History and Statutes of the Foundation
The World Health Organization considers human beings as bio-psychosocial entities, i.e., as a dynamic integration of physical, psychological and social structures. Regarding the first element of this inseparable triad, the study of the physical aspects is currently essential, highlighting among the wide range of parameters susceptible to such research are the neurobiological aspects and more specifically, the study of the influence of environment upon genes. This view would be incomplete if it does not include full social integration and equality of opportunity for people with functional diversity and/or those at risk of exclusion in aspects of regulatory and/ or welfare assistance.
To meet this wide range of objectives, the Canis Majoris Foundation was established in 2011 and from the outset it was clear that a structure comprised of three interrelated areas was needed:
-Research, Development & Innovation area (R+D+i)
-Training and Awareness area
Each of these areas has a coordinator and assigned staff.
The foundation elaborates its proposals through a triennial plan of objectives and actions for achieving such objectives, directed by a Board and Executive Committee. Detailed information on these aspects can be found on our website.
This structural vision of the Foundation should be seen from the perspective of the values held and the approach to our work, characterized, among others, by the following:
Commitment of the Foundation as a whole and in particular of its staff and voluntary personnel toward the diverse actions undertaken, as approved by the Executive Committee and the Board.
Development of diverse actions regardless of magnitude and budget on condition that these be aimed at improving the quality of life of the people we work with. In this sense, as an example, it is not surprising that in addition to investment into Research, Development and Innovation, is the running of camps for children under threat of social exclusion as well as programs for research and training in Latin America.
Sensitivity toward the proposals received from social networks or other institutions related to the values and mission as set out in our statutes
Promote activities from other institutions, to provide mutual support for achieving our goals and values. In short, working together to create a strong network of support to avoid and minimise the effects of social exclusion. A good example is the creation in 2015 of the Elena Pessino Chair in collaboration with the University of Alcalá and in 2017 a new Chair with the Rey Juan Carlos University in Madrid.
Strict control of our budgets and both, private and public contracts obtained by the Foundation, while combining support for different initiatives with effectiveness and efficiency.
As a reflection of our approach and as the initial steps taken by the Foundation which have stamped our identity we would like to point out the following actions, so different in form, yet all aimed at reaching the same objectives.
The first measure, cornerstone of our work, was establishing within the Healthcare Area, an Animal Assisted Therapy (TAA) unit, having signed collaborative agreements with diverse institutions, notably among which are the Social Care Agency of Madrid (AMAS) and the Institute for Social Work & Social Services (INTRESS).
In 2012, within the framework of our principles and objectives, an agreement was signed with Alcalá University (UAH) serving as a framework for some of the activity within the Research, Development and Innovation area. This collaboration agreement culminated in 2015 with the Elena Pessino Research Chair lasting 3 years. The Chair encompassed various projects among which we highlight the Elena Pessino Scholarships for students with functional diversity and the Elena Pessino Research Grants aimed at recruiting young researchers from within our country.
Another noteworthy milestone is the convening of the first edition of the Siboney Infant and Children’s Narrative Prize, of which have followed successive editions all aimed at promoting reading and writing among youngsters in our region.
In conjunction with these activities and within the Training area, the Foundation signed an agreement with the Madrid Regional Government and the Madrid Official College of Psychologists, in order to establish training courses, beginning with an AAT course directed exclusively at psychologists.
Finally, in 2017 we see the creation of the Elena Pessino Research Chair in collaboration with the Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid to develop a Research, Development and Innovation program housed within the Elena Pessino Laboratory for Neuroscience of Mental Disorders in addition to a study program in Theoretical Physics of Complex Systems located in the Department of Biology and Geology, Physics and Inorganic Chemistry.