Diversity and Difference
Hispanic Heritage Month
MSPP is committed to recognizing diversity and difference in our community through curriculum development, social activities, and community involvement and by continually working on ways to create dialogue. Making sure our students have the resources and support they need to feel like members of the MSPP community is of utmost importance. Here at MSPP, we believe multicultural education is requisite to deliver comprehensive mental health care to appropriately meet the needs of the diverse communities our students will ultimately serve.
This month, we are observing Hispanic Heritage.
What is Hispanic Heritage Month?
Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15, the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries—Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.
MSPP Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month...
- Welcome Back Lucero Latino Mental Health Students
Hosted by Amaro Laria
Monday, September 21st from 6:30- 9:00 pm in Room 1
My American Girls: A Dominican Story
Tuesday, September 22nd 4:00–6:00pm in Room 10
- 8th Annual 5K Cynthia Lucero Run/Walk
Sunday, September 27th at 10:30 AM Rain or Shine!
The MSPP Community
“My mom is Costa Rican and my dad is Italian, and we only speak English at home. But I always had to speak Spanish with my extended family so that is how I learned the language and then I went on to study it in school. I don't speak Italian that well, but we live in the same house that my dad grew up in with my Italian grandparents living upstairs, so even though I have only been to Italy once, I was always surrounded by the culture. I travel to Costa Rica often and I am learning as I use my Spanish in the field, how different Latino cultures can be from each other and how I thought I was more culturally competent than I am. Just because I am Latina and fluent in Spanish, doesn't mean I know what it means to be an adolescent Dominican in Boston for example.
My culture is really important to me and I identify with both. It is neat, sometimes I describe the difference between my two cultures as onion and cilantro or basil and garlic. I love Italian sauce and as a Costa Rican, I eat rice with anything. I dance any kind of Spanish dance, and I love it. It's like my passion, I love it, I listen to Spanish music all day long.
I'm the first one to go to college in my family and first one to be a doctor and my parents are really proud of what I am doing and are happy that I am happy.”
“My name is Paulina Fuentes and I came to Boston about a month ago from Mexico City to attend MSPP. One of the things I really like about MSPP is its cultural awareness and its professional care for the Latino community. Today I had the great opportunity of doing community service work at a day treatment program for mentally ill Latino adults called "Casa Primavera" with my fellow classmates. The day reminded me that what I like most about psychology is the relationship one gets to experience with people. Today we got to meet some very interesting Latinos at "Casa Primavera", showing that no matter what, we are all are human beings adapting to different processes.
Now that I am living in a different country, it is funny how I have come to see some things from my culture in a clearer way from a distance. I have come to embrace, more than ever, the importance of creativity in my life, and how it is a gift we as culture have by living in a disorganized system. In some way, I have realized how creativity plays a major role in my life and those around me because when a system lacks structure, one has to juggle in order to survive with a kind and solid sense of humor. I have come to see in these few weeks, that Latino culture really has some important qualities associated with resilience such as creativity, high level of adaptation and a great sense of humor when faced with adversity. Yet, Latinos often get stereotyped. I am an example of this since I don't have a "typical" Latino look. This can be annoying because it feels like some people, including in my own culture do not identify me as Latina, and yet I am. However, using my creativity (you may call it "Latino creativity") as a tool I can break stereotypes in my work.
Sometimes art is better understood when seen from a distance, and it is from that distance I am able to embrace my own culture now more than ever. I really think MSPP is the best place I could be.
“I came to the United States from Puerto Rico when I was 8, so in a lot of ways I am bicultural, though mostly acculturated to American culture. I left behind a little bit of the history and customs of my country and, unfortunately, I wasn’t very good at befriending other Latinos in the States. Going to Costa Rica was the first time I visited another Latino country. Seeing the similarities and the differences in the languages, the food, and the humbleness of the people was such a refreshing experience for me. Before then, I didn’t have any other Latino cultures to compare to.
I was born on a farm where my mom and all her brothers and sisters tended to the animals and helped reap the coffee and tomato crops. This was a drastically different experience from the rest of my childhood, which was spent in Connecticut. I still remember carrying buckets of water up the hill because we didn’t have running water then. When we came to the United States, it all changed. Success here is defined and measured in more ways than we were used to.
I’ve always wanted to be a doctor to honor my parents. I want to show them that their sacrifices for their children are worthwhile and to show them how much I appreciate them. I carry these thoughts around with me when things get really challenging. I just think of my parents and what they gave up for our family and this helps me move forward.”
“I was born in Mexico and immigrated to San Jose, California when I was 9 yrs old. By the time I was finishing my undergrad career I knew that I wanted to become a psychologist and that I wanted to specialize in working with Spanish-speaking Latinos in the US. This is when I found out about the promising new Latino Mental Health program being offered at MSPP and I knew that I wanted to be a part of this groundbreaking endeavor. Because I am in the first group of students enrolled in the LMH Program, I feel like I have been able to help shape the direction of the Program and I envision it becoming a model for other schools. Being at MSPP and part of the Lucero Program has also helped me look at my own experience as an immigrant, giving me a unique perspective and tools to better help my clients. My experience so far has been beyond anything I could have imagined. I have had the opportunity to travel to 3 different Latin American countries with people that share the same enthusiasm and motivation as me. People I have come to respect and admire for their dedication to learning a language and a new culture. I have been blessed by having gone through 3 challenging and growth-promoting years of intense internship, 1 yr at the Arbour Hospitals Latino Partial Program and 2 yrs at Cambridge Health Alliance's Latino Mental Health Program. I have enjoyed the classes here and have benefited from the guidance and challenges each course pose. I have also been able to cultivate new friendships and professional connections with the people I sit with in the classroom. Everyone comes in with a unique background and experiences shaping who that individual is. I've especially come to admire some of my non-Latino peers in the LMH program because of their passion to work with people from a different culture than their own."
Our Faculty & Staff
“Having lived and studied in a number of countries has forged me into someone who constantly sees events and developments through the lens of other cultures. While this, as a whole, is highly valued to most I find in common with very few. We’ve come a long way as a society but still have a long way to go. The dialogue and understanding across cultures must continue at every level...”
– Mario Murga, Director of Admissions
MSPP Resource Links
Lucero Latino Mental Health Training Program www.mspp.edu/community/lucero-center
Lucero Latino Mental Health Summer Immersion Blog
“Today marks our halfway point of our summer in Ecuador, which feels incredibly false on all fronts. It’s not possible that we’ve only been here two and a half weeks—for all that we’ve witnessed, done, and experienced, each day feels like at least a week. And it’s certainly not possible that in two and a half weeks we’ll be boarding a plane back to the US—how ridiculously short that feels! Since we stepped off the plane after 16+ hours of travelling and were greeted with the strong hugs and kisses on the cheek from Marta Lucero, it’s been clear to me that it might take years to fully unpack, integrate, and comprehend this experience. But as today marks the halfway point, it seems like it’s time to stop, reflect, and share some of the amazing stories I now carry with me...”
To read more, please visit the blog.
If you would like to be include in future profiles on this site, please contact Josh Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.