Sarah Leighton, M.S.

Graduate Associate

Sarah is pursuing a PhD with Dr. Maggie O’Haire and the OHAIRE Lab, which she joined in 2021. Before this program, Sarah worked for a national non-profit service dog provider for over 10 years, first as a service dog trainer and most recently as National Director of Training and Client Services. She was closely involved in the research and development of programs to place service dogs with disabilities, including the launch of a program to place service dogs with military veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her research interests include the following:

  • Examining the role of human-animal interaction in enhancing human mental health and wellness.
  • Understanding the influence of service dogs on biopsychosocial outcomes for individuals with disabilities, including veterans with PTSD and children with autism.
  • Growing the empirical evidence base underlying the complimentary intervention of service dog placement.