Nov. 22, 2017

Cutting-edge technology represents gold standard in clinical psychology training

New tools let students see their work translated into action

The University of Calgary Psychology Clinic officially opened yesterday thanks to a $3.5-million gift from retired psychologist Lori Egger, BA’87, MSc’90, PhD’94, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. CEO Steve Laut, BSc’79. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, the clinic will enhance the university’s teaching and learning activities, as well as its research capacity.

The technology within the clinic represents the gold standard in clinical psychology training, and includes features such as a recording system that allows supervisors to observe student performance in real time, even remotely, and provide instant feedback through talk-back features that don’t interrupt the session. This also allows students to review their therapy sessions afterward alongside their supervisor and analyze their own performance.

The clinic will also use an electronic health record and routine outcome-monitoring system, both of which have become industry standards in health care.

The new psychology clinic opened Nov. 21.

The new psychology clinic opened Nov. 21.

Riley Brandt

“One of the great things about this clinic is that students have the potential to see their research findings influence ongoing clinical practices in the clinic,” says clinic director Joshua Madsen. “It will enhance students' commitment to research careers because they’ll get to see their work translated into action.”

These tools represent the pinnacle of clinical psychology training, allowing the clinic to interweave superior clinical and research activities, providing the University of Calgary with the opportunity to offer the highest quality services to the Calgary community.

Information Technologies (IT) also played a large role in bringing this clinic to life. The collaboration included about 20 IT employees as well as 13 vendors, the Faculty of Arts IT team and University of Calgary Facilities. In addition to installing its cutting-edge technology, they worked diligently to ensure the security and privacy of the clinic and its patients by creating a special network infrastructure that included applying firewall rules and upgrading physical security.

Clinic will help move the needle on larger institutional goals

In addition to increased research opportunities, the clinic will also support big-picture UCalgary initiatives like the Brain and Mental Health Research Strategy and the Campus Mental Health Strategy.

“One of the great things about this clinic is that students have the potential to see their research findings influence ongoing clinical practices in the clinic,” says clinic director Joshua Madsen. “It will enhance students' commitment to research careers because they’ll get to see their work translated into action.”

“For the Department of Psychology, the Brain and Mental Health Strategy allowed us to create a vision of how we can conduct high-quality, world-leading research to contribute to the understanding of the human brain,” says David Hodgins, a professor in clinical psychology and the recipient of a Killam Annual Professorship Award. “Under the strategy’s umbrella, we’ve been able to increase our complement of faculty, which allows us to contribute to the university’s performance within this area. The clinic is a very important facility in allowing this to happen, and will help to pave the way for the high-quality work that is called for by the strategy.”

The clinic supports the Campus Mental Health Strategy by highlighting the importance of both mental and physical health on our campus and throughout the Calgary community. It will help to reduce barriers to accessible psychological assessment and appropriate care, ultimately promoting better health for all.

New opportunities made possible by alumni generosity

The University of Calgary Psychology Clinic was made possible thanks to the generosity of UCalgary alumni Lori Egger and Steve Laut. This gift contributes directly to Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High, a $1.3-billion fundraising initiative publicly launched by the university in April 2016. The campaign, which supports the institution’s strategic vision, is currently more than two-thirds of the way to its goal.