STAT Inc. was nominated for an Excellence in Collective Impact award at the 2021 Annual Meeting, and for good reason.
STAT operates differently than most therapeutic centers because their programs are “horse-powered,” centering on equine movement to optimize patient performance capabilities. The nonprofit provides donor-funded treatments for kids with disabilities, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and most recently, people with mental illness or substance use disorder.
According to Founder and Executive Director, Catherine “Cat” Markosky, “there’s something different about the connection with a horse emotionally that adds so much to the mental and physical benefits of therapy”. In addition to the movement of being on a horse, which mimics the natural gait of a human and encourages flexibility more naturally than therapy in an office setting, the attachments that people make with the horses in the Equine-Assisted Learning and Psychotherapy and Hippotherapy programs are astounding.
The stories one could hear from STAT’s clients are incredible, but Cat endeavors to make sure the data backs them up as well. Her approach to the work is centered on patient outcomes and captures information at every step of the way to display just how transformative these programs are. Through a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh Program Evaluation and Research Unit, analysts review data collected by surveys, questionnaires, and assessment tools to provide accurate outcomes and gather program feedback.
In 2019, STAT’s eight certified staff, including behavioral, occupational, mental health, and physical therapists, as well as equine professionals, provided 2,004 treatment sessions to 287 individuals using its 13 horses. In 2020, the number dwindled to 294 treatment sessions due to COVID restrictions. Bouncing back in 2021 with 2,256 treatment sessions.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, STAT received two grants that helped it survive, one from The Community Foundation of Westmoreland County, an affiliate of the Pittsburgh Foundation, that was specifically for interventions with children who experienced trauma or neglect. In addition to therapy for children, these visits to the stables and 20 acres of fields gave parents and foster parents a sense of serenity during the stress of COVID restrictions. The second grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency enabled STAT to create a curriculum specifically for people trying to recover from substance use disorders called the EQuine AffectTM.
For nonprofit organizations that seek to connect families and individuals that could benefit from these therapeutic services, get connected! STAT provides life-changing programs to educate and inspire individuals whose needs are not being met in traditional educational or therapeutic settings. Learn more about the team here.