MSPPRapport - Annual Report Edition
A publication of the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Board Chair Passionate About MSPP Mission
KERRY HAMILTON is fascinated by people. She’s interested in human potential and in helping people overcome whatever obstacles keep them from making a difference in the world. How do people think? What’s obstructing their accomplishing what they want to do with their lives? What’s in the way? After 30 years at the top of the corporate marketing world, Hamilton, now certified as an Executive Coach and focusing on leadership, joined the Board of MSPP in 2006 and felt passionate about the mission immediately. “It’s such important work,” she says, “serving the underserved. MSPP is a hidden gem.” With her proven record of marketing expertise, Hamilton, who loves building community around common goals, was elected to serve as MSPP Board Chair this past spring.
“The vision is clear,” she says. “We will grow the school, grow the programs, move to a new facility and raise the profile. I see everything leading to this destination.” Hamilton understands how bringing the right people together, maintaining everyone’s focus and helping move MSPP on to this next phase—and its next address—is consistent with her own values and her own leadership skills. “MSPP’s goals are aligned with how I think about the world,” she acknowledges. “I’m a leadership coach and this is a great time to be leading the Board of MSPP. I believe our future has so much promise.”
Hamilton is busy working with the Board of Trustees to identify appropriate candidate nominees for Board membership. The Board is seeking people of influence, people who add to the board’s diversity, people who will appreciate and be ardent advocates for MSPP’s mission and vision, and people with philanthropic capacity. “There’s a way of being here that I highly value,” she says, “people are good to each other, supportive, encouraging. It’s a healthy culture and I want us to bring new people to the Board who will not only respect and perpetuate that culture, but also bring their talents to MSPP to help build its exciting future.” Kerry thinks of a time in the next couple of years when she is able to look back with her Board colleagues and say, “We were part of making great things happen.”
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President Urges Imperative of Philanthropy
I AM HAPPY TO REPORT on our stimulating, financially sound and socially responsible learning community at MSPP. The expertise of the faculty, the evolving academic programs and electives, the commitment to social responsibility and caring for the underserved through our more than 200 Field Sites, and maintaining a rigorous academic learning environment have brought MSPP to a new level of recognition and sophistication. From this position, the school is ready to move ahead both programmatically and physically.
It’s time to acquire a new campus and a facility that matches the dignity of the work and the people who constitute MSPP. We plan to relocate by the fall of 2013.
The site at 221 Rivermoor has served the school well for fifteen years. However, it is now too small for our programs and far less prestigious than our faculty and students deserve. When we host meetings and conferences with leaders in the state and welcome colleagues from across the country and internationally we are doing it in an inadequate space. Our facilities must accommodate our needs, reflect who we are and who our students aspire to be. Acquiring a new campus is now among our highest priorities.
I know that you have been following the emergence of our College of Psychology. This year, our numbers will eclipse 550 students in nine degree programs. A new doctoral program in Leadership Psychology and a Masters in Primary Care Mental Health will add to our continued growth. This year, the school received a contract from the state to Train Vets to Treat Vets℠ and our Lucero program boasts 45 students and eight Spanish-speaking faculty and staff. As we have grown in number, our quality and national appeal has progressed, and we have also been able to do the right thing by our faculty and staff with regard to salaries, retirement, health care coverage and other benefits. Financial support from individuals and foundations has allowed us to keep tuition costs at the median level for professional schools and to offer scholarship support for self-identified minority applicants and those who will work with underserved populations.
The new campus project will be the catalyst that compels us to change our whole approach to development here at MSPP. Private philanthropic support, in the coming years, will play a significant role enhancing our income streams and enabling us to grow. As we continue to expand, I want to keep MSPP affordable and to increase scholarships to attract and to support veterans, Spanish-speakers and talented individuals who will serve people in need.
