Sánchez Cesáreo holds a doctorate in Clinical-Community Psychology with a minor in Women Studies from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Currently, Sánchez-Cesáreo is the Executive Director of Instituto Tercera Misión (IM3) at Carlos Albizu University and the Director of the Division of Community Services (DCS) at the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico.
Sánchez-Cesáreo has worked in the prevention field since 1989. She has extensive expertise in program development, program evaluation, capacity building, technical assistance, community based-research and evidence-based interventions.
Between 1993 and 2007 she worked in violence prevention in Illinois at the state, county and neighborhood level. In this role she worked with organizations such as: Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois Violence Prevention Authority, Illinois Center for Violence Prevention, Illinois Battered Women Coalition, Chicago Battered Women Coalition, Major’s Office for Domestic Violence, Chicago Abused Women Coalition, South West Women Working Together, and Women’s Counseling Center.
From 2003 to 2005 she worked at the national level as part of the Adolescent HIV Trial Network-Connect to Protect Project sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. She managed and oversaw community mobilization and training aspects of the Connect To Protect Project nationwide. Oversaw the provision of technical assistance to 15 local sites and negotiated the collaboration between the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on the project.
For the last 12 years her work has focused in the promotion of policies, practices and program that promote the optimal development of children and youth and in addressing health disparities that affect their lives. It is noteworthy that in collaboration with community partners, currently her team is implementing 10 evidence-based interventions.
In 2012, she spearheaded a local effort to institute the Puerto Rico Evidence Based Board (www.juntapbepr.org). The PR-EBB’s mission is to identify, establish, provide and disseminate preventive evidence practices and programs in Puerto Rico. In this we developed the first digital database of EBPs as well as culturally competent EBPs for substance abuse, cancer, neurological diseases, HIV, cardiovascular diseases, child maltreatment, home visiting/parenting, community violence and positive youth development in PR (www.archivopbe.info). In early 2017, the topic of positive youth development was featured, while in 2018, the newest topic, intimate partner’s violence, will be included.
For the last 16 years her work has focused on the development Parenting Fundamentals (PF), an evidence-based parenting education intervention focus on: Improving parental knowledge of child development, nonviolent discipline, and positive parenting; promoting parental support for children’s academic achievement; stimulate and support in-home environments; and lower parents’ risk for child maltreatment. PF was register in National Register of Evidence-based Programs & Practices in 2012. PF has been implemented with over 8,000 in Illinois and Puerto Rico. Currently the program is implemented in a large scale-up in over 20 municipalities in Puerto Rico.
In 2018 she was designated to represent Puerto Rico as the first delegate to represent her country in the International Union of Psychological Sciences.
She has been recognized by the Puerto Rico Psychology Association as the Psychologist of the Year in 2011 and for Contributions to Public Policy in 2016.
Her current portfolio amounts to 6 million dollars and includes 36 community-based evaluation, implementation and research project funded by government agencies in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as by private human service organizations seeking to respond to evaluation questions of importance to improve their policies or programs.