Congratulations to Sociology PhD student Miranda Craig Doff whose paper was selected as one of two 2016 winners of the Oriana Josseau Kalant Award. Awarded annually, the prize recognizes academic excellence in papers written by graduate students in courses that are part of the Collaborative Program in Addiction Studies (CoPAS). Sociology is one of ten participating graduate programs that come together to train graduate students in the various facets of addiction studies through CoPAS. Miranda received the award for a paper she wrote for one of the core CoPAS courses: Multidisciplinary Aspects of Addictions.
Miranda’s paper provided a review of the most recent literature addressing the minimum legal drinking age in Ontario. While most studies focus on morbidity and mortality in proximal circumstances (e.g., automobile accidents), Miranda’s paper calls for greater attention to investigating distal harm factors associated with young person alcohol consumption. As adolescents and young adults are more likely to engage in high-risk drinking behaviours and early onset drinking increases one’s chances of problematic use and dependence later in life, the re-evaluation of current policy is crucial in terms of addressing how to reduce alcohol-related harms and associated public health costs. In an attempt to reduce alcohol-related harms, renewed population-based policy debates regarding the efficacy of Minimum Legal Drinking Age legislation are underway in Ontario. These debates seek to answer the question: what is an appropriate age for young people to begin drinking?
Miranda is currently completing the first year of her doctoral studies and has specific interests in sexual victimization, trauma, addictions and the connections between mental health and crime and deviance studies. Although the topic and approach of this paper was dictated by the structure and requirements of the course, it relates tangentially to the Miranda’s broader research trajectory which she sees as including analyses of role of the voluntary alcohol and substance consumption in sexual assault incidents. She completed her Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree at the University of Toronto under the mentorship of Dr. Jooyoung Lee. She would like to the thank the Sociology Department at the U of T and Dr. Jooyoung Lee for their continued support, Bruna Brands and the CoPAS instructors, and Dr. Pat Erickson for encouraging her to pursue the collaborative program.
Miranda received the award at a ceremony on March 10th held at CAMH. Dr. Harold Kalant who, together with some friends, had established the prize to honour his late wife, personally presented the award to Miranda and her co-recipient. The award is a living testimony to Oriana Josseau Kalant’s enormous contribution to the field of addiction studies and her role as a trail blazer for women in academia.