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MSPP Community

FOr Entering Students

Joining the MSPP Community

Student Organizations <back to top>

The Dean of Students' Office and the Student Coordinating Committee (SCC) work together promote self-care and community. Please click here to learn about our Student Organizations at MSPP.

The Latino Community <back to top>

The Dr. Cynthia Lucero Center’s Latino Mental Health Program is a unique opportunity for MSPP students who are interested in working with Spanish-speaking persons. Through intensive in Latino language and cultures, students are prepared as culturally sensitive, expert clinicians for this rapidly growing and underserved segment of the American population. There are unique and rich traditions among the various Latino cultures, as well as common experiences of immigration and diversity as Latinos in the U.S., that must be well understood by providers. Language fluency is also often an issue. While some Latinos have limited English fluency, others, in spite of their ability to speak English, can communicate more effectively in Spanish. Given this complexity, it is not surprising that most Latinos who seek mental health services do not return after the first visit, primarily because of a lack of “cultural fit” with the provider.

Here are a few highlights of the Latino Mental Health Program:

  • Intensive Spanish language training in a Spanish-speaking country during the summer.
  • Opportunity for Latino students to expand their cultural training in a Spanish-speaking country different than their own cultural heritage.
  • Extensive clinical training in field placement serving Latino patients to enhance the student’s sensitivity to the specific mental health of Latinos.
  • A core course: “Latino Mental Health in the U.S. Social Context”, and several advanced electives.
  • Elective conversational Spanish groups and cultural events.

For specific Latino Mental Health components in your program click on Academics and select your program.

> Read the MSPP Student Blog Rincón Latino

Working with Children and Families <back to top>

Congratulations on your offer of admission to MSPP.

If you are interested in working with children and families you will find many unique opportunities in the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development.

Primary ProjectWithin the Freedman Center a student can serve as a “Child Associate” working in a local elementary school delivering a “play based” primary prevention program called “Primary Project”. Our students who serve in this role have learned to be a “flexible, engaging helper” and how play is a powerful influence in a child’s life. They note that having been a “Child Associate” has allowed them to build leadership skills beyond what they acquire in the classroom.

WarmLinesOther enrichment opportunities available through the Freedman Center include learning how to facilitate “parenting groups” and on-site observations of parents in groups in our Parent and Teacher Resource site in Newton, Massachusetts.

Some of our students have also used the work of the Freedman Center to enrich field training in Organizational Psychology. These students have participated in system interventions, observed team building sessions and worked within the management structure of the Center.

As a Freedman Center program participant you can “meet the need and make a difference”!

Feel free to contact me to learn more about the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development at MSPP and the rewarding possibilities we offer in the field of child psychology. My very best regards and I hope to see you at MSPP!


Margaret Hannah
Executive Director, Freedman Center


Primary Project Facts

What is Primary Project?
Primary Project is early intervention school based prevention program designed to reduce social, emotional, and school adjustment difficulties and to enhance related competencies. The target audience is children in grades kindergarten through third.

How are children selected to participate in Primary Project?
Through the use of a carefully developed screening tool (AML-R) and discussions with teachers, parents and administrators children are selected to participate in Primary Project. Children who may be shy, anxious, withdrawn, defiant, moody, exhibit problems engaging other peers in positive relationships, exhibit mild physical aggression, or generally experience school as unpleasant are often most appropriate for participation in Primary Project.

Who is involved?
Who sees the children? The Primary Project Team is made up of mental health professionals and child associates, teachers, and administrators within a school. Child associates work with the selected children in one on one expressive play sessions. Child associates receive ongoing training and supervision by experienced professionals.

What happens with the child, once he or she is selected to participate?
Children that are selected will be individually paired with a child associate who will see them once a week for 25-30 minutes usually for 12 sessions. They will engage in child-directed play strategies during their time together. The play sessions occur in a designated playroom within a school. The playroom is intended to provide a safe and welcoming environment in which the child and adult can interact. It is not the role of the child associate to interpret or analyze the play, but to support the child in his or her activities.

Will parents and teachers be involved and/or informed about the child’s progress?
Teachers help select children for the program. They also provide feedback about the child’s progress and help evaluate the program. Parents are encouraged to communicate directly with the school-based mental health professional in order to receive more information, ask questions, or schedule a visit to the playroom.

Celebrating Multiculturalism and Valuing Differences <back to top>

As a new member of the MSPP community, we want to make sure you feel welcome and comfortable. We recognize that our students represent a broad spectrum of diversity and difference worth celebrating and respecting. Our monthly community time offers food reflective of different cultures and provides time to sit in an informal setting and get to know each other better. We offer an international movie night as well as a Latino movie night open to the entire community. Our dedication to serving the needs of underserved populations in Massachusetts can be seen not only through field placement in communities in need, but also through community volunteering at a variety of places like food banks, children’s organizations and shelters.

Students regularly show their commitment to public service through community action. A group of students worked to help Latino immigrants in Fall River, MA who were victims of an immigration raid on a local factory. Another group of students went to Baton Rouge after Hurricane Katrina and volunteered at a trailer park for displaced families. Their efforts evolved into an MSPP backed effort to provide psychological testing to children who have not been able to re-enter the school system since the hurricane through MSPP’s Dr. Leon O. Brenner Center for Psychological Assessment & Consultation. The Brenner Center provides comprehensive psychological assessment to address problems of learning and adjustment for children, adolescents and adults. Currently, the Brenner Center is able to provide testing in 14 different languages.

On any given day here at MSPP, you will hear students speaking to each other in Spanish as well as other languages and sharing their values and ideas.

We are always looking for ways to increase our knowledge and to celebrate each student’s uniqueness. Please contact Fran Mervyn, our Dean of Students at with any thoughts or ideas on how we can continue to grow in this area.

Updated 1/29/14

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