MSPP donors have been very generous in support of our work and development, but we need to engage new individuals and foundations to raise the $1 million in unrestricted support that we need each year to support what we do. During the next year, I will be out in the community more, speaking with people about MSPP and working to raise the financial support to purchase a more appropriate facility and to continue to expand our scholarship possibilities and our distinctive programs. I welcome the opportunity to talk about our advancement plans with you in person or in a small group. I would be most appreciative of learning about any family or individual whom you think might be able to join us in moving our mission forward. I am proud of the work that our graduates are doing in the community and I see our expansion as adding to the value and stability of an MSPP degree. I hope that you do as well.
Enjoy the people and news in this newly redesigned MSPP rapport.
Nicholas A. Covino, President
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It is estimated that the Freedman Center served 2,744 children, parents, educators and families last year through its four key initiatives:
Onsite parenting support groups for new parents as well as parents of teenagers and children’s play groups;
Primary Project, an evidence- based intervention and prevention program that provides help to at-risk elementary school students while training future school psychologists;
Training, education and consultation services to Greater Boston schools and community agencies on the prevention of mental health disorders;
INTERFACE℠, a unique information and referral service which connects families to appropriate and affordable providers and coaches them throughout the process.
Freedman Center: New Clinical Doctoral Training Site
DID YOU KNOW that 60% of children in need of mental health services fail to receive them?
In 2006, in response to this critical need, MSPP established the Richard and Joan Freedman Center for Child and Family Development thanks to the generosity a Trustee Richard Freedman and his wife Joan. Incorporating a long-term parenting support organization called “WarmLines,” the Freedman Center, which is located in Newton, now offers an array of prevention services, workshops and mental health resources to parents, educators and professionals throughout Massachusetts. This fall, the Freedman Center became an MSPP clinical doctoral training field site.
Nadja Reilly, PhD, (pictured above left), the former Director of the Swensrud Depression Prevention Initiative at Children’s Hospital in Boston, was recently named the Freedman Center’s Associate Director. Says Reilly, “prevention, early identification and intervention are our primary goals when it comes to children’s and adolescents’ mental health.” Reilly is providing workshops and consultations on mental health and wellness to area professionals, community programs and schools, as well as teaching MSPP students in the Clinical PsyD program and the Lucero Latino Mental Health Program.
Freedman Center Executive Director Margaret Hannah, MEd, says, “the depth of Nadja’s experience, knowledge and credentials make her the perfect clinical supervisor for PsyD candidates. The Freedman Center addresses prevention from birth to age 18, and we want our doctoral students to participate in this full spectrum of the Center’s services. We are so pleased to have Dr. Reilly here at the Freedman Center.”
Melissa Moses, a 3rd year doctoral candidate who spends two afternoons a week at the Center as an MSPP work-study student, says, “I have learned so much about the needs of families and children and the kinds of resources available and not available to them. I am also grateful for the empowering supervision I have received from Margaret and Nadja and the other staff.”
As the Freedman Center continues to evolve, its ability to reach more families and children and to train professionals is limited only by funding, according to Hannah. “Private contributions to the Center’s operating budget would help expand INTERFACE℠ to more towns and provide Primary Project to more schools. For someone interested in helping kids, this might be a perfect opportunity to make a real difference,” she says.
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Philanthropy in Action—Bob Anthony Supports the Freedman Center
ROBERT (BOB) ANTHONY LIKES TO FIX THINGS. Not broken pipes or transmissions, particularly, but human problems, ones where a solution can change a life, especially a child’s. Toward that end, this former business executive and high tech guru launched a non-profit called Adolescent Wellness, Inc. He wants to make mental health resources easier for parents, adolescents, teachers, community leaders, clergy and physicians to locate, refer people to, and use. “It feels great every time I hear of self-referral, the immediate measure that mental illness can be treated earlier and, for some, prevented. Better performance in school and enjoyment of life will happen for each young person who learns how to balance the weight of life’s worries with the relief of skills and knowledge.” Bob wishes his own depression had been diagnosed earlier than at age 50. He’d like to see more young people get the help they need before small problems become serious illnesses—“to address concerns before they become urgent,” he says.
