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AAPA Statement on Need For More Research on AAPI Undocumented Immigrants

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The rapidly changing immigrant landscape in the United States signals a dire need for more research focusing on mental health concerns of undocumented Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) populations. Asian American population is the fastest growing racial group in the U.S., growing by 43% between 2000 and 2010. This rapid growth is fueled primarily by immigration, with over a quarter of all immigrants to the U.S. coming from Asia in the recent years. However, not all immigrants of Asia have documentation. In fact, there are an estimated 1.3 million undocumented immigrants from Asia in the United States. In 2011, Asian immigrants made up 11% of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States (The Benefits of Commonsense Immigration Reform: Asian American Immigrant and Refugee Communities). There are an estimated 416,000 Asian undocumented immigrants in California, or roughly 15% of the state’s undocumented population (NAMI, 2011). Three states with some of the largest Asian American populations are also home to the largest undocumented populations: California, New York, and Texas (Migration Policy Institute, 2010). Asian American communities are significantly impacted by the U.S. immigration policies and are invested in immigration reform.

Psychological research has pointed to many risk factors associated with immigration that impact mental health. Undocumented immigrants tend to have even higher risk factors that compromise their mental health and ability to cope with the stress of adjustment to a new culture than immigrants who come through authorized channels. For example, undocumented immigrants – like many other immigrants from other regions – are motivated to migrate because of poverty, religious or political persecution, exploitation, violence, war, or torture in their home country. Their journey from Asia to the U.S. is often filled with risks and trauma. There are additional hardships for undocumented immigrants and their families as their undocumented status make them vulnerable to exploitation by employers (Asian American Justice Center). Constant fear of deportation may cause stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as separation from their family and social support network and the stress of earning money they owe to the traffickers who transported them to the U.S. and to send remittances to their loved ones. Research has shown that a lack of pathways for citizenship for undocumented parents harms their children’s cognitive and language development (Yoshikawa, 2011).

Despite these general risk factors and challenges that contribute to the enormous psychological stress on undocumented immigrants and their families, there is virtually no research on the psychological experiences and mental health of undocumented AAPI populations. AAPA calls for increased funding for mental health research on this invisible segment of our community.

** Special thanks to the AAPA Policy Committee, especially Dr. Helen Hsu & Dr. Devika Srivastava, and to the AAPA Executive Committee

Calling AAPA’s next leaders! Apps due Nov 17th

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The AAPA Leadership Fellows program is a leadership pipeline program that provides mentorship around professional development and a leadership pathway by serving as an entry point for leadership for those individuals who might not have other traditional methods of receiving opportunities and mentorship toward leadership in AAPA. For example, the program works to be inclusive to early career members who come from less recognized psychological disciplines and those who could benefit from more focused mentorship that leads to AAPA leadership. The program seeks to diversify the leadership by providing Fellows with mentors and leadership experience in AAPA. The program facilitates the development of AAPA leaders who will contribute to advancing Asian Americans, multiculturalism, and social justice within psychology and the association and to serve as leaders in other academic and organizational settings.

Fellows selected for the program will participate in several trainings, receive individual and group mentoring from experienced leaders in AAPA and Past Fellows, observe and participate in AAPA Executive Committee sessions, complete a year-long Fellows’ project, and present their experiences at the 2015 AAPA conference (attendance at midyear meetings, if applicable).

Fellows’ Projects
Working closely with a Project Mentor, Fellows will assume primary responsibility for a Fellow’s Project associated with AAPA initiatives and activities. Past examples of fellows’ projects are provided below. Project format and content and are dependent on Fellow’s interests.

  • Creating fact sheets for bullying and suicide among Asian Americans
  • Aiding in drafting grant proposals for CNPAAEMI Leadership Fellows program
  • Assisting state organizations with the creation of a mental health Information Sheet for California Insurance Programs
  • Attendance at the California Leadership and Advocacy Conference as an AAPA representative with a report to the Newsletter
  • Participation on the Social Justice Task Force for the creation of the AAPA Social Justice Standing Committee program

The specific goals and outcomes for each Fellow in relation to her/his project will be developed in collaboration with project mentors. AAPA Fellows participate in the Executive Committee throughout their fellowship year to ensure a connection between the Fellows and AAPA leadership.

Fellows will receive a stipend in the first year to defray travel costs for each required meeting (i.e., AAPA Toronto and midyear meeting TBD or other agreed upon professional conference or meeting, maximum of $750 per trip, up to $1500 per fellow for the entire year). Additional costs of travel and participation will be at fellows’ expense.

Applicant Criteria
Applicants must be AAPA members who have completed their doctoral degree by August 31, 2014. Preference will be given to applicants who have some prior leadership experience in local contexts (e.g., within their graduate program) but who have not had leadership experience at the national level within psychology (e.g., held formal leadership positions in APA or other national psychological associations or served in any capacity on the AAPA Executive Committee). Individuals who have had limited opportunities to become more involved in leadership roles within AAPA and other organizations (e.g., current mentors are not involved in AAPA, underrepresented professional interests or personal backgrounds) are strongly encouraged to apply.

Application Process
Applications should include (a) the required cover sheet (attached and also available at the AAPA website, https://aapaonline.org/), (b) the applicant’s CV (no more than 3 pages, please include a section detailing prior leadership experience and the names of 2 professional references), (c) a short statement (no more than 1500 words) describing the reasons for applying, the desired outcome for the applicant, and the reason for interest in the Fellows program, and (d) one letter of reference from an individual familiar with your professional work and past leadership experiences.

Please send electronic applications by November 17, 2014, to the Leadership Fellows Chairs (Nellie Tran and Cindy Liu): ntran@mail.sdsu.edu and cliu@bidmc.harvard.edu. Adobe Acrobat’s Portable Document Format (*.pdf) is preferred and Microsoft Word format (*.doc, *docx) is acceptable.

Download the AAPA Leadership Fellows Program call for applications

Nov 7th Conference: Promoting Emotional Well-Being and Preventing Suicide Among Asian/Asian American University Students

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Sponsored by Caltech and AAPA, this conference is designed to help clinicians, health care professionals, university staff, and community advocates who provide direct service to Asian Americans.

Date/Time: Fri. November 7th, 9:30am-3:30pm
Location: Caltech Avery House, Pasadena, CA
Registration: Before October 17th, $40 (after October 17th, $50)

For the agenda and more information, download the Conference brochure and visit the Conference website.

DoFA announces first Filipino American Psychology Scholarship

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AAPA’s Division on Filipino Americans (DoFA) is pleased to announce the first Filipino American Psychology Scholarship. The Filipino American Psychology Scholarship was initiated to increase the number of Filipino American professors, researchers, and academics in the field of psychology. By providing scholarship and mentorship to Filipino American prospective and early graduate students, it is hoped that research focused on Filipino Americans will also increase, leading to a greater representation and understanding of Filipino American people.

For more information on the scholarship, visit the DoFA Filipino American Psychology Scholarship page or download a pdf of the call for applications.

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