College of Health and Human Services

Social Work


Janet Hoy-Gerlach, Ph.D., LISW-S

School of Social Justice

Office: HH 2610
Mail Stop 119
Phone: 419.530.4208
Fax: 419.530.4141

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Dr. Janet Hoy-Gerlach has over 20 years of experience in community mental health service delivery, and is an advocate of recognizing and supporting the bonds between people and animals as client strengths within social work practice, across settings and populations.  Toward that end, Dr. Hoy-Gerlach wrote Human-Animal Interaction: A Social Work Guide (2017), along with her colleague and UT MSW alum Scott Wehman. This book was peer-reviewed and published by NASW Press. 

Her current research is focused on health benefits of the human-animal bond, specifically as related Emotional Support Animals (ESAs).   She has trained and presented nationally and internationally on ESAs and has served as an expert witness on ESAs for the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Department.  Dr. Hoy-Gerlach helped develop the Hope and Recovery Pet Program (HARP), which places shelter animals as ESAs through a unique collaboration between ProMedica, the Toledo Humane Society, and the University of Toledo; this is one of the only such programs in the United States.  She founded and co-convenes the annual Human-Animal Interaction and Social Work Research Group Meeting at the Society of Social Work and Research annual national meeting.  She is also co-founder and co-chair of NASW Ohio’s Human-Animal Interaction Working Group.  In her role as human services advisor for Ohio Animal Advocates, she has provided expert legislative testimony on bills and issues related to human-animal interaction issues, such as cross-reporting of human and animal abuse. 

Dr. Hoy-Gerlach teaches primarily practice and research classes.  She developed an elective course titled “Human-Animal Interaction, Health, and Wellness”, which is typically offered at UT annually during the fall semester; while a social work elective course, it is open to all majors.  Dr. Hoy-Gerlach developed and supervises MSW internships at a humane society (Toledo Humane Society) and a veterinary practice (Community Pet Care Clinic).  She serves as faculty advisor for Rocket Service Dogs, a UT student organization (open to all majors) that fosters and trains service dog trainees in partnership with Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence, a program of The Ability Center.   

Last Updated: 10/10/22