A Newsletter from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology 2011 Gala: Supporting the Lucero Legacy
The need for mental health professionals who are trained to care competently for Spanish-speakers is already critical and it will increase over the next few years. Research finds that Latinos in the U.S. have an understandable preference to address highly personal emotional and psychological issues in Spanish. When Latinos meet with language and culturally sensitive practitioners, attendance improves and the treatment has greater success. There are unique and richly diverse values, beliefs and traditions among Latino cultures, as well as common experiences of immigration and diversity, that must be well understood by providers who assume responsibility to care for this population. At present, there is a tremendous shortage of mental health professionals who are able to provide fully culturally-competent care for 15.8% of our population.
The Dr. Cynthia Lucero Latino Mental Health Program (LMHP) at MSPP is designed to address this disparity in health care access. Named in memory of Dr. Cynthia Lucero, a much-loved, community-oriented MSPP graduate from Ecuador who died shortly after running the 2002 Boston Marathon, the LMHP recruits, educates, supports and graduates mental health professionals who will dedicate themselves to providing culturally- sensitive, linguistically-appropriate mental health care to Latino men, women and children nationwide. While undertaking doctoral and masters degrees at MSPP, these “Lucero students” also provide area hospitals and community mental health centers with significant Latino populations with supervised counseling. The LMHP features a 6-week summer immersion program in Ecuador and Costa Rica where Lucero scholars provide mental health care to rural and urban children and families while immersed in a Spanish language setting.
MSPP’s Lucero Latino Mental Health Program is one of less than a dozen such programs in North America and one of the few with an intensive immersive language concentration. Since its inception in 2003, 46 students have enrolled in the program.
Your presence at the MSPP Gala April 29th and your philanthropic support will help us expand the Lucero Latino Mental Health Program by offering more financial aid to students and raising critical funds for our summer immersion program. Please help us provide this important training to ensure that the next generation of mental health professionals can—with compassion, care and cultural sensitivity—meet the mental health needs of the underserved, quickly-growing Latino community.
Your kindness, generosity and your help are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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MSPP–Emerging from the Shadows
“MSPP…now where is that?” If you are reading this, you have answered that question or have heard its kinder counterpart: “You folks are the best kept secret in Massachusetts.”
MSPP’s graduates are about 10% of the state’s psychologists and with 250 training relationships and 515 graduate students, we are the largest educator of mental health professionals in New England. The Lucero Latino Mental Health Program is one of a dozen in the country training language and culturally sensitive practitioners and our Yellow Ribbon program is responding to a similar need among military veterans and their families. The school has a palpable commitment to our staff and students’ personal and professional growth.
Lynn Community Health Center recently named a new building for our graduate Dr. Steve Hayes, who founded it, and health centers like MGH Chelsea, Joseph Smith and Southern Jamaica Plain are among the many that are staffed by MSPP graduates. A number of our graduates fill leadership positions: Dr. Jaine Darwin is a former president of the Division of Psychoanalysis of the American Psychological Association; Dr. Charlene Bonner received an overwhelming recommendation from the Governor's Council to serve on the state’s reconfigured Parole Board; Dr. Judy Solomon at the New England Home for Little Wanderers and Dr. Hope Schreiber at the Tufts Medical Center are leaders and teachers at their respective institutions. MSPP successfully advocated for mental health to be included in the agenda of the state’s Health Care Disparities Commission and our Counseling Faculty member Dr. Sara Orozco now serves on. Many more than these are the numbers of therapists, consultants and coaches who work without notoriety, in consulting rooms, board rooms, schools and clinics.
All of this… and more, yet, our “Brand” is far less recognized than it ought to be.
Boston has a wealth of prominent institutions of higher learning and MSPP is on the verge of emerging from their shadows. Only a decade ago we had a budget of $2 million; today it is $16 million. The 132 students that were in one program have given way to 515 in 7 programs, with admissions committees able to select about one of four highly qualified applicants from schools across the country. In the next five years, the school will occupy a significantly expanded facility, develop academic programs in Child Psychology, Primary Care, and Leadership and Organizational Development for business psychology to further meet documented needs and faculty will consult to the King Abdul Aziz University in Saudi Arabia on the development of an Applied Clinical Psychology program for that country.
