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Hiring new staff members is the latest move CAPS made to expand services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Samantha Turner

Penn's Counseling and Psychological Services hired four new staff members to expand services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CAPS onboarded three new hires who will serve as clinicians and one who will join the Student Health Service behavioral health consulting program. The new hires are not linked to any new programs, but rather will work to expand on current CAPS offerings.

Hiring new staff members is the latest move CAPS made to expand services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Last fall, CAPS expanded its weekly hours from 45 to 57 and launched both in-person and virtual programming.

“With COVID-19 at the center of our daily lives, in addition to climate change, political discourse, financial concerns, and various forms of discrimination, CAPS wants to ensure we are providing impactful mental health resources for our diverse student body,” Director of Communications for Student Wellness Mary Kate Coghlan wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

CAPS clinicians are certified social workers and psychologists who provide counseling services to students upon appointment for a wide range of reasons, including multicultural counseling, issues relating to LGBTQIA identity or discrimination, eating disorders, and stress. CAPS also has clinicians on call for students who need to talk beyond normal office hours. 

CAPS Senior Clinical Director Michal Saraf added that CAPS brought new clinicians on to the staff in order to expand and provide more health services to students.

Dayna Greenspon, a new CAPS clinician who previously worked at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, will split her time between CAPS and the behavioral health consulting team at SHS. The behavioral health program is a resource for providers at CAPS and SHS to call when they deem more holistic consultation is needed for a student. 

CAPS launched its behavioral health consulting team last year in an effort to bridge CAPS and SHS services. At the time of its launch, the program had only one consultant. 

Social worker Amanda Colón will join the general clinician staff at CAPS. Colón has specialty training in mindfulness. 

Jasmine Johnson will serve as a staff psychologist. A Philadelphia native, Johnson has experience with counseling centers, including working at Drexel and La Salle universities. 

Vincent Walford will also serve as a staff psychologist. Walford has previous experience in counseling centers and will join Batsirai Bvunzawabaya’s team focused on outreach and prevention. 

Saraf said CAPS is excited to welcome these therapists to the team, adding that they bring a diversity of identity and experience which is “reflective of the Penn community.”