A lifetime of service has included helping those less fortunate, no matter where they were located.
Members of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.Favorite Professors: Lourdes: ”George Stricker, who involved me in a research project with Latino immigrants to Long Island, and who took the care to ensure that I was financially able to complete the program. Gordon Derner, who was one of the kindest people I have ever met.”
Arthur: ”I came to Adelphi because of Coach Bill Irwin, but was most affected by Professor Martin Greene.”
Advice for students: “Learn to be flexible in your career. Determine what you are passionate about and stick with it.”
Ensuring Access to Care
Lourdes and Arthur Lynch found much more than a great education at Adelphi University.They also found each other, along with lifetime friendships and the skills needed to build successful careers from sometimes non-traditional paths.
Lourdes and Arthur met in the cafeteria of the Student Union through a mutual friend. In 1974, she had just begun her graduate studies in the Derner Institute, while Arthur was beginning his graduate studies in Social Work. Shortly after their meeting, Lourdes returned to her native Puerto Rico for holiday recess. Arthur wrote her a letter, and she returned to Garden City three weeks early. “The rest was Serendipity,” they say, referring to the venue of their first date.
For Lourdes and Arthur, a lifetime of service has included helping those less fortunate, no matter where they were located. Lourdes first worked with children at Rockland Children’s Psychiatric Center, while an undergraduate student. Later, during her graduate studies at Derner, she worked with Glen Cove public schools.
“I really felt good about the work I was doing with autistic children,” she says.
After Derner, she was recruited by a fellow Adelphi alumnus to the Manhattan Children’s Psychiatric Center. From 1979 to 1990, she served as a staff psychologist, before joining the innovative start-up New York Children’s Health Project (NYCHP).
Founded in part with support from singer/songwriter Paul Simon, the NYCHP was established in 1987 by pediatrician and child advocate Irwin Redlener, MD. Its mission is to bring healthcare to high-risk and underserved children and families living throughout the city in homeless shelters. One of the project’s greatest successes has been the implementation of mobile medical units that can visit children and families where they live to improve access to care. Since 1987, the NYCHP has provided more than 200,000 health encounters to over 50,000 patients. NYCHP is a program of the Children’s Health Fund and the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore.
Lourdes has served as the director of Mental Health Services for nearly twenty years. In that time, she has seen dramatic changes in the lives of her patients, and has met many with astounding stories. And yet, her most famous patient was chosen for her in 2000, by then U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
Lourdes was selected to join a federal team of three mental-health professionals to meet the family of Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez, and consult on the transfer of the child. Chosen for her experience with vulnerable children and her fluency in Spanish, Lourdes describes the experience as “special and exciting.”
“Our concern was to create an environment and situation that would cause the least psychological harm to the child,” She says.
Lourdes was particularly pleased to work alongside Paulina Kernberg, MD on the development and implementation of a care plan for this case. Drs. Lynch and Kernberg repeatedly traveled to Florida and Washington in attempts to resolve Elian’s situation peacefully.
Her current interests include early childhood development and assessment, and advocacy for increased access to quality mental health services to everyone who needs it. Her most recent publication is a Chapter on “The Health of Homeless Children Revisited” in the book Advances in Pediatrics. She maintains a private practice in New York City.
While Lourdes found innovative ways to help her patients even when they had no home, Arthur worked to help patients thrive in difficult environments. For over 30 years, he worked in public settings serving diverse and indigent populations. Arthur served as Director of Mental Health Services for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation’s Office of Correctional Health Services for more than a decade.
As a senior administrator of the clinical management team, Arthur helped to provide oversight of the $150 million healthcare service providing ambulatory and inpatient medical and mental health services to over 18,000 inmates housed on Rikers Island, throughout the five boroughs and three city hospitals.
Often on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with the help of HHC’s Quality Program, he and his staff developed a host of innovative clinical programs addressing substance abuse, domestic violence, and suicide prevention. This last program reduced suicide attempts dramatically. He credits the success of these innovative programs in part to his training at Adelphi.
Arthur has also been a faculty member at Columbia University School of Social Work for over 25 years. His courses included Human Behavior and the Social Environment, Clinical Applications to Psychopathology, Contemporary Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Ego Psychology and Object Relations Theory. In addition, he has written extensively on comparative and clinical psychoanalysis. His most recent article on the Identity of Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalysts, coauthored with Dr. Arnold Richards, will be appearing in this month’s journal Psychoanalytic Psychology.
Arthur has maintained a private practice since 1979, which he entered full time in 2003. He is a training and supervising analyst, member of the Board of Directors, and senior faculty member at the American Institute for Psychoanalysis, a nonprofit psychoanalytic and psychotherapy training institute.
Arthur and Lourdes are devoted New Yorkers, who both live and work in Manhattan. The energy of the city is a perfect complement to their full lives. They also enjoy escaping to their home in Puerto Rico as often as possible. Of their many accomplishments, they are most proud of their daughter Megan, who completed her bachelor’s degree at Brown University and is currently doing her graduate work in architecture at Columbia University.
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