The Puerto Rican & Latin@ Studies Project (PRLSP) was founded in 1980 under the leadership of Dr. Julio Morales as a model program funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The Project is unique because of its mission to advance the well-being of Latin@s through education, research and community engagement on local, national and global levels. It is one of the few Projects of its nature in schools of social work in the United States. The PRLSP has been referenced and used as a model in various arenas such as the Council on Social Work Education and different social work programs throughout the nation.
Mission and Goals
The Puerto Rican and Latin@ Studies Project helps prepare social workers to competently serve individuals, groups, families, and organizations within Latin@ communities through research, teaching, and service; and to increase the advancement of knowledge and research regarding Puerto Rican and Latin@ matters.
Research and Innovation: To create distinctive and internationally recognized contributions to scholarship; and to address solutions for pressing issues affecting Puerto Ricans and Latin@s in Connecticut and globally.
Teaching and Learning: To increase Puerto Rican and Latin@’s recruitment; retention; and BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. degree completion. To train social workers and service providers.
Outreach and Engagement: To establish mutually beneficial partnerships and collaborations with the Connecticut residents and agencies and institutions within Connecticut, and globally. Participate in community and interprofessional partnerships in order to promote the well-being and quality of life of Puerto Rican and Latin@ individuals, families, and communities. To engage with the PRLSP Advisory Board in an exchange of knowledge and in the collaboration of efforts on current issues affecting Puerto Rican and Latin@ communities.
Puerto Rico Exchange
Since 1999, the School of Social Work and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) have had a partnership that provides opportunities for faculty and student exchanges between the mainland U.S. and San Juan and Vieques, Puerto Rico. Students learn about the history of Puerto Rico and the traditional values/customs; to increase understanding of the social, economic, political, psychological and cultural dynamics that impact the lives of Puerto Ricans; and heighten awareness of migration patterns, cultural identity formation and the impact of colonization, oppression and racism on Puerto Ricans. The visit to Vieques, Puerto Rico, exposes students to human rights violations and social injustices occurring on the island. When visiting UConn, the UPR students and faculty learn about social work practice with Puerto Rican migrants, their families and communities in the United States. Since then, alternating groups have participated in the exchange.