Chisina Kapungu, PhD
Office of Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.)
Kapungu was the 2014–15 Jacquelin Goldman Congressional
Fellow, a position APF funds to support psychologists with
expertise in child development through a bequest by Jacquelin
Kapungu completed her doctoral degree in clinical
psychology at Loyola University Chicago and was an assistant
professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of
Illinois at Chicago. She has conducted community-based
research on family- and faith-centered HIV prevention
and health promotion, and has managed and coordinated
maternal and child health projects with Population Services
International/Zimbabwe, Save the Children Norway and the
Millennium Villages Project.
Kapungu’s experience in public health in Africa was an asset
on Capitol Hill. In her first weeks in the office, she took the lead
in writing bipartisan legislation, the Infectious Disease Hospital
Hubs Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), to
help ensure the United States was prepared for the Ebola virus
“It was just amazing how working in a congressional office
opened doors to key leaders in the scientific and medical
communities,” she says.
Markey is the ranking member of the Africa and Global
Health Foreign Relations Subcommittee, one reason Kapungu
chose to work in his office. Although the bill did not pass,
its provisions were included in the administration’s plan for
addressing Ebola that was put in place.
Once the Ebola crisis subsided, Kapungu worked on other
health issues, such as meeting with various government and
private stakeholders on biomedical research, implementation of
the Affordable Care Act and improving global public health.
Kapungu used her clinical skills over the year to form
partnerships with key private, public and nonprofit entities to
improve maternal and child health outcomes.
“I’m in a unique position as a psychologist because my
research, clinical and community experiences in schools, hospitals
and churches have provided me with an informed perspective to
form policy,” she says. She plans to transition from academia to a
role in global health within a nonprofit or federal agency.
“The fellowship was an amazing experience that only
solidified my desire to work at agencies that promote
international development and global health,” Kapungu says. n
Micah Haskell-Hoehl is the APA Congressional Fellowship
Program administrator and a senior policy associate in the Public
Interest Government Relations Office.
The APA/APF Congressional Fellows Dr. Chisina Kapungu and Dr. Amanda Clinton.