As the Jimmy Fund gathers friends, partners and philanthropists to raise awareness and finances to fight cancer in children, it is right that MSPP become a magnet for those who have similar interests with regard to psychological care for children, adolescents, veterans, Spanish-speakers, prisoners, the elderly and those with medical illness. Name recognition lifts the work of our graduates and provides an investment for MSPP’s mission and message. As we emerge, I hope that we can develop partnerships with individuals, families, foundations and businesses to be ambassadors for mental health and to help us to acquire the kind of philanthropic support that will enable us to advance our commitment to academic excellence and community service.
Our students, staff, trustees and faculty have been diligent in developing an MSPP that is truly “Meeting the Need” and “Making a Difference.” As you read more about our work in this Rapport, I hope that you will be motivated to join us.
Nicholas A. Covino, President
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Gerardo (Jerry) Villacres–Latino Leader Reflects on His Life of Harmony and Love
Parking his car in one of the special spaces for museum overseers, hanging his coat in the private coatroom and then discussing policy and governance with MFA Director Malcolm Rogers, a man who grew up as an underprivileged second child of a single mom in Riobamba, Ecuador, he pinches himself. How did I get here? It’s a question he asks himself often. After 40 years of a wonderful marriage, two grown children, a young grandson, a rich, varied professional career, and countless friends, Gerardo Villacres still wonders why his lucky life is filled with so much beauty, love and harmony.
This is a man who takes nothing for granted. With a rare sense of balance, humility and a keen observation of his surroundings, Mr. Villacres is an ardent, articulate and enthusiastic advocate for the Latino community. But that’s not all.
In addition to being an overseer at the MFA, he’s a trustee at Bunker Hill Community College, was their commencement speaker in 2002, is president of the board of directors of the Asociacion de Ecuatorianos en Nueva Inglaterra, co-chair of ADL’s Latino-Jewish Roundtable, and is a member, founding member, chair or co-chair of many more community organizations than this short article can hold. All these leadership positions continue to surprise the man who vividly remembers the culture shock of being the only Latino executive at CBS where he worked for 20 years. Surrounded by much younger American-born men, Jerry felt insecure, uncertain about his identity, not wanting to relinquish the values and
traditions of his homeland, yet wanting to be accepted by his peers. “I adapted eventually,” he remembers well, “but I’ll never forget the struggle.”
Arriving in Massachusetts to
open two radio stations, Jerry quickly became a spokesperson for the Latino community, interviewing Latino writers, scholars, and celebrities, unaware he was becoming one himself. When his dear Latino-Jewish friend Ilan Stavans dedicated his Mutual Impressions to Jerry, this very modest man was truly touched, slightly embarrassed and totally surprised.
Jerry? That’s the name he got at age 19 in a New Jersey factory where the African-American employees with whom he toiled chose not to even attempt to pronounce Gerardo. “You’re Jerry,” one woman insisted, and the name has stuck for 47 years. But though the name is as common as Tom, Dick or Harry, there’s nothing ordinary about the man who will be honored with the Mental Health Humanitarian Award April 29th at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology’s gala to support the work of the Dr. Cynthia Lucero Latino Mental Health Program. “The program is fabulous,” says Jerry, “when I was at CBS struggling with who I was, I saw a therapist who labeled my problem as anxiety, but the truth is, I was in culture shock. The Lucero Program at MSPP teaches students how
we can learn from each other, understand and celebrate our differences and be open and honest.”
We Latinos, he insists, need to focus on our best, our accomplishments and on the values we can bring to American culture. Jerry is so civically engaged because he cares so passionately about others being able to become fully acculturated here without sacrificing what is so wonderful about Latino culture. He accepted MSPP President Nick Covino’s request that he be honored reluctantly, never wanting to appear arrogant or self-satisfied. “It’s not for me,” he says, “but for my community.”
Says Jerry, “I have a better life than I ever expected. To be able to contribute, to give back to society for my blessings, to help give pride to my community, to share our food and culture with friends and family from many other cultures in mutual love and respect, these are extraordinary gifts. How wonderful it is that I ended up like this.”
