Evelyn M. Kappeler is the Director of the HHS Office of Adolescent Health, a position she has held since July 29, 2012. Ms. Kappeler was first appointed in 2010 by the Assistant Secretary for Health to build and to lead, in an acting capacity, the newly funded Office of Adolescent Health (OAH).
Ms. Kappeler established the office and implemented its signature $110 million grant program aimed at reducing teen pregnancy through the replication of evidence-based program models and research and demonstration projects. In May 2012, the Office of Management and Budget cited the Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) Program as an example for other agencies of how to implement an evidence-based grant program. The TPP program has features unique among federally-funded grant programs. Applying her knowledge of government systems, Ms. Kappeler crafted agreements with the Administration on Children and Families to fund grant programs to test previously unproven approaches to teen pregnancy prevention using a jointly issued funding announcement and partnered with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support innovative, multi-component, community-wide initiatives in areas with very high teen rates of teen pregnancy and births. Another distinctive feature of the grant program is the collaborative approach to evaluation undertaken with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). ASPE, OAH, and the other federal agencies collaborate on performance measures for grantees, grantee-led program evaluation, and two federal evaluations. Ms. Kappeler believes strongly in supporting all grantees with training and technical support to help ensure successful implementation of the projects and successful implementation of rigorous evaluations so that federal investments yield measureable results.
In addition to the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, Ms. Kappeler implemented the Pregnancy Assistance Fund program, a competitive $25 million grant program for states and tribes to serve pregnant and parenting teens, funded by the Affordable Care Act. She provides leadership for programs which provide services to young parents to help them complete their education, locate housing or other assistance, and address and prevent interpersonal violence.
Ms. Kappeler convened the HHS-wide Adolescent Health Working Group, a first of its kind collaboration among the many HHS agencies and offices with interest in ensuring the health of adolescents and young adults. The group focuses on their shared interests in promoting healthy social, emotional and physical development during adolescence to help teens grow into productive, healthy adults and reaching adolescents who are most in need of integrated, coordinated services and care.
Ms. Kappeler previously served as the Acting Director of the HHS Office of Population Affairs (OPA) where she managed the office and oversaw an expansion of the Title X National Family Planning Program; strengthened the performance and evaluation of the Adolescent Family Life Program; and revitalized OPA research and communications activities. During her tenure as a senior policy analyst in ASPE, she handled numerous special projects and policy briefings on family planning, family and child care issues, and adolescent health.
She began her career in Washington, DC as a legislative assistant in the Governor’s Office of the State of Illinois. Ms. Kappeler, graduate of the State University of New York at Brockport, has been awarded numerous commendations and awards for her outstanding government service.