Felicia Cristiani Bass, Founder & Executive Director
Felicia is a life-long animal person coming from eight generations of one of the most acclaimed equestrian families in circus history, the Cristiani's. Her parents, Antoinette Cristiani and James Bass were her inspirations, and taught Felicia how to communicate with animals and how to interact with animals. In doing so, Felicia has become a master of the human-animal relationship working with animals over a broad-spectrum including elephants, lions, camels, primates, and of course horses. Being around animals and nature at a young age, Felicia developed a powerful love for nature and an innate sense of care for the environment. Felicia believes that when we are in the natural environment, surrounded by all of God's creatures, great and small, we naturally feel better. This balance, health and happiness is shared through nCHAI.
Dr. Jacqueline A. Bartlett, M.D.
Jacqueline is a licensed Medical Doctor who received a Doctor of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati Medical School. She is Board Certified, Adult Psychiatry at American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry, Board Eligible, Child Psychiatry at American Board of Neurology and Psychiatry, and Board Eligible, Pediatrics 1976, American Board of Pediatrics. Jacqueline has had university appointments at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Jaqueline's life work has included many appointments, research, and publications which have been invaluable contributions to her chosen field, acknowledged by awards and honors. Jaqueline's love for animals and nature, knowing how they both positively impact people, have brought her to Nature Centers for Human Animal Interaction to offer her guidance and support.
Laura Michelle Calin, LCSW
Michele is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who received a Master of Science in Social Work from Florida International University. She has been a therapist for over twenty-five years with a background that includes working with children, adults, families, and couples. Her experience also includes working with individuals with depression, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, ODD, and schizophrenia. Michele describes her approach as empathic, goal-oriented, and client-centered. The therapies she draws from include cognitive-behavioral, solution focused and psychodynamic approaches. Michele is an animal lover providing outpatient services through using human-animal interactions in a natural setting at NCHAI. She enjoys helping people through challenging situations while providing a warm, non-judgmental, and accepting environment. She is described as supportive, empathic, and ensuring that each person reaches their goals, feeling empowered, strong, and resilient.
Lisa R. Vance, B.A.
Lisa is a social services professional who received a Bachelor of Art in Psychology and a Bachelor of Art in Business Management from Columbia College. Lisa graduated Magna Cum Laude, Presidents List, Member of Academic Honor Society and Order of the Purple Seal. Lisa has experience providing community based social services, targeted case management, reunification, court liaison, service plans, therapeutic intervention, forensic testing, sign language, and life skills. Work experience includes coordination of services between state and local agencies, schools and courts, while working with case managers, case workers, teachers, administrators, attorneys, guardian ad litems, dependency clients and their families. Lisa is a lover of nature and animals, pursuing faith-based work through NCHAI, and volunteers with the Human Animal Life Foundation. Lisa is the daughter of our esteemed Dr. Sandra Blanton.
Dr. Steve MIller, DVM
Dr. Steve Miller grew up in the Midwest and became interested in horses at an early age. Prior to his formal medical education, Dr. Miller worked with Suffolk Punch horses in Massachusetts and Virginia, logging, raising crops at a community farm, and giving wagon rides at a living history park in Roanoke. His love of horses led him to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. He received his veterinary degree from Virginia Tech. Several years after graduation, he moved to Dade City, Florida where he worked as an associate veterinarian at a local practice before founding Blue Skies Equine Veterinary Services in 2008. His professional interests include sports medicine, lameness, reproduction, and dentistry. Dr. Miller is a member of American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Equine Practitioners. In his spare time, he enjoys skydiving, kiteboarding, and family activities with his wife and three sons.
Dr. Sandra Blanton, Ph.D 1941 ~ 2017
Sandra Blanton, 75, Ph.D., of Dunnellon, passed peacefully July 31, 2017, in her home to be with her Heavenly Father. She was born Aug. 10, 1941 in West Union, Ohio. Sandra is survived by her siblings in Ohio, California and Florida. As a mother of five adult children, grandmother of nine and great-grandmother of two, she inspired her family with a wealth of knowledge and encouragement during crisis, added humor to life's lessons and made phenomenal meals in her role as matriarch. Sandra started her professional journey as a paralegal then returned to college in her 50s, completing 10 years until she was hooded with a Ph.D., published several articles that are cited in college papers to date as well as poetry. Sandra served as a forensic expert witness for the courts advocating for children of abuse, served on the Foundation for Human and Animal Life in Brooksville, now operating as Noah's Little Ark and Miracle Ranch for Children, where her motto of making Chicken salad is a life choice and mucking stalls builds character. Dr. "B" as she was respectfully and lovingly known to her colleagues at Families First of Ocala, she worked beyond retirement years serving as a clinical supervisor of Mental Health Therapists. We will miss our Mom, her love for us is revealed in her tenacity to take every day and plan for good memories. We have good memories and many will sustain us through this time of grief; videos and still pictures as she fulfilled her bucket list and consistently beat everyone at Scrabble. We Love you Mom, we hope you enjoy the paradise you longed for; order more than a salad, we believe you deserve it! "Her children arise and call her blessed" Proverbs. 31:28. "Honor her for all that her hands have done and let her works bring her praise at the gate" Prov. 31:31. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be may be made in her name to the Human Animal Life Foundation at humananimallife.org. Published in Riverland News on Aug. 10, 2017