Marizaida Sánchez Cesáreo holds a doctorate in Clinical Community Psychology with a minor in Women Studies from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Currently, she is the Executive President of Grupo Nexos Inc. and Director of the Division of Community Services (DCS) at the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Puerto Rico. She 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 Marizaida worked in violence prevention in Illinois at the state, county, and neighborhood levels. From 2003 to 2005 Marizaida 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. Marizaida 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 14 years, her work has focused on the promotion of policies, practices, and programs that aim to facilitate the optimal development of children, youth and families by addressing health disparities that affect their lives. It is noteworthy that in collaboration with community partners, currently, her team is implementing 15 evidence-based interventions. Her team raised $41 million in external funding. Implementing over 50 projects based on the principle of Collective Impact and the premise that sustainable social change comes from purposeful work of a triad comprising of implementer, investor, and scientific partner.
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 Spanish, developing the first digital database of EBPs in Spanish (www.archivopbe.info).
For the last 18 years, her work has focused on the development Parenting Fundamentals (PF), an evidence-based parenting education intervention focusing 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 has been implemented with over 8,000 in Illinois and Puerto Rico.
In 2018 she was designated to represent Puerto Rico as the first delegate to the International Union of Psychological Science. Marizaida has been recognized by the Puerto Rico Psychology Association as Psychologist of the Year in 2011 and for Contributions to Public Policy in 2016.