Rebecca Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP
Professor (Nursing) and Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing and Public Policy
Professor (Vet Med) and Director, Research Center for Human Animal Interaction (ReCHAI) MU College of Veterinary Medicine
S413 Sinclair School of Nursing
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65211
Research Center for Human Animal Interaction (ReCHAI)
MU College of Veterinary Medicine
900 East Campus Drive
Clydesdale Hall Annex #2
Adult nursing, Gerontological nursing
Human-companion animal interaction and well-being for humans and animals; Relocation of older adults.
- BSN, University of Dubuque, Iowa
- MPhil, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
- MS(N), University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
- PhD, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Program of Research
Community-based research on human-companion animal interaction and wellness; Health benefits of dog walking; Enhancing adoptability of shelter dogs; Relocation of ethnic elders; Relocation of older adults; Nursing home placement decision making process; Sense of coherence in older adults’ life transitions.
Dr. Rebecca Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the Millsap Professor of Gerontological Nursing and Public Policy at the MU Sinclair School of Nursing, an associate professor in the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery in the College of Veterinary Medicine, and is director of the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction (ReCHAI). Johnson’s gerontological research focuses on housing transitions and ways to promote healthy physical activity among older adults. She is widely known for her research on relocation of older adults. Her work in the area of the health benefits of human-companion animal interaction aims to facilitate well-being for humans and animals. She is president of the International Association of Human Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO), and serves on the Executive Boards of the Delta Pet Partners (the premier source for training and registration of “Pet Partner” teams, and the International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ). In 2013, IAHAIO will hold its triennial conference in collaboration with the 150th American Veterinary Medical Association Convention. In 2009, ReCHAI hosted the 18th Annual ISAZ Conference and the 1st ReCHAI Human Animal Interaction Conference. In 2000, in conjunction with VET ONE, an organization dedicated to promoting the human/animal bond, she joined a delegation to meet with the U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher to acquaint him with research on the role of animals in promoting human health and well being. Johnson joined the University of Missouri faculty in August 1999.
Selected Grants and Awards
Deem, S., & Johnson, R. A. (2013). Experiencing animals in a zoo: Heart rate variability and perceptions of adults. Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund. $21K.
Johnson, R. A. (2013). Effects of equine assisted activities on PTSD symptoms, coping self-efficacy, emotion regulation, and social engagement in military veterans. Horses and Humans Foundation. $50K.
Johnson, R. A. (2013). Puppies for parole: Shelter dog training and inmate behavior outcomes. Mizzou Advantage Grant. $24K. Second year funding proposal.
- Dog presence and children’s stress during forensic interviews for child abuse. NIH/NICHD RO3. $100K. (2011).
- Puppies for parole: Shelter dog training and inmate behavior outcomes. Mizzou Advantage Grant. $24K. (2011).
- Exploring human-companion animal interaction for families of children with autism. Mizzou Advantage Grant. $50K. (2011).
The following four grants support one component of a four-part project with the same title.
- Mutual enrichment: Veterans training shelter dogs. MU Research Board Grant. $48K. (2010).
- Mutual enrichment: Veterans training shelter dogs. Waltham Foundation. $30K. (2010).
- Mutual enrichment: Veterans training shelter dogs. Banfield Charitable Trust. $30K. (2010).
- Mutual enrichment: Veterans training shelter dogs. Pedigree Foundation. $25K. (2010).
- Research meets practice: Human-animal interaction in obesity across the lifespan. National Institutes of Health. National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD 1R13HD062078-01). $10K, (2009).
- Caring for both ends of the leash: Effects of owners visiting their dogs hospitalized in an intensive care unit. WALTHAM™ Centre for Pet Nutrition. $18,687, (2009).
- Seniors fostering shelter dogs: Improving health and well-being together. International Society for Anthrozoology & WALTHAM™ Centre for Pet Nutrition. $30K, (2009).
- Walk a hound, lose a pound, and stay fit for older adults. The WALTHAM™ Centre for Pet Nutrition/American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians, Human-Animal Bond Research Collaboration. $19,993, (2007).
- Ask the community: Barriers and facilitators of physical activity and exercise. Missouri Foundation for Health, $36,400, (2007)
- "PALS for Seniors” animal assisted activity training & registration. Li’l Red Foundation. $400K, (2007).