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The Odyssey of Joe Gorin, PsyD
For nearly three years in the 1980s, Dr. Joe Gorin crisscrossed between Guatemala and Nicaragua documenting and reporting on human rights abuses, including the bombing, kidnapping and torture of native populations.
He first documented what he was seeing for the Peace Brigade International journal, which is sent to many peace groups and Quakers. In the war zone of Nicaragua, he wrote for Witness for Peace, a publication focused on changing US Central American policy that supported political groups carrying out human rights abuses. Returning to Guatemala, he then worked with human rights groups, peasant organizations, and relatives of the “disappeared” and reported about the labor situation in Guatemala for a magazine called Labor Notes.
“Being paid $50 a month and risking my life, I knew I couldn’t keep this up forever,” he said, “but I also led groups of delegates around who were interested in human rights violations in Central America. That’s how I met my wife, who was a delegate from North Carolina.”
During this time, he witnessed what he calls the “moral complexity of humanity.” It was especially with a young 17-year-old soldier who had just fled the Contras, having been kidnapped by them and recruited to kill at age 15. “The boy had committed atrocities that violated every sense of who he was,” says Joe. “I saw the grief in his eyes. His leaving the Contras was an act of contrition and survival.”
Back in the US, Joe continued his commitment with a national speaking tour to raise money for the Guatemalan popular movement and chronicled his experiences in his book Choose Love: A Jewish Buddhist Human Rights Activist in Central America.
Joe credits the seeds of activism in his life to family stories about the history and persecution of the Jewish people and to a Puerto Rican man who looked after him as a child, who spoke of his experiences with racial discrimination.
Ultimately Joe became a clinical psychologist and neuropsychologist and is now on the teaching faculty of the Professional Psychology Program at George Washington University. He has also served as adjunct faculty at Yale, Boston, and Howard Universities, the University of Massachusetts and MSPP.
But, it is his existing work in Washington, DC, with refugees and those seeking political asylum that offers Joe his greatest satisfaction. Initially treating Central American clients, his experience is now predominantly with African populations, speaking through translators. He offers much of his professional time pro-bono.
“I’m blessed to have a profession I value deeply,” he says, “and if someone gains political asylum and does not have to return to a country like Sudan, where they most certainly will be tortured, I have contributed to making a major difference in their life.”
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Dr. Stephen Hayes—New Lynn Health Center Building Named for MSPP Alum
“Steve has always been the backbone and the heart and soul of this organization,” said Bill Mantzoukas at the dedication of Lynn Community Health Center’s new building, a 55,000-square-foot structure that will bear the name of MSPP alumnus, Dr. Stephen D. Hayes. In 1971 Bill enlisted Steve to be the co-founder of the center and to lead its mental health service.
“He has been there fighting the good fight every step along the way,” said Bill.
Dr. Hayes opened the Lynn mental health service in a small storefront at a time when community mental health was a new idea and most patients were still confined in state hospitals. His vision was to finally make mental health services accessible to the most vulnerable in society where they lived. Today, that tiny fledgling experiment is thriving with more than 186,556 patient visits a year.
“This really is an incredible honor. I’m very humbled by it,” said Steve in a recent Lynn Item interview. “The greatest reward is to serve the Greater Lynn community for over 40 years.”
According to MSPP President Nicholas Covino, “As the epitome of social responsibility, Steve Hayes will always be someone we can look to as an example of the very best we can be as healers and advocates.”
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Paulina Fuentes Moad—MSPP Student Takes to the Airwaves
Every two weeks in WUNR’s broadcast studio in Boston, Paulina Fuentes Moad adjusts the radio microphone and begins a “live” interview in Spanish with the hosts of the program and with mental health experts.
The Nami Latino y la Comunidad program, “on air” since 2008, recently introduced its new Young Professionals Psychology Series and Paulina’s new role.
Some of Paulina’s recent topics have been “The Migration Experience,” “Women and Psychology,” “Schools Helping Schools,” “Yoga and Mental Health,” and “Psychoanalysis and Addictions.” On May 19, she will be discussing the “Brenner Center Latino Assessment Team” with MSPP faculty.
According to Paulina, “there are many phone-in questions from Spanish-speaking men and women about their concerns, including legal matters and getting psychological help.”
