By Wendy Sarubbi | September 28, 2015 5:02 pm

As a lifelong horsewoman, Dr. Manette Monroe knows how interacting with horses strengthens her body and spirit. Now she is researching how such interaction helps combat veterans and those efforts were recently featured on Growing Bolder television.

Dr. Monroe, assistant dean of students at the UCF College of Medicine and associate professor of pathology, helped create Horses and Heroes, an equestrian therapy program for veterans suffering from mental and physical disabilities. In response to those efforts, Osceola County recently began construction on a $1.6 million therapeutic riding center that is set to open in early 2016.

Early research results showed veterans had dramatic improvements in their depression, stress and relationships with family and civilians thanks to therapeutic riding. Dr. Monroe is also working with UCF’s Physical Therapy Department to research the impact of therapeutic riding on children with autism.

On September 26, WKMG News 6 in Orlando aired a story about Dr. Monroe’s work produced by Growing Bolder, a media organization that produces local and national radio, television and print stories about living life to its full potential. The Growing Bolder story told how Dr. Monroe entered medical school in her forties and is making a difference in the lives of veterans, students and faculty at the UCF College of Medicine.

Growing Bolder was founded by former WESH Channel 2 television personalities Marc Middleton and Bill Shafer to share inspiring stories of people making a difference and overcoming challenges. Its first feature-length documentary, Conquering Kilimanjaro, followed 16 cancer survivors and supporters – including former WESH TV news anchor Wendy Chioji – to the summit of the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.

Dr. Monroe’s story was also featured in Growing Bolder Magazine, which is distributed at Walgreens throughout Central Florida.

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