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Newly Funded Center Dedicated to Mental Health Research for Asian Americans

Science Update

A new, five-year, NIMH-funded project will establish a national center to study mental health issues affecting Asian Americans. The Asian American Center on Disparities Research will be housed at the University of California (UC) Davis, and will coordinate a network of researchers throughout the United States studying the unique mental health challenges faced by Asian Americans.

The Asian American community historically has been underrepresented in mental health research, and some evidence suggests that existing mental health services are inadequate or inappropriate for Asian Americans. In addition, cultural factors often affect how existing mental health treatments work with Asian Americans. The new center, led by Nolan Zane, PhD, of UC Davis, aims to counteract these obstacles by supporting and leading research into mental health issues affecting Asian American populations (e.g., Chinese, Filipino, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong, Lao, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, East Indian and other Asian Pacific groups).

Specifically, the center will test effective clinical treatments for Asian Americans, promote and conduct research about cultural diversity and disparities relevant to the Asian American community, and help bridge the gap between scientific research and mental health practice. It will also help to inform mental health care providers about how to effectively address cultural issues when treating Asian Americans, and link clinical researchers with Asian American community organizations.

The new center builds on the UC Davis-based National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health, which operated from 1988 to 2002 and also was funded by NIMH.

Colleen Labbe