Paulina, a second-year MSPP doctoral student, hopes to continue the broadcasts beyond her regular class studies and clinical site training, but must also attend to her responsibilities to develop the “Vive con Vida” Depression Awareness Campaign, a project she has committed to as the recipient of a special scholarship from the Mexican government.
This $120,000 grant from CONACYT (Council of Science and Technology–Mexican Government, Mexico) assists new psychology graduates to work in the community, using the creative arts as therapeutic tools. Paulina’s grant will help her with her studies and with her project to help adolescents and young adults fight depression through art, play and creativity. Beginning the campaign in her native Mexico, she hopes to extend the project across the continent.
Paulina’s professional life has always interwoven psychology and art as well as theater, for which she trained in Paris and British Columbia. In her current field placements, she is also following the duality of her interests as she works with clients at the Latino Partial Hospitalization Program at Arbour Hospital in Boston and with music students at the New England Conservatory of Music Counseling Center.
“More people need to heal through art,” she says.
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Eli Dubinsky—Giving For the Love of a Sister and Veterans
"From small beginnings come great things,” said Eli Dubinsky, quoting the well-known proverb. Great things are what he hopes will come of a “small” gift he recently made to MSPP, one that will fund scholarships to train veterans to treat other veterans.
Eli made the donation in memory of Bessie Dubinsky, his beloved older sister. “She was a very good sister to me,” he said. “She took care of me when I was young, and was my substitute mother, and I took care of her when she was older and until she died.”
The first scholarship will be given this year, according to MSPP President Nicholas Covino. “We are very grateful for Eli’s generous heart and a gift that will make a difference not only for the recipient student but for all the veterans who will receive care from a provider who truly understands their experience.“
Mr. Dubinsky made a major gift to Hebrew Senior Life to honor his sister's memory—a professional training center for nurses that bears her name and continues to grow.
The plight of veterans has always been close to Eli’s heart. Two days after graduating from Boston College with a bachelor’s in chemistry, Eli reported for military duty. The year was 1941, and for the next four years he saw “substantial” action in the Pacific. And, he returned to a grateful nation. “We came home in ships and people met us and cheered,” he said.
“That was then and this is now. And, veterans are not treated as well as they should be,” he said. “Things aren’t as bad as they were after Vietnam, but we still need more and better ways to help our military people who have been fighting non-stop the past seven years,” he said. “Only people who have been there can really grasp the trauma of war.”
To honor his sister is “no small thing for me,” said Eli, who lived with Bessie after he retired from the directorship of the chemistry department at New England Medical Center after 40 years. “We lived quite well and peacefully until she got breast cancer, and then several years later had a stroke.” He was her caretaker until she passed away in 2005.
Bessie was a self-made woman, according to Eli. “She graduated from high school right into the Depression. “That was a time when people would wear cardboard signs that said they would work for free if someone would feed them,” he said. “So Bessie offered her secretarial skills for free to a prominent lawyer to learn the business. It wasn’t too long before she became an expert and the other lawyers in the firm started competing for her help,” said Eli.
A native of Roxbury and a product of Boston Latin School, Eli describes himself as an average man who has led a quiet life and expresses surprise at the request for an interview. “At first I asked ‘who am I to have you write about me,’ but then I thought, ‘perhaps a person reading this will see that if someone like me can make this kind of contribution and a real difference, they can too,” he said.
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MSPP Strives to Meet the Needs of a Changing World
MSPP continues to develop new programs to refine the skills of its students and other professionals to reach people and communities in need.
New Center for Psychotherapy and Spirituality
Most people have some form of spiritual practice or belief system that helps them find meaning in life, and that can profoundly impact the psychotherapeutic process, according to Dr. John McDargh. MSPP has asked Dr. McDargh, an Associate Professor in the Theology Department at Boston College, to direct its new Center for Psychotherapy and Spirituality. “Spirituality broadly understood is an aspect of the human condition that we as therapists need to pay attention to if we are to treat the whole person,” he says.
The creation of a formal program that explores the spiritual dimension of the practice of psychotherapy is the culmination of eight years of dedicated exploration by a committee of MSPP faculty, board members and other experts, which will continue to be an advisory panel to Dr. McDargh and the Center.
