NEWS | March 21, 2017

UC Davis music, pet and cuddle therapy programs featured in new KVIE documentary


Three UC Davis programs are featured in a new documentary produced by KVIE that explores non-pharmacological approaches to helping people heal.

UC Davis cuddle therapy program UC Davis cuddle therapy program

ViewFinder: Healing Beyond Medicine premieres Wednesday, March 22 at 7 p.m. and airs again March 24 at 4 p.m. and March 26 at 6:30 p.m. on public television KVIE, channel 6.

At the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, KVIE producers featured research conducted by oncologist Anjali Pawar, which aims to determine if interaction with dogs helps reduce anxiety in children undergoing difficult chemotherapy procedures. The study also evaluated whether the dogs themselves experienced more or less stress during their visits by measuring levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the dogs’ saliva. See a related story here:

The KVIE producers also visited with UC Davis neonatologist Catherine Rottkamp, who talked about UC Davis Children’s Hospital’s Cuddle Babies program in which UC Davis medical students and other volunteers cuddle babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The program is based on research that shows cuddling has numerous benefits for infants born prematurely or with medical conditions.

Finally, Healing Beyond Medicine featured an initiative aimed at improving dementia care in skilled nursing facilities developed by Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing researchers in collaboration with the California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF). The CAHF Music & Memory Project adapts the program designed by Dan Cohen and provides personalized music to 4,500 residents in 300 skilled nursing facilities. The research, by Associate Adjunct Professor Debra Bakerjian and Associate Professor Elena O. Siegel, will also identify strategies to spread and sustain the program as a quality assurance/performance improvement project. A video about the project can be found at For more about the program, visit

Viewfinder is sponsored by UC Davis Health.