Researcher biography

Jess has worked as a paediatric occupational therapist in private practice since graduating from her undergraduate degree. She gained additional training in animal-assisted therapy (canine and equine) in 2015 and became interested in the role animals could play in facilitating client motivation and engagement within therapy sessions. This interest led Jess to complete her PhD exploring the efficacy of canine-assisted occupational therapy with autistic children. Since completing her PhD Jess has continued her research into the impact of human-animal interaction to human and animal health and wellbeing resulting in a number of publications. In line with this research Jess is also the Co-director of The University of Queensland Animal-Assisted intervention Alliance, and the Community Engagement Manager for Animal Therapies Ltd. Jess is also qualified as a personal trainer and has clinical and research experience working to support people with disability engage in physical activity. Jess is a current researcher and coach within the UQ ParaSTART Program.