- Testing a dog visit protocol with newly admitted nursing home residents. MU-Columbia Research Board Council Grant. $7,500, (2005).
- Non-invasive assessment of stress in dogs involved in animal assisted activity. IAMS Corporation. $25K funded in-kind support. (2004).
- Neuro-chemical indicators of the human animal bond. V.P.I. Skeeter Foundation. $25K, (2003).
- Walking for healthy hearts. Missouri Foundation for Health. $134K. (2002).
- Neuro-chemical indicators of the human animal bond. V.P.I. Skeeter Foundation. $100K, (2001).
- Animal assisted therapy and anxiety among radiation therapy patients: An MU interdisciplinary randomized clinical trial. University of Missouri Columbia Comprehensive Cancer Center Key Group Seed Funds. $50K, (2000).
- Zeltzman, P. & Johnson, R. A. (2011). Walk a hound, lose a pound: How you and your dog can lose weight, stay fit and have fun together. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
- Johnson, R. A., Beck, A. M., & McCune, S. (2011). The health benefits of dog-walking. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
- Johnson, R. A., & McCulloch, W. F. (2013). Human animal bond. In G. Dvorak, & J. Roth (Eds.) Zoonoses: Protecting People and Their Pets. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press.
- Johnson, R. A. & McKenney, C. (2011). Walk a hound, lose a pound: A community dog walking program for families. In R. A. Johnson, A. M. Beck & S. McCune (Eds.) The health benefits of dog-walking for people and pets. (pp. 89-104). West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.
- Johnson, R. A. (2011). Human Animal Interaction and Animal Assisted Therapy. In R. Davis (Ed.), Caring for family pets: Choosing and keeping our companion animals healthy. Ch 3, New York: Praeger Publishers, an imprint of ABC-CLIO.
- Johnson, R. A. (2010) Relocation stress syndrome. In B. Ackley, G. Ladwig (Eds.), Nursing Diagnosis Handbook: An Evidence-Based Guide to Planning Care, 9th edition. (pp.690-695). St. Louis, Mosby.
- Johnson, R. A. (2010). Animal assisted interventions in human healthcare. In P. McCardle (Ed.), How Animals Affect Us: Examining the Influence of Human-Animal Interaction on Child Development and Human Health. Ch 9. American Psychological Association.
- Baun, M. M., & Johnson, R. A. (2010). Human animal interaction and successful aging. In A. Fine (Ed.), Handbook of Animal Assisted Therapy. The Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy: Theoretical Foundations and Guidelines for Practice. Ch 15 (pp. 283-299), New York: Academic Press.
- Johnson, R. A. (2010). Psychosocial & therapeutic aspects human-animal interaction. In P. Rabinowitz, & L. Conti (Eds.), Human-animal medicine; Clinical approaches to zoonoses, toxicants, and other shared health risks. Ch. 5: 24-36, Maryland Heights, Missouri: Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc.
- Johnson, R. A. (2009). Relocation stress syndrome. In M. Maas, J. Specht, D. Schoenfelder, & P. Mobily (Eds.). Nursing care of older adults: Diagnoses, outcomes & interventions. Ch. 41, New York: Delmar Cengage Learning.
- Baun, M. M., Johnson, R. A., & McCabe, B.W. (2007). Human animal interaction and successful aging. In A. Fine (Ed.), Handbook of Animal Assisted Therapy. The Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy: Theoretical Foundations and Guidelines for Practice. Ch 14:285-300, New York: Academic Press.
- Johnson, R.A. (2006). Relocation stress. In M. Mezey, M. Bottrell, B. Berkman, C. Callahan, T. Fulmer, E. Mitty, G. Paveza, E. Siegler, & N. Strumpf. (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Elder Care: The Comprehensive Resource on Geriatric and Social Care. New York: Springer Publishing Company. Chapter revision for new edition.
- Johnson, R. A. (2013). Promoting One Health: The University of Missouri Research Center for Human Animal Interaction. Missouri Medicine, 110,125-128.
- Smarr, K.L., Musser, D.R., Shigaki, C.L., Johnson, R. A., Hanson, K.D., & Chokkalingam, S. (2011). Online self-management in rheumatoid arthritis: a patient-centered model application. Telemedicine & e-Health, 17(2), 104-110.
