Norm Selection and Application in Socially Responsible Neuropsychological Assessment of Spanish-Speaking Patient Populations

HNS Heritage Month 2023

Dr. Daniel G. Saldana

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The presentation is geared toward an important aspect of neuropsychological assessment and clinical decision making—e.g., the selection and application of normative reference groups. This will be accomplished through looking at case studies and discussing how implementation of normative reference groups affects our clinical judgment.

  1. Identify key characteristic important for critical review of normative reference groups.
  2. Analyze and discuss the use of demographically adjusted reference groups within their practice.
  3. Explain differences between stratified and regression-based normative reference groups.

Daniel G. Saldana completed his Ph.D. in the Clinical Psychology program at the Graduate Center, CUNY, Queens College. He completed his internship and postdoctoral fellowship in Lifespan Cultural Neuropsychology at the Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence (HNCE) at UCLA Semel Institute. His dissertation examined the effects of deep diaphragmatic resonant frequency breathing training on cognitive functioning in healthy young adults. More broadly, Dr. Saldana is interested in cognitive training and has published chapters on the game of chess, elucidating the cognitive differences between experts and novices, and cognitive training across the lifespan. He has also presented case studies illustrating differences between monolingual and bilingual/multicultural neuropsychological assessment. He will soon be starting a new position at the Multicultural Research and Assessment Center (MARC).

  1. Byrd, D. A., Rivera Mindt, M. M., Clark, U. S., Clarke, Y., Thames, A. D., Gammada, E. Z., & Manly, J. J. (2021). Creating an antiracist psychology by addressing professional complicity in psychological assessment. Psychological Assessment, 33(3), 279.
  2. Cherner, M., Marquine, M. J., Umlauf, A., Morlett Paredes, A., Rivera Mindt, M., Suárez, P., … & Heaton, R. K. (2021). Neuropsychological norms for the US-Mexico border region in Spanish (NP-NUMBRS) project: Methodology and sample characteristics. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 35(2), 253-268.
  3. Morlett Paredes, A., Gooding, A., Artiola i Fortuny, L., Rivera Mindt, M., Suárez, P., Scott, T. M., … & Marquine, M. J. (2021). The state of neuropsychological test norms for Spanish-speaking adults in the United States. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 35(2), 236-252.
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Dr. Silva’s parents immigrated from Panama and Chile to the United States, and she was born and raised in melting pot that is New York City. She grew up speaking Spanish at home and feels fortunate to have grown up in an environment where cultural diversity was the norm, not the exception.

During her training to become a neuropsychologist, Dr. Silva was often asked to work with Spanish-speaking patients, though most training sites did not have supervisors who also spoke Spanish or had sufficient cultural knowledge relevant to Latinx populations. She joined HNS as a student and found mentorship and training resources that helped her gain competency in providing neuropsychological services to these patients. Dr. Silva has served on the HNS Board as Member-at-Large (2014-2016) and Secretary (2019-2022). She has also been involved with several committees over the years and is currently serving as the Chair of the Information Technology (IT) Committee. She views HNS as the main organization to promote development of professional resources and scientific advancements in neuropsychology that are specific to Latinx groups; she is honored to help the organization in any way she can. 

Dr. Silva is the owner of Pacific Neurobehavioral Clinic, PC, a group practice in San Diego, California that offers neuropsychological evaluation and psychotherapy services to adults with various neuropsychiatric conditions. She engages in clinical and civil forensic work and oversees the clinic operations.

Educational, training and professional experiences include:

  • Doctorate in Clinical Psychology – Florida Institute of Technology
  • Post-doctoral fellowships – Fullerton Neuropsychological Services, St. Jude Medical Center (one year; neurorehabilitation) and University of California San Diego (one year; clinical neuropsychology)
  • Staff neuropsychologist at Sharp Memorial and Grossmont hospitals from 2009-2012
  • Board certified through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) in Clinical Neuropsychology
  • Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME) for the state of California
  • Treasurer and Current Chair of California Psychological Association-Division 8 (Neuropsychology)

In her spare time, Dr. Silva enjoys playing and making music (piano and electronic instruments; she recently took up learning how to play the theremin), playing tennis, karaoke, and spending time with family and friends.