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Batsirai Bvunzawabaya is the new associate director for Outreach and Prevention at CAPS.

Credit: Caroline Chin

Penn’s Counseling and Psychological Services has a new addition to its team. Batsirai Bvunzawabaya replaces former Director for Outreach and Prevention Meeta Kumar in the latest turnover in CAPS leadership. 

Bvunzawabaya, known as “Batsi,” is a familiar face on Penn’s campus. She began working at CAPS in 2011 as a psychology intern and over the years has worked as both a post-doctoral fellow and a staff psychologist, the Penn Almanac reported

While serving as a clinician, Bvunzawabaya was a member of the Eating Concerns Team and the Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention Team at CAPS. She was a facilitator of the staff Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee and a member of the Intercultural Leadership Program, according to the Penn Almanac. 

"I'm excited and honored to serve to serve in this expanded role at CAPS," Bvunzawabaya wrote in a statement. "I look forward to spending even more time with students and campus partners working on wellness initiatives." 

When Kumar temporarily took the reins as deputy executive director after former CAPS director Bill Alexander retired in August 2018, Bvunzawabaya served in an interim role and “provided leadership to many of the outreach and prevention efforts” on campus, the Penn Almanac reported. 

Kumar now leads as director of the Student Counseling Service at University of Chicago, where she began Sept. 1. She left Penn after being a part of CAPS for more than 20 years. Kumar arrived on Penn’s campus as a staff psychologist in 1998 and was eventually promoted to director of Outreach and Prevention Services in the mid-2000s. 

Credit: Cindy Chen Bvunzawabaya formerly served as a clinician at CAPS and was a member of their Eating Concerns Team and the Sexual Trauma Treatment Outreach and Prevention Team. (File Photo)

“I am excited to join a great team at the University of Chicago and shape a new vision for wellness during this exciting phase of growth,” Kumar said in a press release.

Just three weeks into her time as deputy executive director, Kumar instituted a number of changes last year that addressed students’ critiques of CAPS. Under Kumar, CAPS launched a pilot program last August that allowed students to speak to a CAPS clinician by phone during all hours of the day, rather than just during nighttime and weekends. 

As the new leader of the Outreach and Prevention program, Bvunzawabaya will take over many of the initiatives Kumar previously oversaw, including providing leadership for I Care, a program providing training for dealing with student stress, heading up the liaison program, and connecting CAPS staff to other departments. 

“Batsi has formed essential relationships across the University of Pennsylvania campus and is an exceptional psychologist. We look forward to her continued leadership around mental health outreach and prevention efforts,” Gregory Eells, executive director of CAPS, told the Penn Almanac. 

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