María Belén Ibáñez Justiniano
Animals & Human Health Certificate 2014
María Belén Ibáñez Justiniano completed the Animals and Human Health [link to 1.2] (AHH) certificate program in 2014 from her home country of Bolivia. She went on to establish EQOVOLARE, Bolivia's first officially registered animal-assisted therapy center, where she leads a team of professionals and provides training for her local community in Spanish while focusing on practice techniques inclusive of ethics, empathy, compassion and respect for the human-animal bond. Justiniano also serves as a board member of FUNDACIÓN CONECTANDO VIDAS, a nonprofit organization that supports the promotion of the human-animal bond in health and education, mainly in social programs for disadvantaged people and families.
“In Latin America, we have little access to programs related to [animals and human health], and less in our native language, because it is an area still in full development," Justiniano explains.
"I decided to enroll in the Animals and Human Health program because I perceived a high-quality professionalism in their curriculum and impact on the international community,” Justiniano says. “The best part was feeling part of a community of fighters for the same mission: the power of connection with animals and nature. I made great friends and colleagues who I still consider my mentors.”