Bob’s personal and very generous gift to MSPP is designated to its Freedman Center, to increase their overall capacity. “I want to reduce the incidence and the impact of depression, anxiety and substance abuse,” he says about his gift. “I want to open possibilities for more non-clinicians to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of depression, to use MSPP’s assisted referral INTERFACE℠ service at the Freedman Center, to participate in workshops and to help raise awareness and understanding.”
“My gift to MSPP and the Freedman Center is part of my strategy for reaching children from about age 10 and up. There is so much guilt, shame and stigma around mental health issues. The Freedman Center can help children and the adults who care for them get access to good care early.
“MSPP has practical solutions to really hard problems. I’d like to see others give generously so their solutions can be expanded. I have tremendous respect for MSPP. It’s a good investment,” says Anthony.
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Brenner Center Enriches MSPP Mission of Service and Training
LIONEL S. JOSEPH PsyD and SAM MONCATA PsyD, can practically finish each other’s sentences. Their common passions, intense commitments and complementary skills fuel MSPP’s Dr. Leon O. Brenner Center and assure quality service to the underserved and quality training to doctoral students, interns and post-doctoral fellows. Their work, they both insist, nurtures them personally and professionally.
The Brenner Center for Psychological Assessment and Consultation provides comprehensive psychological assessments that address learning and adjustment problems for children, adolescents and adults. Without jargon, but in multiple languages and cultural sensitivities, and with follow-up and advocacy to ensure that recommendations are implemented, the skilled staff provides schools, individuals, families, therapists, employers and pediatricians with client-centered reports that have changed lives. It may sound like hyperbole, but it’s not.
Take, for example, the story of the 20-year-old daughter who was behaving like a 4-year-old, and who had been diagnosed, as a child, as schizophrenic. After the call from concerned parents, followed by careful testing and at-home assessment, the multiple well-trained eyes of a team of Brenner pros discovered that the young woman had a kind of autism, not schizophrenia. For many years, her misdiagnosis had her being treated for an illness she didn’t have and not treated with what she needed. “Assessment,” says Moncata, “is like an x-ray that provides cognitive, social and emotional data so that any developmental delays, for example, are better understood. Testing informs treatment and intervention and good practice.” Moncata says that testing and assessments are far more commonly embraced now and are able to reveal what talking therapy alone cannot always uncover.
When the call came from a Mother Superior about a young woman’s potential to fulfill her dream of becoming a nun, a Brenner team ran a battery of tests in Creole and revealed the young Caribbean woman’s capacity to continue her training. There’s also the young boy who was disruptive and oppositional in school who, it was learned through careful observation and testing, was gifted and bored. Today, his teachers are singing his praises and he is no longer stigmatized as a “bad boy” in school. Severely disturbed children from the Italian Home are often referred, as are those from multiple other sites where traumatized children are cared for.
“We’re so often in awe of how resilient children can be.” says Moncata, “You can feel their trauma and feel amazed they haven’t lost hope.” According to Joseph, “Trauma cuts across all cultures and pervades so many children’s lives.” They’ve seen refugee children, like those who survived the bloodshed in Cambodia during the Pol Pot regime. With a special skill for helping children, caregivers and teachers focus on each child’s strengths, not deficits. The Center handles in the range of 160 referrals annually.
Joseph talks about the rewards to both seasoned professionals and younger doctoral students of doing this work. “We are increasingly sought out as an internship of choice,” he says. “And our students often volunteer extra time just to assure the high quality of care here.” Moncata refers to their training as “passing the baton to the next generation.” He notes that breaking tough news to parents is a delicate, highly sensitive skill their students learn as they simultaneously develop talents for helping tease out what will work best in each situation.
