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Media Advisory/Press Release

Tenth Annual 5k Walk/Run on September 25 will Honor Fallen Marathoner and Support Latino Mental Health Program at MSPP

September 20, 2011–Boston (West Roxbury), MA–For the tenth consecutive year, friends and family of Dr Cynthia Lucero and advocates for Latino mental health will “finish the race” for Lucero, the young psychologist from Ecuador, who died during the 2002 Boston marathon, days before she was to earn her doctorate at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP).

Joined by faculty and students of MSPP and the public, these devoted participants will raise funds for Lucero’s legacy--the MSPP Lucero Latino Mental Health Program, which trains our graduate-level psychology students to provide culturally-sensitive mental health care to the Latino population.

  • What: 10th Annual Lucero 5K Walk Run
  • When: Sunday, September 25, 2011, 10:30 am
  • Where: 221 Rivermoor Street, West Roxbury, MA
  • Why: Raise funds for MSPP’s Latino Mental Health Program

“We are very proud of this event and the program it serves. Though the Lucero Latino Mental Health Program has great energy and momentum, we still need the help of the public and hope that the race will attract even more people this year,” says President Nicholas Covino. Race organizers expect more than 200 participants this year.

Research has found that Latinos in the US have an understandable preference to address highly personal, emotional and psychological issues in their native Spanish. When Latinos meet with linguistically and culturally sensitive therapists, attendance at sessions improves, and treatment has greater success.

The LMHP requires that students become fluent in Spanish and immerse themselves in Latino culture through coursework and community experiences in the US and a summer service program in Costa Rica and Ecuador.

At present, there is a tremendous shortage of mental health professionals who are able to provide this kind of care for Latinos, who now make up 15.8 percent of the US population.

Since its inception in 2003, 46 students have enrolled in the Lucero Latino Mental Health Program at MSPP. While in training for their doctorate and masters degrees, these “Lucero scholars” also provide area hospitals and community mental health centers with significant Latino populations with an average of 15 hours a week of supervised counseling. The LMHP features an intensive five-week summer immersion program in Ecuador and Costa Rica, where Lucero scholars provide much needed on-the-ground counseling to children and families in rural and urban orphanages, hospitals and AIDS and trauma clinics while immersed in Spanish language settings.

Funds raised by the September 25 event will help MSPP expand the program by offering more financial aid to students and raising critical funds for LMHP students to participate in the intensive, community-based summer service programs in Latin America.

The MSPP’s Lucero Latino Mental Health Program is one of five such programs in North America and one of fewer with an intensive immersive language concentration.

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 9/20/11

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