A Newsletter from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
From the President
Welcome to MSPP and to the MSPPRapport. This electronic publication is designed to introduce the MSPP community to those who want to know more about our school and the educational model offered at MSPP.
In this edition we introduce several of our programs and the people who lead them. We are creating a “College of Psychology” where a multispecialty faculty is educating the next generation of mental health professionals to meet the mental health needs of multicultural persons, medical patients, professionals and clients of the justice system, business leaders and employees, children, families and adults. The experiential learning model that underlies the educational experience at MSPP is emerging as the most effective method of training mental health practitioners in the country.
If you haven’t visited our website or watched the informational video from our front page, I would encourage you to do that. I hope that we can invite you into our world and that you will be able to find a way to add to it.
Welcome to MSPP!
Nicholas A. Covino
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MSPP’s Dr Amaro Laria is First Mental Health Provider Appointed to Health Disparities Council
Senate President Therese Murray recently appointed MSPP’s Dr. Amaro Laria to the Massachusetts Health Disparities Council. In this new role, he will be the only mental health expert on the Council, which was established by the Health Care Reform Act of 2006 to develop recommendations for reducing and eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare access and outcomes in the Commonwealth.
Initially focused on disparities in diseases such as cancer, stroke, heart disease, diabetes and HIV/Aids, the Council’s appointment of Dr. Laria to address mental health disparities in underserved populations, is a key acknowledgement of the existing mental health crisis. According to Dr. Laria the number one disability in the world is depression, and it is the most costly medical condition.
While highly experienced in working with Latino populations, Dr. Laria’s new role extends to correcting mental health disparities in all ethnic communities, including African Americans and Asians.
“I feel incredibly honored and privileged to be chosen to work on the Council; it is a great fit for what I have been doing”, says Dr. Laria.
The Director of MSPP’s Lucero Latino Mental Health Training Program, Dr. Laria also holds faculty appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
Learn more about MSPP Latino Mental Health Training Program.
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Welcome Caroline Wandle—New School Psychology Faculty Member
Caroline Wandle, PhD, brings a wealth of experience to her new position as a member of MSPP’s school psychology faculty. A nationally certified school psychologist and licensed psychologist, Wandle spent many years in the Massachusetts public schools and taught for 18 years in the school psychology program at Tufts University, where she was program director for 16 of those years.
Her research interests include training standards and the recruitment and retention of school psychologists from diverse backgrounds. She was recently named "Trainer of the Year” by the Massachusetts School Psychologists Association.
While maintaining a private practice in local school districts, Wandle now spends three-quarters of her time working closely with the Director of MSPP’s School Psychology program, Dr. Robert Lichtenstein.
Very enthusiastic about MSPP’s school psychology program, Wandle believes that MSPP students are being prepared to work collaboratively with teachers and parents to address issues facing children in public schools today, including single parent families, gay/lesbian families, and socio-economic and language diversity.
Originally focused on assessing academic and behavioral functioning, school psychology dates back to the early 1900s. The name of the profession first appeared in Connecticut in 1915.
“Now we want our MSPP students to go beyond the traditional role of school psychologist and concentrate on prevention and early intervention of issues,” says Wandle.
MSPP offers a three-year program. In the first year, students gain experience in working with elementary school children. The second year is spent in middle school and high school, and the third is a full-time internship. The students graduate with a Master of Arts in Professional Psychology and the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in School Psychology.
According to Wandle, there are now 30,000 to 40,000 school psychologists in the country. Of those, 75 percent hold both a master’s and certificate, and 25 percent possesses a doctorate. Most work in public schools, while others choose to be in charter or pilot schools as well as hospitals and clinics. In urban areas, such as Boston, there are also Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking school psychologists.
Learn more about the MSPP School Psychology program.
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Forensic Program at MSPP Expands its Reach
Forensic psychology is the application of psychological procedures to assist legal decision makers. MSPP is helping to train the next generation of psychologists to contribute effectively in this arena.
According to Robert Kinscherff, PhD, Esq, a forensic psychologist, lawyer and a co-director of MSPP’s Forensic Certificate Program within the doctoral program, MSPP’s program is unique on a national level for two reasons.
First, MSPP’s program is based on the principle that you must be a very well trained psychologist before you can be a skilled forensic psychologist. Second, the MSPP program is notable for the breadth of its field placements for training, including adult and juvenile court clinics, forensic services in state hospitals, and providers of forensic services to the Department of Youth Services.
During the program’s inception, the focus was on training in juvenile forensics, because Massachusetts is the only state with a statewide juvenile court clinical system, and MSPP had developed field placement sites in court clinics in Suffolk and Middlesex counties. Trainees learned to conduct forensic mental health evaluations in delinquency, child protection, and status offender (e.g., truancy, runaway) cases. The program subsequently expanded to include adult forensic issues. And, MSPP students, who earned the Certificate, have gone on to enter nationally prominent forensic post-doctoral programs and have secured employment in juvenile justice, criminal corrections, court clinic and forensic mental health settings.
While the Forensic Psychology Certificate program is within the doctoral program, MSPP also has established a master’s level program in forensic psychology. In addition, an introductory survey class for psychologists was recently created and is now part of the forensic program.
“We’re very excited about the survey class because it offers students a taste of forensics without first having to make the decision to commit to a Certificate program,” says Kinscherff. “Even if they choose not to go into forensic work full time, it would be useful to them as practicing psychologists, given the likelihood that over the course of their careers, most psychologists will end up in court as witnesses, especially if they work with children and families.