Leon O. Brenner, one of MSPP’s founders and faculty members, would be proud. He dedicated his career to community service and clinical training. The family’s desire to create a memorial to him has had an untold impact on the lives of countless individuals, both clients and trainees alike. Consistent with Brenner’s commitment to caring for the underserved, Joseph (left above) and Moncata hope for additional private philanthropic support to enable them to grow the Center and offer even more of their services pro bono
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MSPP Partners with Teachers21 at Conference Promoting Social-Emotional Learning in K-12
MSPP’S COMMITMENT to meeting the needs of children and families on a broad scale is reflected in a new collaboration with Teachers21, a public policy and advocacy organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap and to increasing social and emotional learning (SEL) in public schools.
A widespread concern among educators and school mental health professionals is that, in its emphasis on academic achievement, K-12 education has lost sight of the social and emotional health as an essential part of a child’s well-being as well as a major contributor to academic success. School psychologist and MSPP faculty member Craig Murphy, PhD, describes social and emotional health as “a child’s ability to regulate his or her emotions and behaviors, utilize effective problem-solving skills and demonstrate pro-social and cooperative behaviors.”
To increase awareness of and commitment to SEL among educators and to illustrate the connection between SEL and learning, Murphy represented MSPP in a partnership with Teachers21 and 30 other educational advocacy organizations at a day-long conference at MSPP on November 18, 2011. “Our hope is that conference participants heard and were inspired by keynote speaker Roger Weisberg, PhD, an international expert in SEL, and discussed practical ways to implement programs in their schools,” says Murphy.
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Recent MSPP graduate Elizabeth Barcewicz, PsyD and Robert Kinscherff, PhD
ROBERT KINSCHERFF, PhD looks more like a guy out to check on his organic strawberries than anything like a Harvard Law School graduate. He says he was “genetically engineered” to go to law school, following a long line of his mother’s Scottish ancestors who produced lawyers in each generation. But that’s not all. He also has a PhD in Clinical Psychology, an MA in Philosophy and a BA in Political Science. Suffice it to say, this is a man interested in perpetual learning and exploring new ideas. Among his primary interests are understanding troubled young people and their families and the mental health and juvenile justice systems that exist to serve them. He keeps a focus on youth and families who are or may become court-involved in delinquency or child abuse cases.
Kinscherff has been teaching at MSPP since 1999 but joined the faculty full time in April 2010. His list of appointments, awards, honors, memberships, publications and responsibilities over the last 20 years requires a small forklift and a long afternoon to read. He is one of the stars of the MSPP teaching staff, whose numbers create a dazzling constellation. Kinscherff’s commitment to MSPP’s experiential learning model is powerful, as is his passion for making changes in the systems that touch young, troubled lives.
As the Director of Forensic Studies, he has oversight and program development responsibilities for the Forensic Concentration in the Clinical Doctoral program as well as of the Master’s Program in Forensic Psychology and Counseling. He is also the Director of an exciting new Clinical Doctoral Concentration: Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience. This concentration will focus on providing doctoral students with the clinical, consultation and “systems” skills required to meet the needs of underserved and disenfranchised youth and families who do not readily access existing systems of care or achieve optimal benefit from more traditional mental health interventions. “I want our students to have a tool kit to work in non-traditional ways. What can their skills as psychologists bring to the table to offer an added value to these high-risk children and families?” The answer, he says, “is that a well-trained psychologist brings not only clinical skills but critical skills in advocacy, systems analysis, program development and evaluation—skills that may not be central to or integrated with clinical training in graduate school training elsewhere.” Kinscherff holds that “kids in the child welfare and juvenile justice system have resiliencies—despite their difficulties, they have typically survived adversities and our students learn how to identify and support these strengths to build on them.”
