2019 CAPHLD Executive Council and Officers

Denise VonBargen, MS, President

Denise has been the laboratory director at the Ventura County Public Health Laboratory since 2015. She received her Bachelors of Science degree in Medical Microbiology and Bacteriology from San Diego State University. She has over 20 years’ experience as a Public Health Microbiologist. Denise has previously worked in the pharmaceutical industry and as a sales representative. She enjoys teaching and works to ensure that the next generation of public health microbiologists trained in her laboratory have a solid foundation in microbiology.

Godfred Masinde, PhD, HCLD(ABB), President Elect

Dr. Godfred Masinde is presently the Public Health Laboratory Director for City and County of San Francisco Public Health Laboratory, San Francisco, California. He is responsible for overall administration and management of SF Public Health Laboratory. Dr. Masinde holds: BS (Zoology) and MS(Medical Parasitology/Immunology) from University of Nairobi-Kenya, a PhD in Medical/Molecular Microbiology from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, and MBA (Marketing) from Baker College in Flint, Michigan. He also holds the following certifications: Public Health Microbiologist (State of California), High Complexity Laboratory Director (ABB), Molecular Biologist (ASCP), Microbiologist (ASCP), Clinical Microbiology Specialist (State of CA) and Clinical Microbiologist (Director) (State of CA). 

Megan Crumpler, PhD, D(ABMM), Secretary-Treasurer

Dr. Megan Crumpler received her bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and Cell Science from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. She obtained her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, VA where she studied the immune evasion techniques of Cytomegalovirus on guinea pigs. She successfully completed the doctoral program in 2008 and went on to do a one-year post-doctoral fellowship at VCU in the Infectious Disease division where she studied inflammatory markers released in HIV-infected patients. In 2009, she moved to California and assumed a Supervising Public Health Microbiologist (PHM) position at the Riverside County Public Health Laboratory while training towards her PHM certification. Shortly after becoming a certified PHM, Dr. Crumpler was promoted to Assistant Laboratory Director in September 2011. In May 2014, Dr. Crumpler completed her laboratory director training and was board certified by the American Board of Bioanalysis as a High-Complexity Clinical Laboratory Director. Dr. Crumpler is an active member of CAPHLD and currently serves as co-chair of its Training Committee, a member of CAPHLD’s Program Planning Committee,  and CAPHLD’s representative to the CA Department of Public Health’s Reportable Diseases Subcommittee.

Beatrix Kapusinszky, Ph.D., PHLD(ABB), Representative at Large (North)

Dr. Beatrix Kapusinszky is the Laboratory Director of the Napa-Solano-Yolo-Marin County Regional Public Health Laboratory (website:www.solanocounty.com/depts/ph/bureaus/laboratory). She received her Ph.D. in Microbiology (Summa Cum Laude) from Eotvos Lorand University of Sciences in Budapest, Hungary. She has extensive training in infectious disease pathogens and expertise in high-containment laboratory environments. For more than a decade, she worked at the Department of Viral Diagnostics of the National Center for Epidemiology and acted as Chief of the Polio- and Enterovirus National Reference Laboratory in Budapest, Hungary. Between 2010-2012 and 2013-2016, Dr. Kapusinszky pursued her postdoctoral career in metagenomic approaches for new virus discovery using Next Generation Sequencing at Blood Systems (Vitalant) Research Institute, an affiliate of the University of California at San Francisco, Department of Laboratory Medicine.  She also worked in the Department of Pathology, Stanford School of Medicine between 2012-2013, with major focus on detection of BK polyomavirus variants in patients with different clinical outcomes. She has a solid publication record in the molecular epidemiology of viruses and new virus discovery. Her research interests include RNA/DNA virus evolution, virus diagnostics, molecular epidemiology, Next Generation Sequencing, host-pathogen interactions. After completing Public Health Microbiologist training through the California Department of Public Health in 2017, Dr. Kapusinszky became an Assistant Laboratory Director at the Napa-Solano-Yolo-Marin County Regional Public Health Laboratory.  She was promoted to Public Health Laboratory Director in 2018. In addition, Dr. Kapusinszky is the President of the Northern California American Society for Microbiology for the 2019-2021 term (website: http://ncasmbranch.org).

