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Dr. Stephen Hayes

Media Advisory/Press Release

Despite Downpour, Spirits Remained High at Eighth Annual 5K Lucero Memorial Race at MSPP in West Roxbury

September 28, 2009–Boston (West Roxbury, MA)—Torrential rain did not deter 129 runners and walkers from “finishing the race” for Dr. Cynthia Lucero, the talented young psychologist—who died during the 2002 Boston marathon—to raise funds for her legacy on September 27. That legacy is training—through language and cultural immersion—culturally sensitive and linguistically competent psychologists (in Spanish) to care for Latinos, the fastest growing segment of the US population. Proceeds of the race will go to scholarships for eligible students.

And the winners were—Daniel Moore and Patrica Brownell, both of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Lucero, who had devoted her life to helping others through her work and community service, collapsed from hyponatremia, an electrolyte disturbance of salts in the blood, during the 2002 Boston Marathon. A native of Ecuador, Lucero had completed her doctoral project for MSPP the night before the marathon, and was 12 days shy of her 28th birthday at her death. As always, Lucero’s family participated in the race.

The Dr. Cynthia Lucero Center, founded shortly after her death by the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and Lucero’s family and friends, created MSPP's Lucero Latino Mental Health Training Program as one of its major projects. MSPP will graduate its first class of graduates from the Latino Mental Health program in June 2010. The program has grown from five to 32 students since its inception.

Estimates are that by the year 2050, one-fourth of the US population will be Latino. Yet, only two percent of psychologists are 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,’” said Dr. Nicholas Covino, president of MSPP.

A handful of psychology programs in the US focus on Latino needs, but 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 training program requires doctoral and masters’ candidates to undergo two summers of intensive language study in Latin America, additional language support during the academic years and to complete clinical field training in sites that serve Latinos in the US.

Updated 9/29/09

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