Lael Chester, Director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice (CfJJ), an independent nonprofit that began as a voice for a separate system of justice for children is “totally supportive” of Kinscherff’s approach. “Psychologists, she says, “have special expertise they can and should share with statewide stakeholders to make improvements in the system. You can’t take the structure for granted and just accept it as it is.” When a vulnerable child enters the juvenile justice system—especially a child with a learning disability who also comes from failed schools, has had a tough childhood, has no one to advocate for him or her and no financial resources— the focus may be exclusively on punishment, safety and incarceration instead of rehabilitation services or treatment programs. Chester’s organization strives to assure kids get what is best for them. When MSPP recent graduate Elizabeth Barcewicz was placed at CfJJ and supervised by Chester, she researched and evaluated neighboring state systems to look at their design and their approach to children. Says Liz, “it was an invaluable experience and reflects MSPP’s commitment to putting students into realistic situations to learn. I gained so much insight into various systems for working with underserved populations. Classroom academics, regardless of how rigorous, could never have given me that kind of exposure.”
Chester concurs, “I’m a big proponent of this educational approach. It takes the richness and in-depth learning that happens in a classroom and adds the exposure to what happens in real life. I think it’s the ultimate educational model.”
“I love this work,” says Kinscherff. “I’ll continue to collaborate with my colleague Linda Daniels, PsyD, the Director of the Forensic Concentration, to make it more visible nationally. This work is not for everyone, but our students’ commitment is striking. They’ll make extraordinary contributions in their careers.”
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A Center for Children, Families, and the Law
ROBIN DEUTSCH, PhD, is passionate about teaching, the well-being of children, and a belief that child development research and principles should inform the way the courts deal with families and children. Those commitments are reflected in her recent appointment as Director of the new MSPP Center of Excellence for Children, Families and the Law.
Deutsch has spent the past 19 years directing Forensic Services of the Children and the Law Program at MGH. There, she evaluated hundreds of custody and other family law cases and developed hundreds of plans to protect children and guide parents.
An international expert and expert witness in issues related to high conflict divorce and child development, she also co-authored the book Seven Things Your Teenager Won’t Tell You: and How to Talk about Them Anyway, in addition to many articles and papers.
“Hosting conferences to update judges, attorneys and mental health professionals on current thinking and the latest treatments to help them render wise decision in cases involving children and families is the kind of programming we hope the Center will present,” Deutsch says. Still in the early planning stages, Deutsch sees the Center as focusing primarily on divorce, family conflict and violence, child maltreatment, juvenile justice and special educational advocacy.
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MSPP Alumnus Ed Zadravec, PsyD and Rachel Paster, 3rd year Clinical Doctoral student
Since its founding, MSPP has been dedicated to providing students with a unique educational experience that features a rigorous academic program coupled with an intensive supervised clinical experience beginning in the first year and continuing until graduation. Graduates leave MSPP well prepared for the working world and the multiple challenges of being a mental health professional in a variety of environments.
Shellee Robbins, PhD, is the Director of Field Education and the engine behind MSPP’s dynamic field placement office and its commitment to “learning by doing.” She and her colleagues in the Department of Field Education—Director of Training Randi Dorn, EdD, who works with Clinical Psychology doctoral students, Associate Director of Field Education Jeffrey Napolitano, PhD, who works with students in the Counseling Psychology program, and Assistant to the Director of Field Education, Cheryl MacDonald—identify training sites, develop relationships, steward and nurture them, and maintain an ongoing and vigilant focus on quality assurance. The team is dedicated to making sure each MSPP grad student is getting the most out of her/his placement and that it reinforces and elaborates work in the classroom. Always upgrading and improving the quality of training sites available, Robbins’ office develops approximately 75 new sites a year, from Rhode Island to Maine.
At more than 250 inpatient and partial hospital settings, outpatient clinics, court clinics, jails, prisons, college counseling centers, public schools, therapeutic schools, for profit and not for profit organizations, MSPP students know the Field Education Department has done the due diligence that will guarantee they get the best possible on-site supervision and practical, real life experience. “We have great students,” Robbins says, “who make an enormous commitment to graduate school, to demanding coursework and to giving countless hours of service to the community. I have tremendous respect for them, and love helping mentor them and guiding them in their personal and professional growth.” Robbins and her team spend many hours helping students with their field site applications, resumes and interview preparations.
