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I am bilingual in English and Spanish and was born and raised in Costa Rica, where I completed my medical education. I received my adult psychiatric training at the University of Massachusetts, my child psychiatric training at the University of California, San Francisco and my Infant-Parent Mental Health training at the University of California Davis.
I enjoy working with issues related to parenting, pre or post-conception, adoption, parenthood, and the life adjustments that this requires. No amount of preparation lets you know ahead of time what is like to be a parent, and each child presents something different. I believe mothers and fathers have a powerful influence in the upbringing of their children. At the same time, parents are changed by their children in unique ways. I also have a deep interest in women’s mental health and related issues such as body image, pregnancy, post-partum adjustment, and perinatal mood and hormonal changes.
As a psychiatrist I have expertise in anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders, ADHD, panic disorder, trauma, behavioral issues, separation anxiety, self-esteem and school issues.
Personally, and professionally, I am interested in the mind-body connection, and have received training in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and yoga.
In addition to my medical education I completed an MBA at the Georgia Institute of Technology. My career path has had some interesting turns since I have had a variety of jobs outside medicine. This multitude of experiences has given me a broader perspective on how people behave and allows me to relate more deeply to the different needs of my patients.

About: About


  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology: General and Adult Psychiatry

  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


  • General Adult Psychiatry Residency: University of Massachusetts

  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship: University of California, San Francisco

  • Infant-Parent Mental Health Fellowship, Napa: University of California, Davis

  • Master in Business Administration: Georgia Institute of Technology


  • Medical School: Universidad de Costa Rica

  • Bachelor of Science: Universidad de Costa Rica


  • Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Training Program: San Francisco Center for Psychoanalysis


  • American Psychiatric Association, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship, Chair

  • American Psychiatric Association, SAMHSA Minority Fellowship

  • Massachusetts Medical Society and Alliance Charitable Foundation, International Health Studies Grant


  • Vargas Cruz, C., Hodge, S., Padilla, A., Frazier, J. (2016). Assessing Impact of Mental Health Education for Adolescents in Rural Costa Rica. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 55(10) S153-S154.


Vargas Cruz, C., Benjamin, S., Schlozman, S., Nowicki. S. (2016). Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities: Myth and Reality. Workshop at American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting

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