News Alert: CENSHARE will be at the Minnesota State Fair!

Animals and Human Health, from City to Silo

D2D Building at the State Fair

D2D Building at the State Fair

Do animals make you healthy or are you healthier without them in your life? Does it matter if those animals are pets, farm animals or hobby animals living with you? Does their role in your family make a difference? This study’s main goal is to understand how animals in different environments influence your general health and your mental and physical quality of life compared to having no animals where you live. We want to know the roles animals play in your family. Are there reasons why you’ve chosen to own animals or not? We will also examine measures of stress and emotional attachment in saliva samples and connect them to animal ownership. You can help us understand the ways that our friends with fur, feathers, or scales may impact human health. For better or worse!

See you at the Driven to Discover building!

CENSHARE’s Mission and Vision:Pets

The vision of CENSHARE is promoting optimal environments for animals and humans.

The mission of CENSHARE is to promote collaborative and transdisciplinary research across the areas of veterinary medicine, public health, medicine and social science.  While CENSHARE serves as a resource for numerous public and private organizations, its mission as a center within the School of Public Health is to study and quantify the association between animal and human health, known as human-animal interaction research.

Animals can be defined as companion animals, service animals, therapy animals, animals used in agriculture, or wildlife and the ecosystem. Human health can be defined as physical, mental or social health. Benefits can be measured through biological measures such as blood chemistries or physiologic parameters such as blood pressure, weight, reduction in stress measured by biomarkers or standardized questionnaires, diet, and a wide range of psychosocial instruments.

CENSHARE’s goals are to serve as a resource for investigators interested in collaborating outside of their own areas of expertise, as well as a source of small grants and scholarships. Educational opportunities may include conferences, workshops, and training opportunities in conjunction with groups such as the American Red Cross, the Animal Humane Society, and the Center for Spirituality and Healing.

CENSHARE has three main goals:

   Education To disseminate knowledge about human-animal relationships via educational programming.
   Research To stimulate and promote scientific study of human-animal relationships and environments.
   Service To serve as a community resource for all matters involving human-animal relationships, including data for those developing public policy.

WHOHealth is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

Source: Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948. The Definition has not been amended since 1948.

CENSHARE believes that the human-animal bond is part of that definition.


Established in 1981, CENSHARE has become a national leader in promoting health and quality of life for people and animals through behavior research, educational opportunities, and a forum for public policy making.

CENSHARE serves as an umbrella organization for numerous private and public agencies, including political bodies, humane societies, veterinarians, professional animal breeders and trainers, farm groups, pet related industries, and animal welfare and rights organizations.

CENSHARE provides a neutral environment for these diverse interests, promoting dialogue, supporting research, offering educational and community programs, and recommending appropriate public policies. Housed at the University of Minnesota on the Minneapolis campus, CENSHARE draws on the community and the University for its ideas and support.