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CAHSS receives grant to research equine therapy

Nonprofit group previously provided funding for scholarships

A new grant awarded to  Department of Family Therapy will fund research into the effectiveness of equine therapy.

The department’s equine therapy courses are run in conjunction with the nonprofit Stable Place, which operates out of a Davie ranch minutes from NSU’s Fort Lauderdale/Davie Campus. The $41,000 grant comes from The Quell Foundation, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit group that is dedicated to eliminating the stigma connected to mental health treatment. The foundation previously committed to offering $50,000 in scholarships across five years for students studying equine therapy.

Quell 1 Quell 2

Professor Shelley Green, who teaches the equine courses, said that Kevin Lynch, the foundation’s president, was interested in Stable Place’s work with the Pompano Youth Treatment Center, a non-secure facility for at-risk boys. The grant will fund research on their clinical work with the boys.

Green’s team will work with groups of eight boys between the ages of 15-19 in 12 weekly sessions.

“The boys have an hour and a half with our team and the horses, to just experience the horses, be involved in activities, and learn about themselves and conflict management,” Green said.

The research will measure the effect that equine therapy has on the boys, including factors such as recidivism rates, high school graduation rates, and whether they move on to college. Twenty-four boys will participate in the project over the course of two years.

“It’s enormously important so that we understand the needs that different facilities have,” said Associate Professor Martha Gonzalez Marquez, the department’s chair. “We’re very appreciative to The Quell Foundation and hope this paves the way for more opportunities.”

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