The Center is planning a number of discussion groups, conferences, and courses, which will be open to faculty, alumni and other professionals. “These will be opportunities to learn more about various forms of spirituality and ways to tune into and integrate clients’ beliefs and values in therapy,” he says.
“We also see the Center as ‘a home’ where students and professionals can explore the spiritual or philosophical underpinnings of their own lives and how what they believe shapes their relationships with clients,” says Dr. McDargh.
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The Saudi Connection…
One of MSPP’s goals is to share its expertise within the US, but also internationally. “No human life or society is immune to trauma, serious mental disorders or other difficulties, and the need for trained mental health professionals is universal,” says Dr. Stanley Berman, Dean of Vice President, Academic Affairs.
When leaders of the Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, approached MSPP to talk about the possibility of working together, “we were very eager to begin the conversation,” says Berman. KAU has a student body of 82,000 and a diverse curriculum that includes both undergraduate and graduate programs. Despite a rich curriculum, it has not trained clinical psychologists. In recent years, it has begun to consider such a program as a valuable step in meeting the needs of Saudi society and of a student body increasingly interested in understanding human behavior, according to Berman. Optimistic about the collaboration, he notes that such a partnership is likely to include an exchange of ideas, faculty and students, with the first phase being the development of an undergraduate major in clinical psychology.
An alliance will be enlightening for both partners, says Berman. “They will benefit from our experience in this field, while we will gain a better understanding of mental health issues in a culture and country very different from our own.”
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New MA Program to Address Need for Community Providers
MSPP is now offering a uniquely designed Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and Community Mental Health. The program calls for MSPP to partner with human services agencies that will, in turn, offer the program to eligible bachelor’s level providers in their employ. Students will be able to complete their requirements through a combination of online, on-site, and MSPP-based courses. Students will be required to spend one weekend a month at the school.
MSPP will offer a tuition discount for participants, administer the program and grant the degrees. Agency senior staff will be recruited to join MSPP faculty in teaching classes at the agency.
“This is win win for us,” says Dr. Bob Dingman, the clinical director of Residential Services at Youth Opportunities Upheld, Inc. (YOU, Inc.), among the first agencies to partner with MSPP. “We believe this will help us to retain our best young staff, first, because they will want to stay here to complete the three-year requirements. And, second, because many will likely stay on as permanent clinical staff after graduation,” he says.
YOU, Inc., is a large Worcester-based non-profit human services organization with 40 programs serving the mental health needs of more than 8,000 adolescents, children and families each year. YOU, Inc. is not alone. The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC) was the first to form a partnership for this innovative degree program. MSPCC is a private non-profit society dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights and well-being of children and families.
“We are very enthusiastic about this program and hope other agencies will consider offering this opportunity to their employees,” says Dr. Stanley Berman, Vice President, Academic Affairs .
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Making a Career of Higher Education
“It is important for people who want to work in student affairs positions and as college administrators to know something about how to work with people and their problems,” says Dr. Dan King, Vice President for Academic Affairs at MSPP.
MSPP has created a new master’s program to train students to work in higher education. King believes that the Master of Arts in Applied Psychology in Higher Education Student Personnel Administration has the right academic mix.
As interim director of the program and a higher education professional himself, King says the new program will build on the first-year curriculum of the MSPP counseling psychology program. “These courses will give students a solid foundation in human behavior and counseling practices and modalities,” he says. “The second year will include courses in higher education leadership, law, administration and the American college.” The degree will qualify graduates to be college residence hall directors, to work in college counseling centers, to serve as academic advisors, or even athletic directors. “It would also give school chaplains or anyone who works with students outside the classroom, additional credentials,” he says.
“Higher education is a wide open field with exciting opportunities. Eventually someone with this credential could go on to take on the role of Dean of Students,” he says.
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Three Lucero Scholars to Serve Their Community with Passion and Commitment
Darleen Gracia, Wendy Ramirez, Vincenzo Teran, all Clinical PsyD students
Q What does it mean to you to be a Lucero scholar?
Darleen: It’s one of the biggest honors of my entire academic career. I saw it as a calling, the chance to make my dream of being a doctor a reality…an opportunity to fulfill my own social justice mission and make my family proud.