Kinscherff brings to MSPP extensive experience in forensic mental health, including past service as the Assistant Commissioner for Forensic Mental Health at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, Director of Juvenile Court Clinics for the Massachusetts Trial Court, and Director of Forensic Training at the Law and Psychiatry Service of Massachusetts General Hospital. He also continues to provide post-doctoral forensic training through his academic affiliation with the teaching hospitals of Harvard Medical School.
In January 2008, Kinscherff took the position of Director of Clinical Services for Easter Seals of New Hampshire (which also operates programs in New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Massachusetts). His duties include developing programs for youth and adults who have psychiatric and/or developmental disabilities, and who have problematic behaviors likely to result in juvenile or adult justice system involvement or long-term involuntary civil commitment.
Learn more about the Forensic Certificate program.
Learn more about the Master’s of Art Degree program.
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Running and Walking in the Rain—Seventh Annual 5K Lucero Memorial Race is Success and Cynthia’s Legacy Grows
Despite driving rain on Sunday, September 28, 121 runners and walkers “finished the race” for Dr. Cynthia Lucero, the talented young psychologist who died during the 2002 Boston marathon and raised funds for her legacy. 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. This year, the race raised $22,000 for this unique program.
John Lohan of West Roxbury was the overall male winner and Sasha Lambert of Jamaica Plain was the all-round female winner. She is also a student in the MSPP Latino Mental Health Program.
Dr. Cynthia Lucero, who had devoted her life to helping others through her work and community service, collapsed (and later died) 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.
The Dr. Cynthia Lucero Center, founded shortly after her death by MSPP and Dr. Lucero’s family and friends, created the Latino Mental Health Training Program as one of its major projects. As they have every year, the Lucero family participated in the race and supported all those who came to remember Cynthia.
Preceding this year’s race, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology held a breakfast for educational, political and Latino leaders to discuss how to make mental health services truly accessible for Latinos, as well as the advances MSPP has made to facilitate that access.
Speaking at the breakfast was Maria Cabrera, MSW, LICSW, who is Director of the Women and Families Division of the Boston Public Health Commission in Mattapan, MA.
Attending dignitaries were Jerry Villacres, Director of El Planeta; Dr. Kermit Crawford, Director of the Center for Multicultural Mental Health of the Boston University Medical School (his family also attended); Dr. Olivia Moorehead-Slaughter, School Psychologist at Park School; Ricardo Quiroga, M.Ed., Executive Director of Casa Esperanza, Inc.; Dr. Roxana Llerena-Quinn, Children’s Hospital Representative; Jamie Eldridge of the 37th Middlesex District; and Representative Elizabeth Malia of the 11th Suffolk District.
Estimates are that by the year 2050, one fourth of the US population will be Latino, while 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 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 and master’s candidates to undergo two summers of intensive language study in Latin America, additional language support during the academic years and at clinical sites that serve Latinos in the US. Thirteen students have already entered the program so far and have had their summer experiences in Costa Rica and Ecuador.
Learn more about the Lucero Latino Mental Health Training Program.
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A Partnership of Like Minds for Children and Families
This past fall, WarmLines Parent Resources, a longtime Newton-based private social service agency, became part of MSPP. “This is a partnership of two like-minded organizations who have a strong commitment to the mental health of the citizens of the Greater Boston community, primarily families and children,” says Dr Nicholas Covino, president of MSPP. "Together we believe we can make a greater impact on those in need.”
For the past 30 years, WarmLines has provided resources to families in Greater Boston and has had a tradition of joining forces with other area organizations to provide comprehensive services. "The WarmLines Board of Directors voted unanimously to accept the invitation to become a subsidiary of MSPP," states Beth Basnight, who will continue as Director of WarmLines. "Our two organizations have been collaborating successfully on various projects over the past three years. We are thrilled to announce this formal affiliation and receive invaluable support from a much larger non-profit that shares our vision for the future. As always, WarmLines/MSPP remain committed to meeting the changing needs of families by providing the highest quality programs and services."
WarmLines has always been known as "the place to call” when families want to meet one another, identify child care resources, become educated about parenting, or find educational programs for children. Professionals working with children and families rely on WarmLines for educational workshops on a wide variety of topics. Employers such as Boston College also turn to WarmLines to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities.
“We at MSPP believe that the acquisition of WarmLines will enhance the mission of our Freedman Center for Child and Family Development and other centers at the school,” says Margaret Hannah, the executive director of MSPP’s Freedman Center, of which WarmLines is now a part. The Freedman Center "strives to connect children and families with appropriate information, resources and each other in order to serve their mental health needs."
WarmLines in Newton will be a place where doctoral and master’s level psychology students from MSPP refine their skills and provide services during their practicum experience. In fact MSPP students have received supervised clinical experience at WarmLines in the past, and several students are already on-site working in New Parents groups and doing directed study work.
With the support of MSPP’s Freedman Center and Basnight’s leadership, WarmLines will continue to advance the goals of Project INTERFACE, a local mental health initiative focusing on children and families. WarmLines will continue to offer parent education programs, such as New Moms and New Parents groups, with the help of MSPP faculty and graduate students. WarmLines Speaker Services will join MSPP's Continuing Education Program. In addition, the staff of MSPP will assume many WarmLines administrative and organizational functions.
WarmLines will maintain its own non-profit status, its well-known name, and its current location within the Newton Cultural Center on Nevada Street in Newtonville. Jane Hobbs, Community Services Coordinator, and Diana Simon, Corporate Services Coordinator, will continue in their positions along with Basnight.
For additional information about WarmLines, go to www.warmlines.org. Learn more about MSPP's Freedman Center on Child Development.
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