The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) has announced that Dr. Gira Bhatt has won this year’s CPA Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public or Community Service for her support of the South Asian community in Surrey, BC and her work to help curb youth gang involvement in the Metro Vancouver area.
This award is presented to a CPA member or Fellow who has made outstanding contributions in serving the public or a community through their knowledge and practical skills.
Dr. Bhatt is a psychology instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, as well as the lead investigator and director of the SSHRC-funded Community-University Research Alliance project: Prevention of youth violence & gang involvement. As lead of the project, Dr. Bhatt was instrumental in bringing together youth, their families, community organizations, law enforcement agencies, and researchers to address the growing issue of youth violence and involvement in criminal gangs.
Over the last six years, she and her team have worked to gain a deeper understanding of the risks that can lead to gang involvement and have applied that knowledge to create real change. They have worked with various stakeholders to evaluate gang prevention initiatives and to develop workshops, community events, videos and publications, including the brochure Gang Prevention: A Parent’s Quick Reference Guide, which was translated into more than 10 languages and distributed by the RCMP to every household in the city.
Dr. Bhatt’s sincere concern for public safety and youth and her passion for gang prevention were driving forces in the immense success of this project, which has been recognized though various awards and is now being shared with other Canadian communities.
Dr. Bhatt will receive her award at the CPA’s National Convention, taking place at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto, ON from June 8-10, 2017. The convention will be attended by nearly 1,800 researchers, practitioners, students, and policy makers from across the country and will feature presentations on a wide array of psychological topics.
Story by Stephanie Miksik, Communications Coordinator, CPA
About the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)
The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) is the national association for the science, practice, and education of psychology in Canada. With approximately 7,000 members and affiliates, CPA is Canada's largest association for psychology. For more information, visit www.cpa.ca.