The Connecticut Department of Higher Education Grant enriches Fairfield University Urban Marriage and Family Initiative

The State of Connecticut Department of Higher Education has recognized the Marriage and Family Therapy Program (MFT) in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions at Fairfield University with an award to enable the "Urban Marriage and Family Therapy Initiatives."

Dr. Anibal Torres, assistant professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Fairfield University, developed the project as a means of addressing a three-pronged need: by forging a partnership between the University and the community through Catholic Charities, therapeutic services for a burgeoning urban population of minorities in Bridgeport, Norwalk and Stamford is strengthened and expanded; to increase University recruitment and retention of therapists who are ethnic minorities and multilingual; and to stimulate MFT clinical placements in urban centers located in Fairfield County.

Dr. Rona Preli, director of the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Fairfield University, lauded Dr. Torres for his astute vision in defining the elements of the program, "The faculty is particularly proud of Dr. Torres' accomplishment in obtaining this grant. He placed the focus squarely on contemporary issues, incorporated the intrinsic values of diversity and non-discrimination and by doing so, he encapsulates issues of central importance not only to our program, but to the profession of marriage and family therapy, the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions and the Jesuit mission and philosophy of Fairfield University."

Bill Hoey, vice president of Catholic Charities in Bridgeport stressed, "This grant increases the ability of Catholic Charities to fulfill our mission of providing crucial services to the needy and vulnerable of all faiths in Fairfield County. We are often the provider of last resort. Our clients are likely to be uninsured or underinsured people who are treated with dignity and respect when they come to us for help and we, in turn, are able to provide quality clinical services through the increased internships that expand our weekly workload capacity. And from a different perspective, as a training site for the interns, we offer an opportunity for them to work in an urban setting and experience problems that are unique to this environment."

Dr. Torres pointed to the inclusive goals he set out to achieve with his grant, "Our commitment to provide a true Jesuit education demands that we offer our graduate students, particularly in MFT, the richness of community involvement and a practical sense of the challenges they face, not only with the suburban and semi-rural populations in Connecticut, but with those that exist in our urban centers as well. The department will also actively recruit bilingual and ethnic minority students. We want to make sure that our student body is representative of the communities we serve."

To learn more about Fairfield University's Marriage and Family Therapy program, visit the website at

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Media Contact: Joan Grant, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950,

Posted on February 20, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 217

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