Intersectionality Statement

Largely comprised of people who have been historically excluded and marginalized, the members of the Hispanic Neuropsychological Society (HNS) are committed to practicing inclusivity, promoting access to quality healthcare for all, and speaking out against discriminatory practices.

As an organization whose primary goal is to serve the healthcare needs of Hispanic/Latinas/os/es, the Hispanic Neuropsychological Society (HNS) recognizes that meeting the needs of this population requires more than simply relying on the limited number of providers with linguistic diversity. As an organization, we acknowledge that meeting the needs of the Hispanic/Latina/o/es patient population means to think and act in intentional ways to resist the normative standards of healthcare practice that routinely marginalize people of color and low socioeconomic status. To “act intentionally” requires members to understand that the extreme health disparities that exist between Hispanics/Latinas/os/esx and their white, Non-Hispanic/Latina/o/e counterparts is born out of institutionalized/structural discrimination that is built into all major social institutions in this country, including the political, legal, economic, cultural, medical, and educational. Due to structural discrimination, Hispanics/Latinas/os/es (and other people of color) have been and continue to be overrepresented in positions of labor but woefully underrepresented in positions of power in every aforementioned category. Additionally, poor health is a direct outcome impacting minoritized communities given such an environment.  As such, the HNS is committed to healthcare practices that are inclusive of all members from various backgrounds such as race/ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation, language, immigration status, etc. Due to its commitment to solidarity through multicultural membership, the goal of the HNS rests on “intentional engagement” among all colleagues to not only reduce, but to eventually eliminate, health disparities locally and globally.

Roughly 19% of the United States (US) 2020 census respondents identified themselves as Hispanic or Latino/a/e.

While language differences are only one aspect of culture that might differ from the Hispanic or Latino/a/e communities and the dominant culture, we want to highlight the unique challenge that Spanish-speaking communities face in the US with respect to receiving equitable neuropsychological services.

The precise number of these respondents who speak Spanish, or any other official Latin American language/dialect is unknown. However, the census revealed that approximately 13% of the US population speaks Spanish, which is the predominant language in Latin America. Additionally, it is estimated that by the year 2050, 1 in 3 people in the US will speak Spanish. Estimates from a paper written by Sweet and colleagues published the same year show that Hispanic/Latina/o/e neuropsychologists comprise less than 5% of the practicing clinicians. The juxtaposition of these numbers evidences the shortage of neuropsychologists who can meet the cultural and/or linguistic needs of the Hispanic/Latina/o/e population in the US.

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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.