Media Advisory/Press Release
Running and Walking in the Rain—Seventh Annual 5K Lucero Memorial Race is Success and Cynthia’s Legacy Grows
West Roxbury’s John Lohan wins
September 29, 2008 –Boston (West Roxbury), MA—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.
John Lohan of West Roxbury was the overall male winner and Sasha Lambert of Jamaica Plain was the all-round female winner, who is also a student in the MSPP Latino Mental Health Program.
The race honors the late Dr. Cynthia Lucero, who had devoted her life to helping others through her work and community service; Lucero 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. This year’s Lucero Run was attended again, as it is every year, by members of her family.
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.
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 is also attending); 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. 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 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.