Written by Spenser Henstock, Communications Intern

Congratulations to the Trauma and Addiction Concurrently Treated (T.A.C.T.) team for winning the 2020 Agnes Penner Prize for the Psychology 4696E class. The group created an idea which demonstrated the greatest potential for applied psychology to benefit society. Taught by King’s professor Dr. Marcie Penner, Psych 4694E is a full-year course for students to apply findings from their psychology research to solve real-world problems. “It’s a course that pushes you outside of your comfort zone, and growth comes from being outside of your comfort zone,” says Allie Verbeem, Psych 4694E student.

The T.A.C.T group created a best-practices document outlining a set of recommendations for trauma and substance-use treatment plans, to address a root cause of addiction. Four King’s Psychology students worked all year to create the winning project: Jack Wright, Third Year Honor Specialization in Psychology, Allie Verbeem, 4th year Double Major in Psychology and Disability Studies, Brandon Vecchiola, Third Year Honor Specialization in Psychology and a Major in English Language and Literature, and Aura Pop, Third Year Honor Specialization in Psychology.

“This [project] is very close to our group’s hearts, so it would mean a lot for this to take off especially in London. We are really hoping for big things,” says Aura Pop. T.A.C.T. will attempt to implement this program in London through partnering with the invited panelists: Scott Courtice, Vanessa Dolishny, Brandon Wilson, Brynn Roberts, and King’s alumni Dr. Nonie Brennan ‘84.

The Psychology for the Common Good—Creating Research-Based Applications class presented their year-long projects to the panel of experts over the video platform Zoom on March 25, 2020.  “Changing our PowerPoint presentation to Zoom gave us a unique opportunity to be adaptable and flexible as a team, and it may have made our presentation stronger,” says Verbeem.

Other projects in the presentation addressed issues of individuals after incarceration, and mental health promotion. CommUNITY, presented their project on a comprehensive, evidence-based system of modular, non-linear weekly support meetings for people returning to society from incarceration. Mental-health Accessibility Practices (M.A.P), presented their project which advocated for more resources, practitioners, and better distribution of funds towards mental health in Ontario.

This year’s recipients join the distinguished past award winners which include the 2015 winners who founded King’s K.A.M.P.

To learn more about King’s Psychology program, please visit https://www.kings.uwo.ca/academics/psychology/.