President Joe Biden has nominated Dr. Cynthia Ann Telles for the position of U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Costa Rica.
The news was announced Tuesday by the White House. Telles is described as follows by the White House:
Dr. Cynthia Telles 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. She speaks and reads Spanish fluently.
The United States Constitution allows the president to nominate ambassadors, who are approved “by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate.”
Among her many other previous roles in healthcare, Telles was appointed by President Obama to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars (2010-2017).
She earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from Boston University and has written numerous publications about mental health in Hispanic and other underserved populations, according to her website.
The U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica is currently headed by Chargé d’Affaires Gloria Berbena. The previous U.S. Ambassador, appointed by President Donald Trump, was Sharon Day.