HABRI Announces Human Animal Bond Innovation Award Winners

Recipients are recognized for their innovative programs to advance the human-animal bond and help create a more pet-friendly society

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) announced this week that Pet Peace of Minds, American Heart Association and Health Alliance Medical Plans are the recipients of the Human Animal Bond Awards. The awards are given to organizations that use innovative programs to help create a more pet-friendly society while advancing the human-animal bond.

The Human Animal Bond Innovation Awards are a new program that recognizes organizations and companies that implement innovative practices and products that foster human-animal bonding. Nominations were open to the public with prizes in 3 different categories: Workplace Culture, Public Service and Products and Services. The winners were selected by an expert panel of pet care leaders.1

Pet Peace of Mind

Pet Peace of Mind – the only national program that provides a model of care for pets of critically ill hospice patients, including helping animals find loving homes when needed – is the category award recipient of the public service. Through its programs, Pet Peace of Mind trains hospices to help meet the pet care needs of their patients by deploying locally trained volunteers. According to a statement from the organization,2 Pet Peace of Mind’s programs serve more than 3,500 patients, meeting the needs of 4,000 across the United States.

“Pet Peace of Mind is proud to accept the Human Animal Bond Innovation Award in the Public Service category,” said Dianne McGill, President and Founder of Pet Peace of Mind, in the release.2 “By helping hospices across the United States implement programs to help support their patients’ pets, Pet Peace of Mind strives to preserve the human-animal bond between the seriously ill and their On behalf of the hundreds of palliative care partners who are rolling out our program, we are honored to receive this recognition of our work.”

American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is the winner of the WorkPlace Culture category. The American Heart Association recently launched American Heart Association Best Friend Fridays to help raise awareness of the mental and physical benefits of owning a pet.1 Every Friday this summer, American Heart Association employees share photos of their pets, welcome them to video meetings, take breaks with them, and even just talk about them to help normalize pets. pets and pet-friendly workplaces.

“As sponsor of the Workplace Culture Award, Zoetis was inspired to see the nominees go above and beyond to support the human-animal bond in the workplace, and we are honored to recognize the outstanding winner,” said Oliver Knesl, BSc BSc (Hons) MSc BVSc MRCVS CSAM, Executive Director, US Diagnostics, Veterinary Professional Services at Zoetis. “The American Heart Association’s Best Friend Friday program encourages pets to be part of their employees’ work day on a weekly basis, and goes one step further by educating employees on the many scientific health benefits of the human-animal bond.”

Health Alliance Medical Plans

Health Alliance Medical Plans is the winner in the Products and Services category. According to the release, beginning in January 2022, Health Alliance Medical Plans became the first human insurance company to provide 30,000 Medicare Advantage plan members in 3 regional offerings with fully paid access to 24-hour veterinary telehealth.1

“It’s a fact that pets play a huge role in human well-being,” said Heidi Sirota, president and head of Nationwide’s pet insurance division. “As a proud sponsor of the HABRI Innovation Awards, Nationwide applauds Health Alliance Medical Plans for advancing the human-animal bond by making essential healthcare resources available to pet families.”


  1. Announcing the winners of the Human Animal Bond Innovation Award. Press release. Human-Animal Bonding Research Institute. August 23, 2022. Accessed August 24, 2022. https://habri.org/pressroom/20220823
  2. Pet Peace of Mind wins Human Animal Bond Innovation Award. Press release. Peace of mind for pets. August 22, 2922. Accessed August 24, 2022.

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