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Concurrent Sessions 4
October 20, 2023 | 1:45 – 2:45 PM

Session 4.1  |  Session 4.2  |  Session 4.3

Session 4.1 | Green Care for Healthy Aging and Holistic Healing for People with Dementia: A Scoping Review


This session explores current horticulture therapy research and should be included in the AHTA Annual Conference considering its relevance to promoting holistic healing and wellness among individuals with dementia, using a trauma-responsive and culturally appropriate approach. The results and implications of the findings of this review also move beyond the original study findings findings to offer meaningful implications for future practice, policy and research.

About the Speakers

Dr. Michelle D. Hand

Dr. Michelle D. Hand is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at George Mason University. She studies holistic strategies for addressing trauma among at-risk populations across the life course, such as through exploring the causes and impacts of trauma along with garden and farm-based approaches for healing, informed by extensive interdisciplinary clinical and research-based experience. Her work has been published in premier scholarly journals and books, and has been presented at several national and international conferences, including at Harvard Law School’s "Just Food?" Forum. She welcomes transdisciplinary collaboration, to collectively develop horticulture-based resources for sustainable recovery from trauma.

Dr. Keith A. Anderson

Dr. Keith A. Anderson is the Chair of The University of Mississippi Department of Social Work. He earned a Ph.D. in gerontology at the University of Kentucky and a master’s in clinical social work at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Anderson is editor of End of Life Care Series, published by Columbia University Press and serves as an editor for The Gerontologist. His research interests include physical and mental health of older adults and their caregivers, home and community-based services for older adults, and creative interventions to improve quality of life for older adults, such as through green care farms.

Tess Schleitwiler, MSW, BA

Tess Schleitwiler is a PhD student in the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, who received her B.A. in Democracy and Justice Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with minors in Political Science and Global Studies. She completed her MSW at the University of Montana, and has since served in a number of policy, advocacy, and research roles with the Wisconsin State Legislature, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin, and Protect Our Care (Washington, D.C). She studies electoral and political gender divisions, impacts of affective polarization on mixed partisan marriages, and the interpersonal implications of mis- and disinformation.

Session 4.2 | Vocational Assessment in Horticultural Therapy


Vocational assessment and use of labor market data is an essential component of vocational horticultural therapy skills training and return to work vocational rehabilitation. This session will provide an overview of use medical/psychological/psychiatric/educational reports, labor market data, vocational assessment tools to improve vocational outcomes of horticultural therapy service recipients.

About the Speaker 

Gary Altman

Mr. Gary Altman is a Licensed Associate Counselor, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Vocational Evaluation Specialist, and Registered Horticultural Therapist. He is a Teaching Instructor in the Rutgers University Department of Plant Biology and Director of the Horticultural Therapy program at School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. Gary is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Counselor Education and Supervision Track program in the Rutgers University Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions. Mr. Altman also facilitates a green industry vocational skills training and supported employment program for individuals with disabilities on the Rutgers University Cook Campus in New Brunswick, NJ.

Session 4.3 | Decades of Growing Good Health through Therapeutic Garden Programming


Contributing to the evidence-base, clinical programming, sustainability, internship supervision and promoting the HT profession are key priorities for Legacy’s therapeutic garden program since 1991 and for decades to come.

About the Speakers

Teresia Hazen, MEd, HTR, QMHP

Teresia Hazen, MEd, HTR, QMHP served as Coordinator of Therapeutic Gardens at Legacy 1991 - 2020. As a registered horticultural therapist, she calls upon an extensive, broad-based background to facilitate interdisciplinary garden design teams and to develop therapeutic programs for patients, visitors, and employees. The focus of her training is on gerontology, addictions counseling, special education, horticulture, K-12 education, fund development and curriculum design. She teaches and consults regarding gardens in healthcare, horticultural therapy for a wide variety of populations, health benefits of gardening and nearby nature, therapeutic garden design, HT coursework and supervision, and the participatory design process.

Brian Bainnson, ASLA

Brian Bainnson, ASLA is a landscape architect with 35 years experience. In 1998, he led the Portland Memory Garden design team developing an award-winning therapeutic garden for people with various dementias, their families and caregivers. He manages partnerships with volunteer groups and City of Portland Parks to create an exemplary model recognized nationwide. His healthcare work includes therapeutic gardens at Legacy Health including the Oregon ASLA Design Award winning Oregon Burn Center, Behavioral Health, Mt. Hood Medical Center, and Meridian Park Medical Center. These gardens are designed for patient therapies as well as restorative places for patients, families and employees.

Meghan McKiernan BS, HTR

Meghan McKiernan BS, HTR is a horticultural therapist and Therapeutic Garden Program manager at Legacy Health. Since 2020, she oversees the maintenance of 12 healing gardens, provides clinical horticultural therapy services as the Rehabilitation Institute of Oregon and supervises Legacy’s internship program. She is co-chair for the health and well-being portion of a $2million grant by The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through the Health Resources and Services Administration awarded to Legacy Employee Health. She works with teams to establish, improve, or expand evidence-informed programs and practices to promote mental health and well-being among the health workforce, including their employees.