The Field Education Department is proud to support new MSPP initiatives. “Ours is a dynamic function, always being refreshed and reinvigorated,” explains Robbins. “As MSPP continues to grow and develop, so does the need for new sites to complement each program. Latino Mental Health, Vets Treating Vets, Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience are some new initiatives that require additional placement opportunities.”
The voices of MSPP students and their supervisors reflect the intensity of their experiences and the value of their work—to their training and to their communities.
Herlinda Tin, 2nd year Counseling student and
Alexandra Maestre, 2nd year Forensic student
Students Alexandra Maestre and Herlinda Tin enhanced their skills, their confidence and their professional identities at the Latin American Health Institute (LHI) in Boston’s South End last year. “At the end of the year, I was more certain than ever about my life’s work and more open to working with different populations,” said Maestre, a 2nd year Forensic student who grew up in Puerto Rico. At LHI, where Latinos and other minorities receive social, health and mental health services, Maestre and Tin worked with young men dealing with substance abuse and trauma. Tin is a 2nd year Counseling student with a concentration in Latino Mental Health.
Supervision at this field placement site made all the difference. Maestre has high praise for the support and guidance she received from Tomas Serrano, her clinical supervisor. “He really helped me understand why people become addicted, the role of trauma in substance abuse, and why people continue to abuse even knowing how destructive it is,” says Maestre. Serrano understands the “balancing act” of good supervision.
“It’s important to know when to rescue a student and when not to, because students have to learn to deal with unexpected situations with clients. You also have to know when the time is right to offer guidance,” says Serrano. According to Tin’s supervisor, Erika Lally, “I saw Herlinda in each phase of growth, learning about herself as an individual and as a therapist. Then I watched her land on her feet and become more sure of herself as someone who could help her clients.”
MSPP students in the Master’s degree program in Organizational Psychology have been gaining invaluable experience in Greater Boston organizations committed to leadership and organization development. Last year, Christina Wyman, a recent Organizational Psychology graduate, did her practicum at Genzyme, guided by David Cory, her supervisor.
“What I was reading about at MSPP was happening in front of my eyes at Genzyme and David was able to show me how the theories and change models could work in our environment,” says Wyman.
At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), recent Organizational Psychology graduate Kelvin Wong was learning from Joan Simpkins, an Organizational Development Specialist. “Kelvin became very engaged in the work of the team, sharing his ideas and resources with us,” says Simpkins. Passionate about helping people find work/life balance, Wong felt that BIDMC was the perfect practicum for him. “This is one of the best hospitals in the US and one of the only hospitals with a dedicated organizational development function,” he says.
At the South End offices of Wediko School-based Services, the entire staff, including doctoral interns from MSPP, gathers weekly to share positive stories about their work. For 3rd year Clinical Doctoral student Rachel Paster, “it is a time to restore our energy and renew our commitment to the work we do with kids and families, which can be quite intense.” Last year, Paster worked four days a week and carried 14 cases, including children, adolescents and families. Paster has a concentration in MSPP’s Latino Mental Health Program (LMHP).
Paster had three supervisors, including the Associate Director of Wediko, Ed Zadravec, PsyD, an MSPP alumnus. Zadravec, who supervises family therapy, believes the benefits of the MSPP relationship are mutual. “We are the beneficiaries of the training that these students have had in other practicum experiences and in the classroom. It was very clear from the beginning that Rachel had the warmth and ability to form instant interpersonal connections, a skill that is so essential in this field,” he says, adding that her ability to communicate with Latino parents in Spanish has made an enormous difference.”
