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Media Advisory/Press Release

Hortensia Amaro, resident of Hyde Park, MA, to receive Honorary Doctorate from MSPP for her work to help the disenfranchised

June 12, 2012–Boston (West Roxbury), MA–Though based in academia, Dr. Hortensia Amaro’s heart and hands are never far from her singular mission of improving the lives of disenfranchised people. That is why the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology is presenting her with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at its 2012 Commencement on June 3, 2012, at the Park Plaza in Boston, MA. She will join three other honorees, including the Honorable Thomas Menino, Mayor of Boston; Richard (Rif) Freedman; and Dr. David Satcher, the 16th Surgeon General of the United States.

“Hortensia Amaro personifies the values that our school embraces, and her mission is our mission,” says Dr. Nicholas Covino, of MSPP’s decision to give Amaro this honor. MSPP is an independent graduate school of psychology, which is dedicated to training mental health providers who can meet the needs diverse populations.

A resident of Hyde Park, MA, Amaro is currently associate dean of the Bouve′ College of Health Sciences, a Distinguished Professor of Health Science and of Counseling Psychology and the director of the Institute on Urban Health Research.

According to Amaro, “I am humbled and honored to receive this recognition by MSPP. It is particularly meaningful as I have long admired MSPP’s mission and commitment to underserved populations and to training of the highest caliber clinicians.”

Amaro’s research, published in more than 130 peer-reviewed papers, examines, among other issues, substance use in adolescent girls, HIV/AIDS prevention, and drug abuse treatment for Latina and African-American women. Her aim is always to translate scientific findings into sustainable services in community-based settings. Her groundbreaking studies on women with co-occurring drug addiction, mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder, provide strong support for integrated treatment for these conditions.

The importance that Amaro places on the translation of research to practice is evident in the numerous substance abuse treatment programs that she established in Boston and through which thousands of women, men and children have benefited, according to Covino.

Her article “Love, Sex and Power” published in American Psychologist, was a signal contribution to the field of HIV prevention for women and earned the 1996 Scientific Publication Award from the National Association of Women in Psychology. In 2010, in recognition of her impact, she was elected to the Institute of Medicine, for which she has served on five major health studies committees.

Born in Cuba and raised in Los Angeles, Amaro feels her immigrant beginnings and the women she studies are her inspiration.

Earning her PhD in Psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles, she also holds an Honorary Doctorate from Simmons College.

In recent years, she has been named one of the top 100 most influential Hispanics in the United States by the Hispanic Business Journal, and she has received numerous awards, including the MSPP Mental Health Humanitarian Award. Dr. Amaro will assume a new position this fall at The University of Southern California as Associate Vice Provost for Community Research Initiatives and Dean’s Professor of Social Work and Preventive Medicine.

About MSPP—Founded in 1974 as an independent graduate school of psychology, MSPP provides unique training programs for mental health professionals at the doctoral, master's and certificate level, each designed to immerse students in both academic study and real-life clinical experience. Constantly assessing and evolving to meet the needs of the needs of a rapidly changing and increasingly diverse society, MSPP currently offers programs to train highly skilled professionals to care for Latinos, veterans, children and adolescents and families in a variety of settings, including the schools, the courts, the community and the workplace, among others.

Updated 6/25/12

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