space, which involved collaborating with dog walkers, non-dog walkers, municipal leaders, and key stakeholders to provide recommendations on pet-friendly policies that respected safety concerns of the broader community and needs of the environment.
Through an Achiever’s in Medical Science (AIMS) Scholarship, Taryn was recruited to the University of Calgary to pursue at PhD in Population & Public Health in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine. She is involved in a team project examining the impact of policies on physical activity and sense of community in Calgary's off-leash areas, among dog-walkers and other park users. Meanwhile, her Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded PhD dissertation extends a population health perspective to housing access for pet owners, an intervention area yet to be addressed in a Canadian context.
For the past decade, Taryn has trained several dogs, ranging from pets with behavioural issues to service animals for children with Autism. She is the founder of PAWSitive Leadership, a humane education program which brings certified dogs into classrooms and community centres to teach character development to children of all ages and abilities.
University of Calgary