Sandra Calles, PhD

Dr. Sandra Calles is a psychologist, educator, life coach, mentor and activist. Her passion is to advocate for causes she believes in, teach about mental health topics, and guide others, so they may achieve success in their personal and career endeavors.

She has over 11 years of experience as a mental health professional having worked at various mental health facilities. Most recently she was a therapist at Los Angeles Harbor College at the Life Skills Center. While at Harbor College, she helped many students overcome emotional obstacles so they could transfer to universities and meet their career goals. She devotes her personal and professional life to political causes, and activities that promote mental health, women’s issues, the empowerment of Latinas through education, business ownership, financial literacy and political engagement. Dr. Sandra is a graduate of California State University, Dominguez Hills, earning both a BA in Human Services and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She earned her doctorate from Saybrook University in Psychology, where she developed a treatment modality from her research on survivors of sudden cardiac death. The treatment plan known as PROSPER, is an acronym detailing a healing plan that can be applied to survivors of various traumas and is the underpinning for the work she does with her clients..... Continue Reading


Validating the Mexican American Intergenerational Caregiving

S Escandón – The Qualitative Report, 2011
… The purpose of this study was to substantiate and further develop a previously formulated
conceptual model of Role Acceptance in Mexican American family caregivers … In addition, results
inform health professionals about the ways in which Hispanic caregivers view caregiving. …

Link to study

The Meaning of Numbers in Health: Exploring Health Numeracy in a Mexican-American Population

Marilyn M. Schapira, Kathlyn E. Fletcher, Pamela S. Ganschow, Cindy M. Walker, Bruce Tyler, Sam Del Pozo, Carrie Schauer and Elizabeth A. Jacobs
Original Research
The Meaning of Numbers in Health: Exploring Health Numeracy in a Mexican-American Population
Health numeracy can be defined as the ability to use numeric information in the context of health. The interpretation and application of numbers in health may vary across cultural groups.
To explore the construct of health numeracy among persons who identify as Mexican American.
Qualitative focus group study. Groups were stratified by preferred language and level of education. Audio-recordings were transcribed and Spanish groups (n = 3) translated to English. An analysis was conducted using principles of grounded theory.
A purposeful sample of participants from clinical and community sites in the Milwaukee and Chicago metropolitan areas.
A theoretical framework of health numeracy was developed based upon categories and major themes that emerged from the analysis.
Six focus groups were conducted with 50 participants. Initial agreement in coding was 59–67% with 100% reached after reconciliation by the coding team. Three major themes emerged: 1) numeracy skills are applied to a broad range of communication and decision making tasks in health, 2) affective and cognitive responses to numeric information influence use of numbers in the health setting, and 3) there exists a strong desire to understand the meaning behind numbers used in health. The findings informed a theoretical framework of health numeracy.
Numbers are important across a range of skills and applications in health in a sample of an urban Mexican-American population. This study expands previous work that strives to understand the application of numeric skills to medical decision making and health behaviors
Link to abstract

Mexican American and Immigrant poverty in the United States

G. Garcia – 2011
… and health care applications • Methods and estimates for unique populations such as schools
and students Volumes in the series are of interest to researchers, professionals, and students …
Ginny Garcia Mexican American and Immigrant Poverty in the United States 123 Page 5. …

Link to article

Research Briefs Cervical Cancer Screening and Older Mexican American Women: A Case Study

Research in Gerontological Nursing Vol. 4 No. 1 January 2011

By Bertha “Penny” Flores, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC; Deborah L. Volker, PhD, RN, AOCN


The purpose of this study was to explore an older Mexican American woman’s decision-making process to engage in cervical cancer screening. A qualitative single case study design was used along with a purposive, typical case sampling strategy. The participant, a 52-year-old Mexican American woman, was interviewed using a semi-structured format. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze the data. The analytic process revealed three concepts and motivators that influenced the participant’s behavior regarding cervical cancer screening practices: knowledge, family history, and sexual history. As such, these findings are useful for crafting subsequent investigations. Although the study participant’s experience is instructive regarding facilitators or motivators for engaging in screening practices, further exploration of barriers faced by older Mexican American women who decline to be screened is warranted.

