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Press Release

Press Release

Sunday, October 14, MSPP holds Sixth Annual 5K Lucero Memorial Run and Latino Leadership Breakfast

Hundreds to “finish” fallen marathon runner’s race and raise funds for Latino Mental Health Training Program at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

Boston (West Roxbury), MA—On Sunday, October 14, and for the sixth year in a row since her untimely death, hundreds will run/walk to remember and symbolically “finish the race” for Dr. Cynthia Lucero, the talented young psychologist who died during the 2002 Boston marathon, and to raise funds for her legacy. That legacy is training—through language and cultural immersion—to create culturally sensitive and linguistically competent psychologists to care for the fastest growing populations in the US.  Seven students have already experienced the first summer of immersion experience this year.

Preceding this year’s race, MSPP will also hold a special breakfast for educational, political and Latino leaders to discuss what is required to make mental health services truly accessible for Latinos and what MSPP is doing to facilitate that access.  Among the dignitaries attending the breakfast will be Representative Jamie Eldridge of     Acton; Representative Elizabeth Malia of Jamaica Plain; Senator Marian Walsh of West Roxbury; Former Senator Jarret Barrios, who is now President of Blue Cross/Blue Shield Foundation of Massachusetts; and Ali Noorani, Executive Director of MIRA. 

WHAT: Latino Leadership Breakfast and Dr. Cynthia Lucero Memorial 5K Run/Walk  

WHERE: MSPP, 221 Rivermoor Street, West Roxbury, MA

WHEN: Sunday, October 14, 2007
Breakfast starts at 8:30 am
Race Pre-Registration is 10 am
Race start time is 10:30 am

By 2050, it is estimated that one quarter of the country’s population will be Latino, yet only two percent of psychologists are really equipped to treat them.  The MSPP Lucero Latino Mental Health Training Program seeks to fill this urgent need for Spanish-speaking psychologists, who understand the complex mental health needs of Latinos and the barriers to access. “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,’” says Dr. Nicholas Covino, president of MSPP.

While a handful of other psychology programs in the U.S. may focus on Latino needs, the MSPP’s 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 clinical sites that serve Latinos in the US. The first class has already returned from their first immersion in Costa Rica and will be available to tell their stories at the two events on October 14.

Dr. Cynthia Lucero collapsed from hyponatremia while running the 2002 Boston Marathon, just 12 days before her twenty-eighth birthday. She devoted her life to helping others through her work and community service.  Shortly after her death, MSPP and Dr. Lucero’s family and friends founded the Dr. Cynthia Lucero Center, which eventually created the Latino Mental Health Training Program as one of its major projects.

Updated 10/11/07

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