Dr. Sandra Barker is Professor of Psychiatry and Bill Balaban Chair in Human-Animal Interaction on the Medical Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. She serves as Associate Director of Inpatient Psychiatry Programs and is an Affiliate Scientist with the VCU School of Nursing Center for Excellence in Biobehavioral Approaches to Symptom Management. She is also Director of The School of Medicine Center for Human-Animal Interaction (  The mission of the Center is improved health and well-being through human-animal interaction.

Dr. Barker is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor and Master Addictions Counselor.  She is also certified in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and is an approved EMDR Consultant by the EMDR International Association.  Her research and clinical specialties are trauma resolution, executive performance improvement, and the health benefits of human-companion animal interaction. She has had numerous articles published in her specialty areas and has presented to national and international audiences.

She is also Adjunct Professor of Small Animal Clinical Sciences at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg, VA.  Dr. Barker helped establish the Pet Loss Support Hotline at the veterinary college and provides continuing consultation on the human-animal interaction and companion animal/pet loss related issues to area professionals and community groups.

Dr. Barker is an alumnus of Florida State University and is an avid Seminole fan.

 Disclaimer:  The contents of this page do not reflect an official position of Virginia Commonwealth University.