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Dr. Stephen Hayes

Media Advisory/Press Release

Three New Programs Confer Degrees at MSPP Graduation on June 7, 2009

Sister Judith Brun, fierce mental health advocate for hurricane-traumatized children, is commencement speaker

May 29, 2009–Boston (West Roxbury, MA)—Sister Judith Brun, CSJ, who has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of thousands of families and children still suffering hurricane-induced trauma in Louisiana, will address the audience at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) Commencement on June 7.

Brun’s remarks will inspire not only 39 new doctors of clinical psychology, but also the first graduates of two new master’s degree programs-12 in organizational psychology and nine in counseling psychology. Her words will also reach ten recipients of the school’s first Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in School Psychology.

"As MSPP graduates students from three new degree programs, it moves another step forward to becoming a ‘college of psychology.’ MSPP's learning model that emphasizes experiential education allows these graduates to begin their professional lives with years of supervised work experience on their resumes,” says Dr. Nicholas Covino, president of MSPP.

He adds: "Sister Judith Brun is an inspirational community organizer, healer and teacher. She reminds us that the work is far from done in helping Katrina victims to recover from the trauma of that hurricane. If our 2009 grads begin their professional lives with a small percentage of her compassion, organizational skills and dedication to those in need, the world will be an extraordinarily better place. MSPP is honored to be able to recognize Sr. Judith and her work.”

What: MSPP's 2009 Commencement

When: Sunday, June 7, 2009, 1:00 pm

Where: Four Points Sheraton, Tiffany Ballroom (Directions)

Committed to community mental health and public service as a core part of its mission, MSPP chose Brun as keynote speaker because she has spent her entire life advocating for and caring for the underserved. That dedication is exemplified by her creation of the Community Initiatives Foundation (CIF) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is devoted to meeting the mental health needs of children who have experienced multiple and complex trauma, particularly through disasters such as hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Learn more at www.katrinaexhibit.org/commInitiatives.htm.

Prior to her advocacy for hurricane victims, she was the Initial Director for Advance Baton Rouge, an organization sponsored by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Regional Chamber of Commerce and 100 Black Men to promote systemic change in public education.

In addition to speaking that day, Brun will be one of three distinguished public servants to receive the school's honorary doctor of letters degree. Dr. Stephen D. Hayes, founding director of the Lynn Community Mental Health Service at the Lynn Community Health Center, and Dr. Mary Louise Sudders, the president of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, will also be accepting the degree.

According to Dr. Covino, the evolution of MSPP to train mental health professionals who can work in a variety of settings with a range of people in need fulfills its mission to become a "college of psychology.” "The art and science of psychology allows MSPP to train a diverse group of professionals to work in multiple contexts and serve multiple roles as mental health caregivers. In addition to the traditional work performed in consulting rooms, our graduates now will bring mental health expertise to classrooms, courtrooms, and boardrooms to serve children, adults and families with a variety of needs."

As with all programs of instruction at MSPP, these three new degree programs integrate rigorous academic training with closely supervised field experience from the start of the student's learning program. This allows close attention to be paid to the student's personal and professional growth. Further, the school's commitment to Social Responsibility brings culturally sensitive and invested professionals to serve the community.

The Master's in Counseling Psychology Program prepares its graduates to function as professional mental health counselors and help meet the need for clinicians to work with traditionally underserved and disenfranchised populations. "Our students are already making a difference in their fieldwork and in their service to the community, which for some has included volunteer work with children and families in West Roxbury and neighboring communities and in New Orleans with survivors of the Katrina disaster,” says Dr. Modesto Hevia, the program director.

The Master's Degree in Organizational Psychology is designed for professionals interested in using psychological skills and principles to improve the environment, increase productivity and enhance the lives of individuals in a modern, rapidly changing workplace. "This program instills a critical skill--the ability to understand human behavior in the context of how things get done in an organization," says Program Director Dr. Mariquita Mullan, who believes the MSPP MA in Organizational Psychology is the only area program that truly marries theory and practice in its curriculum.

The MSPP School Psychology Program trains students to apply expertise in education, human development, and personal-social relationships to promote the healthy development of children in educational settings where they spend most of their time, while also fostering the healthy functioning of families, schools, and communities. "We want our graduates to be able to provide a comprehensive range of services that ultimately promote positive educational outcomes for kids, including academic skills, success in the workplace, healthy emotional development, and personal well-being," says Dr. Bob Lichtenstein, director of the program.

Updated 6/2/09

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