Panel Discussion

1:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Location: Chelsea Hotel, Churchill Ballroom

Laura Mayer, Clinical Associate Professor, Graduate School of Psychology, University of Denver
Lavita Nadkarn, School of Professional Psychology, University of Denver
Philip Tedeschi, Clinical Professor, Executive Director, Institute for Human-Animal Connection, University of Denver



Dr. Laura Meyer
began working at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology in 2007, while completing her doctoral degree in Quantitative Research Methods. Currently, she is a clinical associate professor who teaches courses in statistics, research methods, doctoral paper development, animal-assisted interventions, and animal abuse evaluation and treatment. In 2018, she obtained a grant to develop clinician competencies in animal abuse evaluation and treatment and to continue psychometric work on an animal abuse risk assessment measure. Dr. Meyer also has extensive experience conducting program evaluations and needs assessments, such as the Colorado Department of Human Services' Brain Injury and Criminal Justice Outcomes Evaluation. She has presented her work at international, national, and regional conferences, including those sponsored by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Law Society, the American Evaluation Association, and the International Congress of Equine Facilitated Programmes.

Dr. Lavita Nadkarni
has a Master's Degree in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Adelphi University. She has been working with forensic populations and law enforcement personnel for over 30 years, primarily providing clinical services (therapy, forensic assessment, expert testimony) and training. Dr. Nadkarni is the Associate Dean and Director of Forensic Studies at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Professional Psychology, and is responsible for providing supervision and training to graduate students in their clinical work with clients who have involvement with the civil, criminal or family legal systems.
Dr. Nadkarni's forensic experience has included working at NYU‐Bellevue Hospital's inpatient forensic unit and the Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center, and as a court appointed child and family forensic evaluator. She has continued her work conducting competency evaluations as well as other criminal and civil forensic assessments, and has also been instrumental in training judicial and social service personnel on the use of psychological evaluations and the effect interpersonal violence has on family legal disputes. Dr. Nadkarni has been supervising doctoral students in providing forensic evaluation services through our Professional Psychology Clinic and our Denver Forensic Institute for Research, Service and Training since 1999.Dr. Nadkarni is an active member of the American Psychology‐Law Society and the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology and has held leadership positions within these organizations, most recently as President of NCSPP. She is also active in Division 29, serving as the Domain Representative for the Public Interest and Social Justice Domain.Her research interests lie in the area of interpersonal violence and trauma, entitlement, graduate clinical and forensic training, animal abuse evaluation and treatment, and diversity issues within psychology. In addition to publications in these areas, Dr. Nadkarni is a textbook, manuscript, and proposal reviewer and Associate Editor of the journal, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.

Some of Philip Tedeschi's best friends are animals. He studies and teaches on the intricate relationship between people, domestic and wild animals, and the natural world. Tedeschi is the executive director of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection and a clinical professor at the Graduate School of Social Work. He is globally recognized for expertise in the clinical methods of 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 global professional development certificate program. He received his MSSW degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where his specialization was the bio-affiliative connection between people and animals. Tedeschi's research, scholarship, presentations, training and community practice work have focused on human-animal interactions, conservation, human ecology, causes of violence toward people and animals, environmental social work, experiential therapy and forensic social work practice. Tedeschi 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. He specializes in the therapeutic potential of human-animal interaction, trauma informed methods and intervention in interpersonal violence, including assessment and intervention with animal abuse.