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Dr. Telles speaks and reads Spanish fluently.
- Illustrative photo -

Published Wednesday, June 16, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff and wire services

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced his intent to nominate Dr. Cynthia Ann Telles as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Costa Rica.

According to the White House, Dr. Telles speaks and reads Spanish fluently.

She is a Clinical Professor in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and serves on the Executive Committee of the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

For over three decades, Telles has also been the Director of the UCLA Spanish-Speaking Psychosocial Clinic and is the founding and current Director of the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence.

She has served on the Board of the Pacific Council on International Policy, was the Chair of the Los Angeles/U.S. Section of the Mexico-Los Angeles Commission and has also engaged on numerous City of Los Angeles Commissions including on the Board of Airport Commissioners.

On the national level, Telles has been a member of the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars and the National Advisory Council of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services. Currently, she serves on the Board of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals.

She was a founding Board member of Americas United Bank, the first Hispanic commercial bank to be chartered in California in over 30 years.

Her numerous philanthropic partnerships included service as the Chair of the California Community Foundation and as a member, Vice-Chair, and Chair of the Board of The California Endowment, the largest health foundation in California.

Telles received a B.A. from Smith College and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Boston University.

More information will be provided as it comes.

Telles will replace Sharon Day as the Costa Rica ambassador.  Day was on duty from 2017 to 2020.

What could be the most important challenge for the new U.S. Ambassador? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to


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