Okura Foundation Fellowship awarded

By March 29, 2013 May 19th, 2013 News

Congratulations to Dr. Cindy H. Liu, Ph.D and Dr. Huijun Li for receiving this year’s AAPA-APF Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation Fellowship. The AAPA-APF Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation Fellowship supports psychology’s efforts to benefit the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community research on issues specific to the AAPI community, training of providers to support the AAPI community, service/practice programs for the AAPI community.

The AAPA-APF Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation Fellowship increases understanding, treatment, services and training to help generate a healthy, robust, and highachieving AAPI population. One $20,000 research grant annually.

The purpose of Dr Liu’s and Dr. Li’s project is to evaluate the mental health knowledge and attitudes of parents of Chinese American youth and to determine the efficacy of psycho-educational workshops on community groups of Chinese American parents. The proposal is concerned with parents of Chinese American youth for the following reasons. First, Asian Americans, including Chinese Americans, tend not to utilize mental health services unless problems escalate and become very severe. In particular, the stigma of mental illness plays a prominent role in how parents may recognize and obtain help for their children. Second, the onset of severe mental illnesses such as psychosis and depression largely occurs during adolescence, a period during which parents may attribute changes in mental health status to typical developmental changes such as transitions with social or school functioning.

Given that Chinese American parents are often receptive to parent education programs aimed toward improving their children’s functioning (especially their academic functioning), the propose to design and conduct psycho-educational workshops that increase mental health knowledge and improve mental health attitudes. Dr. Liu and Dr. Li are particularly interested in evaluating the design of a culturally based workshop (e.g., a workshop that targets culturally based concerns (e.g., stigma) and goals (e.g. academic achievement). Through such a workshop, the hope is to promote mental health knowledge in Chinese American parents of youth that could be applied across different cultural communities.

Dr. Liu is the Director of Multicultural Research, Commonwealth Research Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Instructor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Assistant Research Professor, Department of Psychology at University of Massachusetts Boston.

Dr. Huijun Li, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Psychology at Florida A&M University and Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

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