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Media Advisory/Press Release

Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology Awards Honorary Degrees to Mayor Menino, Former U.S. Surgeon General at June 3 Commencement Ceremony

June 12, 2012–Boston (West Roxbury), MA–The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) awarded 128 graduate degrees and four honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees at its 32nd commencement ceremony on June 3. Dr. David Satcher, the 16th Surgeon General of the United States and Director of The Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine, served as commencement speaker.

At the ceremony, 28 students received their Doctor of Psychology degrees; 25 received Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology degrees; 15 received Master of Arts in Forensic and Counseling Psychology degrees; 20 received Master of Arts in Organizational Psychology degrees; 13 received Certificates of Advanced Graduate Studies in School Psychology; and eight received Graduate Certificates in Executive Coaching.

“MSPP is not a typical institution of higher learning; it is an institution that prioritizes relationships. It is a main component of what we teach, and it is the main method by which we teach,” said MSPP President Dr. Nicholas Covino. “Our students also learn that the relationship that they establish with their clients will account for as much or more of the treatment success than the particular intervention that they employed. It was with this sentiment in mind that the school also awarded honorary degrees to four people who are masters at relationships.”

Satcher was one of the honorary degree recipients. He was the first Surgeon General to examine, through several landmark reports, the need to make mental health a part of all health care planning. In particular, his he shed light on the serious shortage of mental health providers for children and the grievous racial and cultural disparities in mental health care in the United States. Satcher’s work also highlighted the unfair stigma attached to mental illness and the importance of increasing a culturally sensitive workforce of mental health professionals and the use of evidence-based research to guide behavioral health interventions.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino received an honorary doctorate for his national leadership on neighborhood issues and for putting Boston at the national forefront of healthy, livable cities. Menino has fought to reduce ethnic health disparities, combat substance abuse and promote healthy nutrition for adults and children.

The third honorary degree recipient, Dr. Hortensia Amaro, is among the nation’s premiere social science researchers. Her work has brought innovative care and critical attention to substance abuse in adolescent girls, HIV/AIDS prevention, and drug abuse treatment for Latina and African American women. At Northeastern University, Dr. Amaro is the Associate Dean of the Bouve College of Health Sciences, a Distinguished Professor of Health Science and of Counseling Psychology, and the Director of the Institute on Urban Health Research.

The final honorary degree went to MSPP trustee Richard (Rif) Freedman, a business leader, philanthropist and advocate for children. A devoted MSPP trustee for 20 years, he and his wife, Joan, and their family also created, fostered and today continue to nurture the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development at MSPP. The Center is a cornerstone of MSPP’s growing focus on educating future child psychologists and other mental health providers dedicated to children. In addition to its educational mission, it also is a direct service agency for Massachusetts families.

About MSPP—Founded in 1974 as an independent graduate school of psychology, MSPP provides unique training programs for mental health professionals at the doctoral, master's and certificate level, each designed to immerse students in both academic study and real-life clinical experience. Constantly assessing and evolving to meet the needs of the needs of a rapidly changing and increasingly diverse society, MSPP currently offers programs to train highly skilled professionals to care for Latinos, veterans, children and adolescents and families in a variety of settings, including the schools, the courts, the community and the workplace, among others.

Updated 6/25/12

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