Ms. Flores is Clinical Assistant Professor, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, and a 2009-2011 John A. Hartford Foundation Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Scholar and a doctoral student, The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, and Dr. Volker is Associate Professor, The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing, Austin, Texas.

The authors disclose that they have no significant financial interests in any product or class of products discussed directly or indirectly in this activity. The authors acknowledge support from the John A. Hartford Foundation for Bertha “Penny” Flores.

Address correspondence to Bertha “Penny” Flores, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC, Clinical Assistant Professor, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229; e-mail:

Received: July 20, 2010; Accepted: October 27, 2010; Posted: December 29, 2010


Link to journal

Sources of Parental Knowledge in Mexican American Families

1. Michelle K. Blocklin1,*,
2. Ann C. Crouter2,
3. Kimberly A. Updegraff3,
4. Susan M. McHale4

Article first published online: 7 JAN 2, 2011


* cultural orientations;
* Mexican American families;
* parent-child relationships;
* parental monitoring;
* sources of knowledge;
* youth adjustment

We examined correlates of sources of parental knowledge of youths’ experiences in Mexican American families, including child self-disclosure, parental solicitation, spouse, siblings, and individuals outside the family. Home and phone interviews were conducted with mothers, fathers, and their seventh-grade male and female offspring in 246 Mexican American families. Results indicated that mothers and fathers relied on different sources of knowledge; parent-child relationship quality and cultural orientations predicted parents’ sources of knowledge, and different sources had different implications for youth adjustment. Specifically, child disclosure to mothers and fathers’ reliance on their spouse were consistently linked to better youth outcomes. Moderation analyses revealed that correlates of parents’ knowledge sources were not always uniform across mothers and fathers or daughters and sons.

Family Relations

Volume 60, Issue 1, pages 30–44, February

Link to article

Perceptions of Discrimination among Mexican American Families of Seriously Ill Children

Betty Davies, R.N., Ph.D., FAAN,1,2
Judith Larson, Ph.D., F.T.,1
Nancy Contro, M.S.W.,3 and
Ana P. Cabrera, M.A.1
Accepted September 2, 2010

This paper describes Mexican American family members’ descriptions of perceived discrimination by pediatric health care providers (HCPs) and the families’ reactions to the HCPs’ discriminatory conduct. A retrospective, grounded theory design guided the overall study. Content analysis of interviews with 13 participants from 11 families who were recruited from two children’s hospitals in Northern California resulted in numerous codes and revealed that participants perceived discrimination when they were treated differently from other, usually white, families. They believed they were treated differently because they were Mexican, because they were poor, because of language barriers, or because of their physical appearance.

Participants reported feeling hurt, saddened, and confused regarding the differential treatment they received from HCPs who parents perceived “should care equally for all people.”

They struggled to understand and searched for explanations. Few spoke up about unfair treatment or complained about poor quality of care. Most assumed a quiet, passive position, according to their cultural norms of respecting authority figures by being submissive and not questioning them. Participants did not perceive all HCPs as discriminatory; their stories of discrimination derived from encounters with individual nurses or physicians. However, participants were greatly affected by the encounters, which continue to be painful memories.

Despite increasing efforts to provide culturally competent palliative care, there is still need for improvement. Providing opportunities for changing HCPs’ beliefs and behaviors is essential to developing cultural competence.

Link to Journal

Reaching underserved populations and cultural competence in diabetes education Sharon A. Brown, Alexandra A. Garcia and Maria Winchell

Diabetes self-management education has gained in importance over the past decade as research has documented the benefits of such interventions in improving glucose control and reducing diabetes-related complications. Although minority populations bear a disproportionate burden of diabetes, past strategies have not addressed cultural characteristics of groups typically underrepresented in diabetes research. Recent research literature on the development of culturally competent diabetes self-management is summarized and an example of a culturally competent intervention designed for Spanishspeaking Mexican Americans is presented. Recent research is laying the foundation for future intervention development to meet the cultural needs of racial/ethnic groups.

