By Matthew Cimitile, University Communications and Marketing
USF St. Petersburg Psychology Professor Tiffany Chenneville has been awarded the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Springfield Policy Congressional Fellowship, which will allow her to work with a member of Congress on policies to advance the health and well-being of LGBTQIA+ populations.
The highly competitive APA Congressional Fellowship provides psychologists with the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill for a year, utilizing their expertise in service of public policy. Fellows work on the staff of a member of Congress drafting legislation, analyzing research, assisting with congressional hearings and preparing briefs.
“This experience will be unlike anything I have ever done, which makes it so exciting,” said Chenneville, who is also the Marie E. and E. Leslie Cole Endowed Chair in Ethics. “As an academic, I have contributed to the existing research literature, as a psychologist, I have contributed as a clinician and as a teacher, I have worked with students to train the next generation. But this opportunity will allow me to contribute at a much larger scale and that is what really attracted me to the fellowship.”
Chenneville will start her fellowship in August of 2023. Following a two-week orientation, she will interview in various Congressional offices. She will then be matched with a member of Congress who has been working on LGBTQIA+ policy or wants to work on such issues as part of their portfolio.
Chenneville’s research focuses on pediatric and adolescent HIV, publishing extensively on the psychosocial issues affecting children and youth living with HIV and ethical issues related to research and treatment.
Earlier in her career, she was part of a $1.2-million program funded by the National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center to help build the infrastructure for research ethics committees in medical schools in India. Chenneville also received a Fulbright Specialist Award where she conducted training and consultation on ethical issues related to HIV research and treatment among minors at the perinatal HIV research unit at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.
More recently, Chenneville received a Fulbright Canada Research Chair Award to collaborate with colleagues in the Psychology Department at York University in Toronto.
“HIV disproportionally effects marginalized communities, including LGBTQIA+ populations, so this fellowship is a natural fit for the work I have been doing throughout my career,” she said.
The APA sponsors just three congressional fellows each year, with the goal of contributing psychological knowledge to government and highlighting the importance of the psychological sciences to society.
“Working on Capitol Hill for a year will give me a much better understanding of how policy is formed and enacted, and I hope what I learn I’ll be able to contribute back into the classroom and in my community,” Chenneville said. “The opportunities are pretty endless, and I’m grateful to have the support from USF to allow me to take advantage of it.”