Richard GriffioenSecretary

    Richard Griffioen was born in Amsterdam where he graduated from the Physical Therapy Academy, the Manual Therapy Academy and obtained a master degree in Psychology. He is an experienced health care professional, coach and trainer and in 1992 he started the Medical Center IBIS (Integrated Biomedical Institute and Sports Health Care), consisting of a multidisciplinary team (e.g. sports physiotherapists, athletic coaches, hapto-therapists, acupuncturists, sports doctor, exercise physiologist and massage therapists).

    Since 1997 he has worked together with several colleagues at The Human Academy as trainer/coach responsible for individual coaching processes, non-verbal bodywork and guiding training groups on personal growth and leadership. In 1997 he started a foundation for Animal Assisted Interventions (SAM Foundation) and initiated research on the development of children with Down syndrome and children with autism spectrum disorder.

    He is also the founder of a Care Farm Foundation Het Boerenparadijs (2011-2017) with the objective to facilitate daytime activities for children with disabilities. Since 2013 he has been a board member of AAIZOO, Animal Assisted Interventions in care, education and research.

    In 2011 he accepted the challenge to start a PhD research program at the Graduate school of the Open University, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Chair of Antrozoology, under the supervision of Prof. dr. Dr. Marie-Jose Enders-Slegers, which he successfully completed in 2020.

    He currently works in his own practice and, together with Carmen Maurer ( and the board of the SAM Foundation, provides various animal-assisted intervention programs for children with special needs.