Biographical Information

Cynthia Telles, Ph.D.

Director, Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA


​Dr. Cynthia Telles is the Director of the Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Medicine, and a clinical professor with the UCLA School of Medicine. Since April 2003 Dr. Telles has served on the boards of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. where she chairs the Community Benefit Committee and also is a member of the Audit and Compliance Committee and Executive Committee, and serves on the Executive Advisory Board of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia, Inc. Dr. Telles also serves on the Los Angeles Airport Commission

Dr. Telles is a founding board member of the Public Policy Institute of California, and previously served on the boards of the California Endowment (as board chair from 2004 to 2006), Sanwa Bank, Americas United Bank and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. She served on the boards of General Motors, the Pacific Council on International Policy, a non-partisan international affairs organization, the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, and the California Community Foundation (Immediate Past Chair).

Dr. Telles was appointed by President Obama to the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. She formerly served on the Mental Health Task Force for the Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga., and on the National Advisory Council to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (DHHS) during the Clinton administration. Dr. Telles served for 16 years as Commissioner of the City of Los Angeles, and also served as vice president of the City of Los Angeles Ethics Commission and the Los Angeles Board of Library Commissioners, as president of the Los Angeles Commission on the Status of Women, and as a member of the Los Angeles Commission on Children, Youth and Families.

Throughout her career, Dr. Telles has received many awards and commendations from organizations and governmental entities across the Nation. Dr. Telles was selected by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the Nation in 2006 and in 2010.

Dr. Telles received a bachelor of arts degree from Smith College and a doctorate degree in clinical psychology from Boston University. She has published extensively in mental health, particularly with respect to the assessment and treatment of Hispanic populations.