Growing Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology Inaugurates Nicholas Covino, PsyD, As Second President
September 5, 2003
Boston, Massachusetts—Nicholas A. Covino, PsyD, a leader in the field of psychology and psychology education, will be inaugurated president of the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) on September 12. Well known for his leadership of Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital’s and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s highly regarded psychology programs, Covino is a nationally respected clinician, author and lecturer. Among the distinguished guests at the inauguration will be presidents of local colleges and civic leaders, including Senator Marian Walsh, Representative Robert K. Coughlin, and Boston City Councilor John M. Tobin.
MSPP was formed in 1974 in response to the way clinicians were being trained during the 1970s. At that time, most clinical psychologists were educated in university-based programs that emphasized research over direct client experience. MSPP was one of a handful of schools established to stress extensive direct clinical experience, beginning at the very start of a graduate education.
Now, with over 700 alumni, MSPP has trained nearly one-third of the practicing psychologists in Massachusetts. Many graduates work in hospitals, community mental health centers, and private practice. But there are many others who have used their MSPP educations to become experts in non-traditional settings, such as corporations and public and private schools. MSPP is the only school of its kind in the Northeast, offering more than 35 programs for psychologists and other mental health professionals.
Jay Halfond, PhD, chairman of the MSPP board and dean of BU’s Metropolitan College, said that Covino’s leadership abilities, clinical skills and organizational vision will be instrumental in guiding the growing school. He added, “The board of trustees was thrilled that Nick Covino accepted our unanimous decision to have him serve as the school’s second president. He brings warmth and dynamism to a school ready to reach its next level of prominence. The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology is responsible for educating an increasingly significant share of the region’s clinicians, and this is a powerful indicator of the school’s important role in the area’s mental health services. Dr. Covino is definitely up to this task as he exemplifies the school’s mission of blending the academic and the professional to create competent and caring mental health professionals.”
Covino has constructed an ambitious five-year plan for the school, and to commemorate his dynamic vision of MSPP’s future, the board has entitled the inaugural ceremonies “New Beginnings.”
A staunch advocate of psychologists’ right to hold prescription privileges, Covino plans to expand MSPP’s recently launched psychopharmacology program. One of the first programs of its kind in the United States – the psychopharmacology curriculum provides practicing psychologists with extensive training in the prescription of psychotropic medications. Upon completion, participants partner with primary care physicians in selecting the most efficacious medications for patients.
Other program expansion plans include providing a broader range of training opportunities for students interested in working in non-traditional settings, such as business and criminal justice. Covino also sees the school taking a larger role in supporting the mental health needs of Boston communities. To accomplish this, he is working with colleagues to develop the MSPP Community Service and Training Program designed to match faculty and students to communities in need of psychological services.
Nicholas Covino, PsyD, succeeds Bruce J. Weiss, PhD, who served as the school’s president from 1986 until last year.
Raised in Everett and now living in Arlington, Covino received his AB in philosophy and sociology from Boston College in 1972. He then obtained his MA in psychology from Assumption College in Worcester and his PsyD in clinical psychology from the University of Denver.
Covino’s lifelong clinical focus has been on helping patients cope with the psychological issues surrounding serious medical illness. He began his training at Denver’s renowned National Jewish Hospital and Asthma Center, and continued with an internship at Beth Israel Hospital and a clinical fellowship at Harvard Community Health Plan.
In 1984 he began his highly successful 18-year tenure at Beth Israel. Joining the staff as a psychologist in the hospital’s department of psychiatry, Covino became director of psychology training in 1988 and director of psychology in 1990. Over the years, he became well known for his expertise in medical hypnosis, expanding clinical programs, and his leadership of the hospital’s clinical training program, considered one of the best in the nation.
Covino has also taught for many years at Harvard Medical School, where he continues as an assistant professor of psychology in the department of psychiatry. In demand as lecturer nationally and internationally, he has published in a number of professional journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. In addition, he has had a private practice for a number of years and serves as president-elect of the Society for Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.
During his career, Covino has also maintained a strong affiliation with MSPP. Serving previously as lecturer, board member, and doctoral discussant, he was appointed president-elect in 2002.
The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology is located at 221 Rivermoor Street in Boston. Information about the school and its programs can be obtained by visiting www.mspp.edu or calling (617) 327-6777