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Press Release

Press Release

Lucero Memorial Run at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology a Success

Proceeds to go to MSPP’s Lucero Latino Mental Health Program

September 25, 2005—One hundred and twenty-seven runners arrived early on Sunday morning for the kickoff for MSPP’s Fourth Annual Dr. Cynthia Lucero Memorial Run and Walk. This year the event raised funds to help support the school’s new program designed to train psychologists—through immersion in the Spanish language and cultures—to care for Latinos.
Lucero Memorial 5k Run/Walk

In Memory of Dr. Cynthia LuceroInspiration for the race and the new Lucero Latino Mental Health Program comes from its namesake, Dr. Cynthia Lucero, a graduate of MSPP from Ecuador, who collapsed and later died running the 2002 Boston Marathon and whose career focused on the needs of Spanish speakers. Proceeds from this year’s race will be used for scholarship support.

Said Dr. Nicholas Covino: “Each year we have grown in our commitment to Cynthia’s legacy, and this year is no exception. This new training center will truly address many of the concerns closest to her heart.”

Launched on September 22, the MSPP Lucero Latino Mental Health Program seeks to fill an urgent need for Spanish- speaking psychologists, who understand the complex mental health needs of Latinos and the barriers to access, beginning with the fact that most providers fail to adequately understand the cultural influences on mental health and illness in this population.

“Even among Latinos who access mental health services, 50 percent never return after their first visit, most likely due to a lack of ‘cultural fit,’” according to Amaro Laria, PhD, director of MSPP’s Latino Mental Health Program.

While a handful of other psychology programs in the U.S. may focus on Latino needs, the Lucero Latino Mental Health Program is the first of its kind to promote Spanish fluency among students with an intermediate level of Spanish. The immersion program requires doctoral candidates to undergo two summers of intensive language study in Latin America, with four years of additional language support during the academic years, as well as at working at clinical sites that serve Latinos. Fluent Spanish speakers will also be exposed to the cultural mores and meanings of other Spanish countries.

The program seeks to remedy a glaring imbalance between the mental health needs of Latinos and the number of psychologists trained to address them. By 2050, it is estimated that one quarter of the country’s population will be Latino, yet only two percent of psychologists are equipped to treat them.

The program comes under the auspices of the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology’s Dr. Cynthia Lucero Center, which was founded by friends and family of Dr. Lucero. The center also sponsors lectures and scholarships in Dr. Lucero’s memory.

Lucero FamilyMembers of Dr. Lucero’s family and the young girl who was the recipient of Cynthia Lucero’s heart and her family participated in the race. Each year, the Lucero family makes the journey to Boston from their home in Ecuador. This run and the program that it supports bring considerable comfort to a family that has experienced an incalculable loss, according to Covino.

Race winners were:

For Males
Age: 13-19 -- Jonathan Najarian / Belmont
Age: 20-35-- David Pisacich / Boston
Age: 36-50 -- David Fleming / West Roxbury
Age: 51-65 -- Tom Whitney / Brookline

For Females
Age: 13-19--Rachel Bryan / Westboro
Age: 20-35--Kara Ryczek / Boston
Age: 36-50--Suzanne Wasserboehr / Natick
Age 51-65--Louise Brooks / Dedham

Updated 10/1/07

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