- Johnson, R. A., Radina, M., & Popejoy, L. (2010). Older adults’participation in nursing home placement decisions. Clinical Nursing Research, 19(4), 358-375. doi: 10.1177/1054773810372990.
- Johnson, R. A., & Meadows, R. L. (2010). Dog-Walking: Motivation for adherence to a walking program. Clinical Nursing Research. 19(4), 387-402. doi: 10.1177/1054773810373122Johnson, R. A.
- Johnson, R. A., Rantz, M. J., McKenney, C. A., & Cline, K. M. (2008). TigerPlace: Training veterinarians about animal companionship for the elderly. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. 35(4), 511-513.
- McKenney, C., & Johnson, R. (2008). Unleash the healing power of pet therapy. American Nurse Today, 3(5), 29-31.
- Shigaki C. L., Smarr K. L., Gong Y., Donovan Hanson K., Siva C., Johnson R.A., Ge B., Musser D. R. (2008). Social Interactions in an Online Self-management Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Chronic Illness, 4, 239–246.
- Rantz, M., Porter, R., Chesier, D., Otto, D., Servey, C., Johnson, R., Aud, M., Skubic, M. Tyrer, H., He, Z., Demiris, G., Alexander, G., & Taylor, G. (2008). TigerPlace, a state-academic-private project to revolutionize traditional long-term care. Journal of Housing for the Elderly, 22(1/2), 66-85.
- Johnson, R. A. & Gayer, A. (2008). Puppy love for older adults. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 34(1), 52-53.
- Johnson, R. A., Meadows, R., Haubner, J., & Sevedge, K. (2008). Animal assisted activity with cancer patients: Effects on mood, fatigue, self-perceived health and sense of coherence. Oncology Nursing Forum, 35(2), 225-232.
- Smarr, K.L., Siva, C., Johnson, R.A., Donovan Hanson, K., Musser, D.R., Hewett, J.E., Ge, B., Parker, J.C. (2007). Online self-management program in rheumatoid arthritis: RAHelp.org 3-month analysis. Arthritis and Rheumatism, 56(9 Supplement), S308.
- Harnirattisai, T., Johnson, R.A. and Kawinwonggowit, V. (2006). Evaluating functional activity in older Thai adults. Rehabilitation Nursing, 32(3), 126-130.
- Rantz, M.J., Marek, K.D., Aud, M.A., Johnson, R., Otto, D. and Porter, R. (2005). TigerPlace: A new future for older adults. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 20(1), 1-4.
- Harnirattisai, T. and Johnson, R.A. (2005). Effectiveness of a behavioral change intervention in Thai elders after knee replacement. Nursing Research, 54(2), 2-12.
- Johnson, R.A. (Guest Ed.). (2003). The human-animal bond. American Behavioral Scientist 4(1), 5-102.
- Johnson, R.A., Meadows, R. L., Haubner, J.S. and Sevedge, K. (2003). Human-animal interaction: A complementary/alternative medical intervention (CAM) for cancer patients. American Behavioral Scientist, 47(1), 55-69.
- Johnson, R.A. (Guest Ed.). (2003). Human-animal interaction, illness prevention, & wellness promotion. American Behavioral Scientist, 4(1), 5-6.
- Johnson, R.A. (2002). Commentary: Human-animal interaction research as an area of inquiry in nursing. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 24(6), 713-715.
- Johnson, R.A. (Special Issue Guest Ed.) (2002). Human-Animal Interaction Research. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 24(6).
Honors and Awards
- Inducted, Fellow & Distinguished Scholar, National Academics of Practice - Veterinary Medicine. April, 2013.
- MU Sinclair School of Nursing Faculty Award for Excellence in Service (2010)
- Humane Society of the US, 11th Annual "Animals and Society" Distinguished Established Course Award (2009)
- Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) (2007)
- University of Missouri-Columbia, William H. Byler Distinguished Professor Award (2005)
- University of Iowa College of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award (2003)
- MU Sinclair School of Nursing Faculty Award for Excellence in Research Award (2003)
- Inducted into Alumni Hall of Fame, Rock Valley College, Rockford, Ill. (2001)
- MU Sinclair School of Nursing Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching (2001)