Academics and Research

Latino Psychology specialty offers grad student the chance to connect with his heritage

“No soy de aquí, ni soy de allá. (I’m not from here, nor from there).”

The above sentence is a common phrase uttered by second-generation Latinos living in the United States. These individuals often feel that that they fit in with neither American society nor the country of their parents.

Christopher Norton has felt this way much of his life.

Norton, one of the inaugural students in the Latino Psychology specialty at DU’s Graduate School of Professional Psychology, is excited about the opportunity to connect with his heritage while making a difference for Spanish-speaking community members who seek mental health services.

Being from a mixed race couple in the ’80s in Southern California was not easy for Christopher. He related more to Anglo peers than Latino peers. Looking back, he says, “I would never have admitted I spoke Spanish.”

At DU, what was once a source of shame has become a valuable tool, allowing Christopher to bring culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services to Latinos in the community. He recognizes cultural barriers may deter these individuals from accessing quality care, and he is determined to change that.

What’s next for Christopher? He has a forthcoming publication on the topic of cultural awareness in mental-health outreach practices to the Latino population of Colorado post-disaster, and he aspires to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology, while focusing on eliminating mental-health disparities among Latino communities.


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