Psychology presents DeCoteau-Kwant with Distinguished Alumni Award

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College of Arts & Sciences


University of North Dakota alumna Tami DeCoteau-Kwant, a clinical psychologist and an expert in cross-cultural considerations involving American Indians and psychology, was given a Distinguished Alumni Award by the Department of Psychology on Friday, Nov. 13 for her advocacy and dedication.

DeCoteau-Kwant was visiting UND to deliver a lecture on "culturally competent" practices in addressing historical trauma as part of an event hosted by the ND SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment project) and the Indians into Psychology Doctoral Education (INPSYDE) program. Following her lecture, she was recognized with the alumni award at a surprise ceremony.

During the ceremony, Doug McDonald, a UND professor of psychology and director of the INPSYDE program, presented DeCoteau-Kwant with a traditional American Indian "star quilt."

McDonald was DeCoteau-Kwant's advisor and mentor when she was an undergraduate at UND. He said that even then DeCoteau-Kwant was active when it came to helping communities cope with challenges.

McDonald recalled that Decoteau-Kwant was a member of a UND-led disaster mental health response team responding to the Red River Flood of 1997. And following her graduate training, he said that she established and expanded several frontier, reservation-focused pre-doctoral internship programs that emphasized reservation trauma assessment and treatment.

"She has also advocated tirelessly at the tribal, state, regional and national levels for increasing behavioral health resources for trauma survivors and their families," McDonald said.

Currently, DeCoteau-Kwant serves as a consultant in culturally responsive practice for the ND SBIRT, and is the owner of Trauma-Informed Care & Practice in Bismarck. Her services address trauma-related issues by promoting client safety, dignity and privacy. She has given numerous lectures on cross-cultural considerations for working with Native American patients.

DeCoteau-Kwant is an enrolled member of the Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation and a long-standing member of the American Psychological Association. She is a 1998 graduate of UND, and earned her Ph.D., in Psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.