Big Year for Dr. Kenne

Dr. Deric Kenne

Congratulations to Dr. Deric Kenne, associate professor, and his team on receiving a 5-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The $1.5 million project, titled the Northeast Ohio Tri-County Prevention Infrastructure, is an effort that will work to prevent the onset and reduce the progression of alcohol and other drug use in individuals nine to 20 years of age in Geauga, Lake and Portage counties.

The project is a collaboration between Dr. Kenne’s Division of Mental Health and Substance Use in the College’s Center for Public Policy & Health and Dr. Ruoming Jin in the Department of Computer Science. The collaborative effort will develop a “Big Data” system to predict substance use trends and related issues with high accuracy using natural language processing models and machine learning. The project also partners with the ADAMHS Boards and Health Departments in each county and with Ohio’s Prevention Action Alliance to utilize the Big Data system to plan and implement substance abuse prevention activities.

Additionally, Dr. Kenne was also the recipient of the Change Maker in Mental Health Literacy award for the 2018-2019 academic year. Kognito, a leading health simulation technology company, recognizes a faculty or staff member who has gone above and beyond to support and advocate for mental health initiatives at their school.

According to the American College Health Association, 39 percent of college students nationwide felt so depressed it was difficult to function at least once during the school year. In response to this and health concerns about the rise in prevalence of stress and anxiety, many colleges and universities are proactively training faculty, staff and students on how to support at-risk students and motivate them to seek on-campus treatment services. During the 2018-2019 school year, Dr. Kenne’s team implemented Kognito's conversation simulation called At-Risk to improve the ability of faculty and staff to approach and assist students in psychological distress. More than 450 students, faculty and staff have been trained with Kognito between October 2018 and September 2019.

The 2019 Kognito Education Awards acknowledge the work of schools and individuals across higher education and K-12 who have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to supporting student mental health. Dr. Kenne received one of seven awards given in higher education that acknowledge best practices in the 2018-2019 school year. “We are so proud of Kent State University for their dedication and hard work to engage an exceptional number of people in mental health training,” said Brian Nido, director of client success at Kognito. “As we honor their efforts to impact their campus community, we hope that other schools can learn from their example and think about how they too can implement Kognito training on campus. Together we share the same goal, to continue to grow the reach of faculty, staff and students who feel confident and prepared to have conversations about mental health.” Kognito is a health simulation company whose evidence-based simulations harness the power of role-play conversations with virtual humans to improve social, emotional and physical health. Learn more about Kognito at

POSTED: Thursday, October 31, 2019 - 3:06pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 3:00pm