Robbins hopes the number of MSPP alums who supervise students will continue to grow. “They have an incomparable understanding of the value of on-site placement and are superb supervisors. We can be very proud of the thousands of hours of free service our students and our alums are providing,” she says. “This cycle reflects MSPP’s commitment to professional development, experiential learning and social justice. I’m very proud of what we do here
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New Provost Dan King: Another Ardent Advocate for MSPP Mission of Service
Dan King, EdD, is the new Provost at MSPP—“the best job” he’s ever had. General enthusiasm for MSPP’s mission of service is powerful, contagious and growing. Its commitment to combining rigorous classroom instruction with continuous on-site field experience, its focus on training professionals to care for those the mental health system has marginalized, such as children, veterans and minorities and its close attention to the personal and professional development of every student distinguishes MSPP and was irresistible to Dan King, who accepted the position of Vice President for Academic Affairs in 2009 and of Provost in 2011.
“We’re doing very important work here,” King says proudly. “Plus, the faculty is very special; they practice as well as teach. The experiential education model is superb and our students come with a sense of passion for making America a more mentally healthy society.” He credits the students, the faculty and President Nicholas Covino with the infusion of mission and purpose at MSPP.
King has held a variety of top leadership positions in higher education across the Midwest and the Northeast, and has written extensively on Higher Education management. In 1999 the American Council on Education awarded him the prestigious distinction of ACE Fellow and in 2007 he was presented with the American Association of University Administrators Distinguished Administrator Service Award. In his office overlooking the fall foliage along the Charles River, King’s relaxed manner and smile belie his lengthy list of accomplishments, honors and publications.
“Our challenge now is attracting a more diverse faculty and student body,” he says. “Not because everyone is talking about doing this, but because we live in a more diverse society than ever and that is our client base. Our graduates should reflect the society they are going to serve.” That’s where private philanthropic support comes in. With a larger pool of financial aid, MSPP’s distinctive qualities will attract the diversity of students and faculty required to fulfill its mission of serving all those in need of mental health care.
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Students Honor Ecker with “Excellence in Teaching Award”
BRUCE ECKER, PhD, says he felt, “surprised, appreciated and honored,” to receive the tremendous endorsement of MSPP students, awarded at the 2011 Graduation ceremony this past spring. Given the affection and respect Ecker has long inspired, few share his surprise. A clinical and school psychologist for 25 years, treating patients from ages 2 to 22, Ecker works with both Masters and Doctoral students in the School Psychology and Clinical Psychology programs at MSPP. “Over the past four years I have seen my students more worried about finding a job when they complete their studies,” he says. He urges his students to make a statement with the choices they make vocationally, and that their choices should be consistent with their true goals.
Ecker’s interest in psychology began years ago when he was a camp counselor during his teen-age years. “I had some luck with really troubled kids who responded to me because I probably had a talent for listening to them and working with them. My reward came with the knowledge that they had a successful experience, and that kids who others saw as distant and troubled had blossomed, learned much and had fun,” he says. Evidently, his MSPP graduate students are also learning much and having fun.
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Gregory Charts Course for Organizational & Leadership Psychology
ERIK GREGORY, PhD, has joined MSPP as the Director of the Organizational and Leadership Psychology Department, which offers a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology, a Certificate program in Executive Coaching and will soon launch a Doctoral degree program in Leadership Psychology.
“Any living organism that can adapt to great loss and change is more likely to survive than one that remains inflexible. Leaders who understand this Darwinian principle can help their organizations weather storms and continue to prosper and grow,” says Gregory, “and by organization I mean any group gathered together for a common purpose, including families, communities, corporations, states and countries.”
With an MA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where he was also a distinguished Fellow, and a PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Gregory has brought his understanding of human courage, optimism, and resiliency to his clinical work with cancer patients, entertainers and refugees. Today, he is dedicated to enhancing the quality of leadership in a world overwhelmed by economic, political and environmental changes and challenges.