Wendy: It means I have the privilege of keeping the work of the late Dr. Cynthia Lucero going. I’ve taken on the special commitment to provide quality mental health care to the Latino community.
Vincenzo: It has provided me with the opportunity to pursue doctoral training in Clinical Psychology and to work with the Latino population.
Q Anything in your background that influenced your decision to be a Lucero Latino Mental Health Program scholar?
Darleen: It was as if all the puzzle pieces that shaped my life came together and began to create the landscape of the path I was to take. When I was in high school an awful guidance counselor told me I was not qualified to apply for a scholar- ship. To this day, I feel emotionally affected by that experience of overt racism. This is my chance to have a corrective experience and to express and solidify my commitment to give back to the Latino community that I came from.
Wendy: Being in the program has enabled me to gain a more profound appreciation of my own cultural values. My family comes from Latin America and though I grew up in the U.S., I identify as bicultural, possibly even multicultural. Given the opportunity to be part of a program that appreciates the intricacies of different cultures makes me feel eager to participate.
Vincenzo: Born in Lima, Peru, I have had the opportunity here at MSPP to be in field placements where I worked with multidisciplinary teams of bilingual and bicultural staff. I have been able to build relationships with other students who share the same interest and passion as me in working with individuals from diverse backgrounds, particularly Latinos. In the summer immersion, I have learned more about the experiences of Latinos in the U.S. and I have become more attuned to the needs of Latinos.
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Champion of Veterans is 2011 Commencement Speaker for MSPP
Civil Rights Advocates to Receive Honorary Doctorates
Captain Thomas G. Kelley, better known in recent years as the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Services in Massachusetts, will be MSPP’s 2011 Commencement speaker. Kelley, who retired earlier this year from the position he held for nearly a decade, has been a constant advocate for the rights of veterans, focusing much of his energy on securing the health and mental health benefits they need and deserve.
Kelley, who was severely injured while saving men under his command in Vietnam, received the national Medal of Honor for his unselfish acts of bravery. His concern and respect for fellow veterans extended beyond his military career. After retiring from the Navy, he spent several years in the Department of Defense in Washington DC before returning to his native Massachusetts, where his fight for veterans’ welfare continued.
“In his years as Secretary of Veterans Services, Thomas Kelley has inspired all of us with his tireless dedication to our service men and women. We can learn a great deal as psychologists from the compassion and commitment of this extraordinary public servant,” says President Nick Covino.
Kelley will also be one of three recipients of the honorary Doctor of Letters degree from MSPP. Joining him will be Mary Bonauto, Esq., and Dr. Alvin Poussaint.
Bonauto is a lawyer who has directed the Civil Rights Project at the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) for more than 20 years. Her focus has been to improve the lives of those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, as well as people living with HIV or AIDS.
In recent years, her work to eliminate discrimination has profoundly affected those for whom she advocates. Baker v. State of Vermont resulted in a ruling that prompted the Vermont legislature to enact the nation’s first “civil union” law for same-sex couples. In Massachusetts, she was the lead counsel in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which resulted in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court declaring that prohibiting civil marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional.
Poussaint, the son of Haitian immigrants, is an expert on race relations in America and the dynamics of prejudice. He is the director of the Office of Recruitment and Multicultural Affairs at Harvard Medical School (HMS), a professor of Psychiatry and the Faculty Associate Dean for Student Affairs. According to his biography on the HMS website, “He believes that extreme (violent) racists suffer from a delusional mental illness.”
The author of the book Why Blacks Kill Blacks, he has also co-written Raising Black Children with James Comer in 1992; Lay My Burden Down with Amy Alexander in 2000; and Come On, People with Bill Cosby in 2007.
A frequent lecturer on American college campuses, he also serves as a consultant to government and private agencies. The media often calls upon him to comment and consult on a wide range of social issues, including the impact of media images on children and the changing family.
Commencement ceremonies will be held on Sunday June 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm at the Four Points Sheraton in Norwood, MA.
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Look for our next issue of the MSPPrapport in the Fall.
If there are topics you would like to read about, please contact Katie O'Hare at firstname.lastname@example.org.