The California School of Professional Psychology has a network of thousands of accomplished and inspiring alumni. Among them, is Congresswoman Judy Chu. Dr. Chu earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at our Los Angeles campus. She then went on to become the first Chinese-American woman, and the first female psychologist, elected to the United States Congress.
In her role as a member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Chu champions policies that ensure each American has access to mental health care and has served as a true advocate in the effort to abolish the stigma that abounds in issues surrounding mental illness.
We sat down with Dr. Chu and discussed her journey, her impact, and her call to action for the next generation of leaders in the field of psychology and beyond.
"...I decided that I just really had to change and do something that would help people, so I made the drastic decision to pursue a my graduate degree in clinical psychology.”
“It was back in 1979 when I graduated from here, but I remember the fateful decision that I took to switch from my original major, which was math, to clinical psychology. And it was because I took an Asian-American Studies class and discovered all the discriminatory laws that had been passed in decades prior, and the effect on people psychologically, on their self-esteem, and on their feeling of empowerment…and that’s when I decided that I just really had to change and do something that would help people, so I made the drastic decision to pursue a my graduate degree in clinical psychology.”
"...I am encouraging all our mental health professionals to raise their voices, to talk to our decision makers, to maybe be a decision maker— whichever way you can— give your input, because it will definitely have an impact.”
“I had many unexpected twists and turns which led me, the psychologist, to become a member of Congress. But in Congress, I‘ve decided to take up the cause of mental health treatment and health treatment. So, I fought to get on the Ways and Means Committee— which is considered the most powerful committee in the House of Representatives—and I asked to be appointed to the health subcommittee. So, I am involved right in the middle of all of the issues pertaining to healthcare treatment in our country right now. And, in addressing these issues I actually draw upon my experiences back at Alliant University. The different internships that I was in, the counseling that I did—I was able to counsel rape victims, I was able to counsel students at a university, I was able to counsel blue collar workers at a county mental health center—
And, I use those examples constantly to shape my view and to talk about why we have to take certain actions that will be beneficial to Americans across this country.”
Her Call to Action
“It is so important for our mental health professionals to keep active. Their voices will have a great deal of impact because they will have heard the most intimate feelings of their clients. They will have heard their clients’ fear and anxiety as well as hopes and dreams, and their understanding of what is happening to people all across this country is very valuable input to those decision makers in Washington, D.C. and in Sacramento. So, I am encouraging all our mental health professionals to raise their voices, to talk to our decision makers, to maybe be a decision maker— whichever way you can— give your input, because it will definitely have an impact.”
To learn more about Congresswoman Chu, visit her website here. To learn more about our Clinical psychology degrees, visit our program pages here.