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Contreras Honored for Her Work with Human Trafficking Survivors
AN MSPP 4th YEAR PSYD STUDENT, Michelle Contreras was honored as MSPP’s first Stephen Hayes Community Service Award winner at the annual gala in April. The honor comes for her extensive work with Latinos with severe mental health issues, victims of human trafficking and her commitment to educating other health providers both here and in her native Guatemala around these trauma related issues.
When Contreras came to this country, she worked at the Latin American Health Institute in Boston where she interacted with patients and immigration services. This experience sparked her commitment to the multiple issues around the immigration of Latin Americans to the U.S. In 2006, she was invited to become a consultant of Project Reach, a Trauma Center/JRI program providing nationwide services to victims of human trafficking.
Now in an American Psychological Association (APA) internship program in the adult acute services track at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, Contreras has broadened her professional training and been exposed to work with more acutely ill patients. Beyond direct service, she plans to continue working on developing intervention models to strengthen international collaborations addressing the issue of human trafficking between the U.S. and Latin America, which is also the central topic of her doctoral dissertation.
“We are finally realizing that addressing the issue of human trafficking will require a multidisciplinary approach, and that includes the participation of psychologists,” she says.
As chairperson of the APA’s Society for the Psychology of Women’s Task Force on the Feminist Perspectives on the Trafficking of Women, Contreras recently co-produced an educational film with the Division's President, Thema Bryant-Davis, PhD, called The Psychology of Modern Day Slavery. She hopes the film will be useful for classroom instruction on the issue of human trafficking and to educate the public about this crime.
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Stewart Cohen Praises MSPP: Wrapped in Social Purpose
Like many newcomers to MSPP’s volunteer leadership, Stewart Cohen, a longtime and highly respected philanthropist and community leader, was surprised that an academic institution could have such communal impact. “I’m always interested in work that has a strong impact and a powerful sense of social responsibility. MSPP really does. I’m attracted to places with strong missions and MSPP is clearly committed to serving the underserved.” Cohen, now Chair of the Advancement Committee, has nothing but high praise for Nicholas Covino, MSPP’s President. “He has enormous creativity—he’s a real innovator and entrepreneur who has wrapped the school in social purpose, giving people there an opportunity to do good things with their degrees. Furthermore, he has attracted a faculty committed to making a large impact on society. They’re training students to perpetuate this work into the future—it’s very exciting.”
Cohen, who has been involved in myriad organizations across greater Boston that appeal to his sense of social justice, finds great satisfaction knowing that low-income, at-risk kids will get the treatment and care they need from MSPP’s well-trained graduate clinicians.
“There are many good people out there,” he says, “who need to hear about what MSPP is doing...hear that its graduates are providing a safety net for so many people and that the need is only going to become more pronounced in the coming years. I want people to hear about the good work of the professionals here and realize how the school is grounded in a strong social conscience. I want people to learn about how efficient and effective MSPP is. That success story is infectious...donors want to be part of a successful organization and to support it.”
Cohen’s respect and admiration for the extraordinary faculty at MSPP is boundless. “They are wonderful, caring people. They must be promoted,” he insists. “If people experience this product, they’ll buy it. I’m thoughtful about how I spend my time and I’m spending more time than ever at MSPP.”
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The following are highlights from audited Financial Statements for the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, Inc. for the fiscal year beginning June 1, 2010 and ending May 31, 2011.
As the figures below indicate, the financial picture of MSPP continues to strengthen. To highlight a few facts: the number of MSPP donors is growing; the school’s expansion has returned new income; expenses have been carefully monitored; scholarship aid totaled $335,000; the Spring Gala raised $93,128; investment gains were $308,370; operating income reached a new high of $1,114,056.
Increase in net assets–$1,422,426
Revenue increase over prior year–$2,960,551
Expense increase over prior year-$2,757,518
Net assets at beginning of year–$3,987,848
Net assets at end of year–$5,410,274
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Look for our next issue of the MSPPrapport in the Spring.
If there are topics you would like to read about, please contact Katie O'Hare at firstname.lastname@example.org.