Texas Tech University

Research Spotlight on Women Faculty: Heidi Brady

March 31, 2020 |  

During March, Texas Tech is celebrating women faculty who exemplify excellence in research, scholarship, creative activity, teaching, and mentoring.

Heidi Brady
Professor; Co- Director, Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding and Therapy Center; Department of Animal and Food Sciences

heidi brady

Brady's expertise include equine behavior, reproductive physiology, and therapeutic riding.

What inspired you to work in your field/area of expertise?

When we began the Texas Tech Therapeutic Riding Program at Texas Tech, it was clear to me how horses could help with such a diverse group of disabilities in both children and adults. We especially saw dramatic changes in the youngest of our clients- the 2-year-old children with motor and speech developmental delays. The hippotherapy sessions brought about benefits that surpassed what their physicians and parents had hoped for.

What was needed for the industry and for clinicians was strong research to validate the changes and benefits of the multi-dimensional movement of the horse in rehabilitative medicine and therapy. The horse is just an amazing animal.

Who inspired you to pursue academia?

My parents were a huge inspiration. My father was a general surgeon who added to his already-full workload by teaching Surgical Anatomy at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He took such joy in teaching on this formal level, as well as teaching clinically at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. I remember younger doctors coming up to him and thanking him for teaching the course, which made an impression on me. My parents were both from a small steel town outside of Pittsburgh. For my mother, when she graduated high school, it was very challenging and surprising just to go to college let alone leave home for graduate school. After attending Carnegie Tech in the early 40's, she boarded a plane to go to Kansas State for graduate studies in Home Economics and Child Nutrition. Her mother cried. After this, she went on to the University of Texas in Austin as a graduate assistant and "reader" for a professor in Child nutrition. She told me she sat on a fan in her small set of rooms in Austin in the summer and typed. This was cut short when the WWII broke out and she returned home. I remember looking at her typed thesis when I was a child and wondered how she did all that.

What would you tell your female students interested in pursuing an academic career?

I would tell them to go for it. Many of my students want to make a career centered around the horse, and academia is a great chance to combine horses, research, and teaching in a field they obviously love.


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