GPA Welcomes Two New Members in Havana, Cuba – by Howard Drutman

August 13, 2015

“The bus stopped mid-block in front of an unremarkable building. For downtown Havana, that alone is remarkable, as almost everywhere you look the buildings (in their state of decay) are either beautiful or repellant, depending on your point of view. Our Cuban guide went into the building while my colleagues and I waited on-board. After seemingly an eternity, our guide returned and told us it was time to head inside. The professors of the University of Havana’s Psychology Department were waiting. This moment was nine months in the making. I was nervous.

My colleagues and I stepped off the bus and up the stairs to the building’s entrance (pictured right). I remember turning around for a photo, then taking a deep breath before heading inside where five or six professors were waiting to greet us. I was finally going to meet my colleague and email friend, Miguel.

Nacie, our Cuban guide pointed out Dr. Miguel Roca. We shook hands, and then hugged. It was a moment I will never forget. We were two psychologists who had connected across borders and looked forward to sharing ideas. He introduced me to the other professors and then led our group to a basement classroom for our joint presentation.

We found the classroom crowded with grad students, professors, and psychologists. Dr. Roca and Dr. Ares Muzio sat facing the classroom, as did I, along with my fellow Atlanta professionals. Our spouses and partners sat in the front row snapping pictures. David Alexander, LPC was my co-mental health professional. The Hon. Lauren Alexander – a former magistrate judge, was our judicial representative, and Bobby Burnett, Jody Miller, and Cindi Alter were our family law attorneys. Naice served as our translator…”

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