Health | Leave a comment

Drug Usage and Health Characteristics in Non-Institutionalized Mexican-American Elderly

This paper reports the results of in-depth interviews with thirty-two elderly Mexican-Americans (average age, sixty-nine) with respect to: 1) their total drug usage including prescription, over-the-counter, and social; 2) attitudes towards physicians and medicines; 3) physical health; and 4) the quality of life. The results show that minimal potential hazardous drug interactions were in evidence and, in general, their attitudes towards physicians and the prevalence of chronic illnesses reported were comparable to national Health Interview Surveys and an earlier pilot investigation of elderly Anglo-Americans. In addition, Mexican-Americans show a disinclination to utilize over-the-counter drugs to alleviate minor ailments. Key differences are identified and explained as a result of social class or ethnic variations. The paper concludes that policy makers and professionals involved in health care delivery systems for the aging should become aware of the special needs of different ethnic and socio-economic groups.

Journal of Drug Education
Issue:   Volume 10, Number 4 / 1980
Pages:   343 – 353

A. M. Vener A1, L. R. Krupka A2, J. J. Climo A1

A1 Department of Social Science, Michigan State University
A2 Department of Natural Science, Michigan State University

Physician-Assisted Suicide Attitudes of Older Mexican-American and Non-Hispanic White Adults: Does Ethnicity Make a Difference?

by David V. Espino MD, R. Lillianne Macias BA, Robert C. Wood Dr PH, Johanna Becho BA, Melissa Talamantes MS, M. Rosina Finley MD, Arthur E. Hernandez PhD, Rubén Martinez PhD

Article first published online: 1 JUN 2010

Little is known about attitudes toward physician-assisted suicide (PAS) in various ethnic groups. This study compares attitudes held by older Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic whites and examines subject characteristics that may influence their responses. A convenience sample of 100 older Mexican Americans and 108 non-Hispanic whites (n=208) aged 60 to 89 were recruited from four primary care community-based practice sites in San Antonio, Texas. Interview items measured attitudes toward PAS, cognitive status, functional status, and religiosity.

Older Mexican Americans (52.7%) reported stronger agreement than non-Hispanic whites (33.7%) with PAS. Male sex (odds ratio (OR)=2.62, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.09–6.35) predicted agreement with legalization in Mexican Americans, whereas lower religiosity scores (OR=0.84, 95% CI=0.75–0.94) were predictive of agreement in older non-Hispanic whites.

This study is the first to find positive attitudes among community-dwelling older Mexican Americans toward PAS that are higher than those of older non-Hispanic white adults. Sex and religious views were important determinants of positive attitudes toward PAS. Larger, more-generalizable studies should be conducted to confirm the attitudinal patterns that have been identified in this study.

© 2010, Copyright the Authors. Journal compilation © 2010, The American Geriatrics Society


Photo Collections

Selected photos England and Belgium, 2016


Selected photos Filoli Gardens, Spring 2017, Spain, England, and Belgium

You may purchase any photo from the Photos Collections for $.99 each. Please email with your order request.

“…And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while…”

T.S. Eliot
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Press Release

2015 Annual Report on Mexican American Professionals Now Available

The 2015 Annual Report on Mexican American Professionals is now available on

News from the 2015 American Community Service shows good increases in the numbers of Mexican Americans attending college, achieving educational attainment, and holding jobs in industries including science, management, and business.

• Mexican American college enrollment increased from 18.7% to 18.9% between 2014 and 2015
• Graduate or professional degree attainment among Mexican Americans rose from 2.9% to 3.0%
• The number of Mexican Americans achieving bachelor’s degrees rose from 7.6% to 7.8% in 2015

Despite these numbers, Mexican Americans are still near the bottom of college enrollment and educational attainment by race and ethnicity.

The University of California is proactive in pushing for a greater number of underrepresented minorities. The number Chicano/Latino students attending UOC increased by 2.7% since 2014; this group now makes up 32.3% of admitted university freshmen.

In terms of occupations, the number of Mexican Americans making up part of the management, business, science, and art occupations continues to rise, from 16.6% to 17.5% from 2012 to 2015. Mexican Americans have also seen consistent numbers in the professional, scientific, management, administrative, and waste management services occupations, keeping steady at 10.2% of all jobs in these fields held by Mexican Americans.

These numbers represent continuing gains in higher education and professional jobs for Mexican Americans. For more, visit