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Event at ARCH for victims of earthquake in Haiti. Meeta Kumar (right, Staff Psychologist at CAPS) Credit: Lionel Nicolau , Lionel Nicolau

After long-time Director June Chu departed from the Pan-Asian American Community House, the Asian American resource center has named Meeta Kumar the interim director of the organization.

Kumar — a Graduate School of Education alumna — is currently the associate director of Outreach and Prevention at Penn’s Counseling and Psychological Services. During her 12 years at Penn, Kumar has worked with individual students and student groups to organize events and programming focused on mental wellness.

Kumar will remain as PAACH’s interim director until a permanent director is hired. According to Kumar, a search will be spearheaded by Will Gibson, the associate vice provost for Equity and Access. Kumar sat down with The Daily Pennsylvanian to discuss her new position.

The Daily Pennsylvanian: Have you worked with PAACH in the past?

Meeta Kumar: I’ve been a long time liaison to PAACH. In that capacity I’ve functioned as a clinical consultant and worked with students in clinical programming and mental wellness workshops. I’ve also helped to begin a mental wellness camp that has become a student-led initiative on campus.

DP: As the associate director of CAPS, what are your responsibilities?

MK: I’m in charge of all outreach and prevention services, which encompasses many different things, including connecting with the community and raising awareness of mental health within students and faculty and staff.

I work with different things outside of individual psychotherapy and work a lot with various student groups on campus to reach out.

A lot of programming is easier to do when you’re in the community so we try to stay creative. We reach about 7,000 students, staff and faculty over the course of the year with our various programming and events.

DP: Have you learned things during your time at CAPS that you will take with you to PAACH?

MK: I think I bring with me a pretty strong network and connection with the entire Penn community here in terms of connecting PAACH to new student constituents.

I’m Asian-American myself so … I think I understand issues APA students deal with at Penn. Knowing the people here is helpful and the students I know working with them on programming the last couple of years.

DP: What do you hope to accomplish?

MK: PAACH is a well-oiled machine and the staff has a strong dedicated commitment to the students and the students are very strong here. I think this is a great opportunity for students and staff as well as the community to think of a future direction for PAACH.

I would like to work to strengthen the connection of PAACH with the Penn community by reaching out to more student constituents here.

We want to be very inclusive and help students think about it in various ways.

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