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Media Advisory/Press Release

MSPP’s Dr. Sara Orozco named to Massachusetts Health Disparities Council by Senate President Therese Murray Attends

First Meeting on July 18, 2011

July 18, 2011–Boston (West Roxbury), MA–Sara Orozco, PhD, a faculty member at Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) has been named to the Massachusetts Health Disparities Council by Senate President, Therese Murray (D-Plymouth). Dr. Orozco is the only member of the 18-person panel with extensive credentials and expertise related to mental health care for minorities and other underserved populations. Dr. Orozco will be replacing Dr. Amaro Laria, a former MSPP faculty member.

Born and raised in Miami, by parents who fled Castro’s dictatorship in Cuba in 1961, Dr. Orozco brings to the panel a personal understanding of how race, education, language, culture, and country of origin can dramatically affect the way people are treated in the US, even when it comes to matters as important as health care. Throughout her career as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Orozco has often concentrated on the mental health needs of diverse populations including her work with cancer survivors, LGBT individuals, American Indians and Latinos.

“I am very pleased to be able to participate in this important panel,” she said. “In the health care discussion, we often forget that mental health is tied into everything about an individual’s well being, with significant ripple effects on one’s family and community when mental health is not in balance. I hope I can keep the discussion of this essential aspect of human health on the front burner. Affordability, quality, access, and cultural competency will be my focus,” she said.

Established in 2006 as part of the state’s groundbreaking Health Care Reform Law, the Massachusetts Health Disparities Council identifies and recommends policies and actions to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care and health outcomes to achieve health equity for all residents. The council's work builds on a 2007 report by the Commission to End Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

Dr. Orozco, who will attend her first Council meeting on July 18, feels that the work of the council closely matches her desire to help Latinos and other disenfranchised groups in a larger way then she can either in her private practice or in teaching students at MSPP.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to engage directly with decision-makers from across the state, and I am ready to be the squeaky wheel from time to time when it comes to making sure that mental health receives equitable treatment by policymakers, payers and providers. I am so grateful to the Senate President for selecting me for this appointment and to MSPP for the nomination,” she said.

Dr. Orozco, who is bilingual, earned her PhD and master’s in psychology at Georgia State in 1993. Ten years later, she completed a respecialization certificate program in clinical psychology at MSPP to further enhance her clinical skills.

In addition to running a general private practice in Needham, Dr. Orozco finds herself back at MSPP, this time as a professor, where she teaches, supervises and mentors students in MSPP’s counseling psychology master’s program. Having distinguished herself in her field, Dr. Orozco is often sought after by Latino leaders of area non-profits for Executive coaching, leadership development, organizational transitions, conflict resolution, and change management.

“We believe that Sara will be a thought leader on this state level council and that her broad experience, insights and enthusiasms will help the Council help those most in need of mental health services in Massachusetts,” said MSPP President Nicholas Covino, who nominated Orozco for the position on the Council.

In addition to nominating experts such as Orozco to be members of the Council, MSPP has consulted with and assisted the council since its inception, making recommendations for increasing the number of health and mental health providers qualified to care for the underserved, particularly in the Latino community. The school is already engaged in one of only eight efforts nationwide that offer a program that immerses prospective mental health providers in Latino culture and language in its Dr. Cynthia Lucero Latino Mental Health Program.

To learn more about Dr. Cynthia Lucero Latino Mental Health Program go to: www.mspp.edu/lmhp.

To find out more about the Massachusetts Health Council go to: www.mass.gov/hdc.

About MSPP—Founded in 1974, MSPP has created and offered a unique approach to doctoral training for psychologists focusing on the immediate integration of clinical experience with academic studies. The school’s mission is to bring benefits of psychological training to other areas of American society, including schools, the workplace and the courts.

Updated 8/8/11

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