Peera Hemarajata, M.D., Ph.D., D(ABMM), Representative at Large (South)

Dr. Peera Hemarajata is a diplomate of the American Board of Medical Microbiology and an Assistant Director at Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratories. Dr. Hemarajata graduated from Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand with First Class Honors. After earning his M.D., he received a scholarship from Ananda Mahidol Foundation (Medical Science Division) to pursue a Ph.D. in Molecular Virology and Microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. After completing his postdoctoral fellowship at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, TX, he left Houston for sunny Los Angeles to pursue a CPEP postdoctoral fellowship in Medical and Public Health Microbiology at UCLA. Prior to entering the fascinating world of public health, he was appointed as a clinical instructor in the Department of Pathology at UCLA for two years. He currently holds CDPH certifications as a public health microbiologist and a clinical microbiologist scientist. Besides serving as a Representative at Large for Southern Laboratories, he is also the current webmaster of CAPHLD.org. Dr. Hemarajata has been an active contributor for the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) since 2016, and has served in several molecular microbiology Document Development Committees. His research interests include emerging infectious diseases, molecular assay development, antimicrobial resistance, and microbial genomics. You can follow him on Twitter @peerahemarajata or on his personal blog at https://peerahemarajata.com. Dr. Hemarajata is also a regular writing team for ASM's Clinical Microbiology "Bugs and Drugs" blog, and you can read his published blogs by following this link.

Harmeet Kaur, Ph.D, HCLD/TS (ABB), M(ASCP)cm, Auditor

Dr. Harmeet Kaur is the Laboratory director of San Joaquin County Public Health Laboratory since Oct 2019. She received her Ph.D. degree in Microbiology from PGIMER, India and has completed several Post-Doctoral fellowships in United States. She joined Placer County Public Health Laboratory (PHL) in 2014 as a Public Health Microbiologist (PHM) and was promoted to Senior PHM / Bioterrorism Coordinator position in 2015. She is also a graduate of Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) Emerging Leaders Program Cohort 10. She joined LabAspire Assistant Laboratory Director fellowship program in 2017 while working at Placer County PHL. She further continued and completed the second year of LabAspire fellowship program at Sacramento county PHL (2018-19). In addition to PHM certification, she is an ASCP board certified California Clinical Microbiologist Scientist and American Board of Bioanalysts certified high complexity laboratory director.

Donna Ferguson, PhD, Historian

Donna Ferguson has been the Laboratory Director for Monterey County Public Health Laboratory since May 2016. After receiving a B.S. in Microbiology with honors from California State University, Long Beach in 1986, Donna began her career as a Public Health Microbiologist (PHM) at Orange County Public Health Laboratory (OCPHL). In 1988, she worked at San Diego Public Health Laboratory as a PHM. In 1993, Donna received M.S. in Epidemiology from UCLA and worked at Metropolitan Water District of Southern California on waterborne pathogen detection methods and investigations at drinking water reservoirs. In 2002, she returned to OCPHL to supervise the Water Quality Laboratory and oversee Microbial Source Tracking (MST) related research projects. From 2007 - 2013, she worked as a research microbiologist at Southern California Coastal Water Project on MST studies. In 2009, she received a Lab Aspire fellowship at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and in 2014, Donna graduated with honors with a doctoral degree in Environmental Health Sciences. Her dissertation studies included characterizing Enterococcus species using phenotypic and genotypic methods to assess potential sources of pollution to water and associated human health risks. In 2014, Donna worked at Placer County Public Health Laboratory as the Laboratory Supervisor and Bioterrorism Coordinator. In 2015, she became the Assistant Laboratory Director at Monterey County Public Health Laboratory.

Annayal Yikum, Comptroller

Jennie Vongvith, Recording Secretary

Jennie Vongvith is an Administrative Assistant III at the County of Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). With a positive and enthusiastic outlook, Jennie supervises a team of buyers in the DCFS Procurement Unit and hopes to contribute to the DCFS Materials Management Section’s mission of having the Best Procurement Unit in the County of Los Angeles.


Jennie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature with a Minor in East Asian Languages at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004. In 2007, she returned to academia to obtain her Masters in Business Administration at the University of Phoenix. After receiving her MBA, Jennie has been working in as a public servant for over ten years.


Jennie is an active member of CAPHLD, and she is proud to be able to assist California’s Laboratory Directors in educating and advocating new technologies and studies in Public Health Laboratories.

Nicole M. Green, PhD, D(ABMM), Immediate Past President

Dr. Nicole Green is the Laboratory Director for the Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory. She received a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors in Biology and a minor in Microbiology from California State University, Los Angeles. Her doctoral degree in Microbiology was awarded from the University of California, Davis. She has worked at a number of institutions including UC Davis, NIAID-NIH Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Baylor College of Medicine, and The Methodist Hospital Research Institute. Dr. Green completed a Lab Aspire fellowship through the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health-Microbial Diseases Laboratory where she trained in public health and clinical microbiology. She joined the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health in 2010 as the Assistant Laboratory Director. In 2014, Dr. Green was awarded the Public Health Excellence award by the Department for her contributions and advancement of the public health laboratory. She is active in many professional societies including the Southern California American Society for Microbiology (SCASM) and Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). As an adjunct assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, she is passionate about teaching and is committed to the workforce development of new public health and clinical microbiology professionals. Her research interests include molecular epidemiology, comparative genomics, and evaluation of new diagnostic methods. Nikki is a board-certified medical microbiologist, medical technologist, and public health microbiologist.

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