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2012 AAPA Awards Announcement

By News

It is with great please to announce that the AAPA Awards Committee has selected the following members for our annual awards:

  • Wei-Chin Hwang, PhD (Claremont McKenna College) as AAPA Fellow
  • Y Joel Wong, PhD (Indiana University) as recipient of the Early Career Award

We received a number of outstanding nominations for each award and it was a difficult decision for the Awards Committee. I want to personally thank the Awards Committee (Arpana Inman, John Moritsugu, and Donna Nagata), chaired by Past President, Gordon Nagayama Hall. Please congratulate Drs. Hwang and Wong, both will be honored the AAPA Convention in Orlando.

AAPA Leadership Fellows for 2011-2012

By News

We are pleased to announce the selection of the following emerging
leaders as AAPA Leadership Fellows for 2011-2012.

Dr. Shihoko Hijioka received her B.A. in Psychology from the New
College of Florida, her M.A. in Psychology and Ph.D. in Clinical
Psychology from the New School for Social Research.  She completed her
internship at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Zucker Hillside
Hospital, and is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at the City University
of New York.  Dr. Hijioka has past experience in leadership and
service through her contributions as a poster session co-chair for
AAPA annual conventions and a regional representative for AAPA
Division of Students.

Dr. Nellie Tran received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of
California, Los Angeles, and her M.A., and Ph.D. in Community &
Prevention Research in Psychology from the University of Illinois at
Chicago.  Dr. Tran is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychology
at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.  She has past experience
in leadership and service through her contribution as the APA
convention program chair for the Div. 35, Society for the Psychology
of Women, Section V: Psychology of Asian Pacific American Women; a
Volunteer committee co-chair for AAPA conventions; and a Conference
mentor for APA Division 27, Society for Community Research and Action.

We welcome these two promising individual to the AAPA Leadership
Fellows Program and know that they will make wonderful contributions
to AAPA and to the field of multicultural psychology. Look for them at
the convention this year in Washington, D.C.!

Grace Kim, Ph.D. and Sam Wan, Ph.D.
AAPA Leadership Fellows Program Co-Directors; Past Leadership Fellows

Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan

By News

The horrific images of the disaster in Japan are reminiscent of the photos I saw in 2007 at the Hiroshima Peace Museum of the World War II devastation following the nuclear bomb. This is the worst disaster in Japan since World War II. Although I have no relatives in the Sendai area, the epicenter of the current disaster, my maternal grandparents immigrated to California from Japan in the early 20th Century and I adopted my two older children from Japan at the end of the century. I feel a personal connection and sorrow for the people of Japan, as I know many of you do.

Some of you will be in position to offer direct psychological assistance to Japanese victims and their families. The Veterans Administration has developed a useful psychological first aid manual, which has been translated into Japanese:

Many will want to donate money to help Japan. There are many relief organizations helping Japan. In selecting an organization to donate to, I encourage you to: (a) inquire what percentage of donations actually go to relief efforts vs. other costs, such as administrative expenses; and (b) inquire if the relief efforts are culturally competent, in terms of collaborating with and empowering
the Japanese people.

As those interested in Asian American psychology, let us keep the Japanese in our thoughts and prayers, and do what we can to help Japan cope with this disaster.

Articles on coping from afar:,

Articles on how Japanese people are coping:

How to help/give:

Person finder in Japan:

Gordon C. Nagayama Hall, Ph.D.
President, Asian American Psychological Association

Statement on TIME Magazine’s article “My Own Private India”

By DoSAA, News

Dear Editors and Chief of Time Magazine,

As the Division on South Asian Americans (DoSAA), we feel that we need to express our concern over your decision to publish Joel Stein’s opinion editorial “My Own Private India.” His characterizations of Indians and their immigration history into the US is misinformed and characteristic of underlying resentment towards the changes in our country’s immigration rather than humorous nostalgia reflecting on the town he grew up in. It is our belief that derogatory and stereotype ridden opinion pieces harm the integrity of a news magazine and inflame an already divided country about the issue of immigration.

In addition to the negative stereotyping of Indians, Mr. Stein feels the need to negatively characterize “Italian Guidos” and the implication that Edison is town where “white children ….learn crime.” The writer’s negative assumptions and devaluing of populations that are not reflective of his own background are conveyed in his article and belie an underlying sense of entitlement as to who should be in Edison, NJ. We are indeed perplexed as to why Time Magazine would choose to support this type of sentiment.

As professionals in the mental health field, we feel we must make a statement to assert that opinion pieces such as this incite further distrust and non‐acceptance and are professionally irresponsible, not humorous, and unacceptable. This particular piece not only mocks a history of racial violence (Mr. Stein’s reference to “dot heads” and the violent attacks against South Asians in the 1980’s), but overall discounts the value of South Asian contributions in the United States since the 1800’s.

To the members of the South Asian American community:

In reaction to Joel Stein’s piece, individuals have shared the article with others, written directly to TIME magazine, expressed their sentiments through online media, and have also chosen not to respond. What is behind these various reactions? Is it because we feel an attack on Indians in Edison, NJ is an attack on us all? Are we upset that Indians are portrayed in a negative light or in an embarrassing fashion?

The common argument against Stein’s description of the “even‐less‐bright cousin” who immigrated to the U.S. is embedded in the notion that Indians work hard, are well‐educated and prosperous. While this holds true for a majority of Indians who arrived in the 1960s and 70s (due to the Immigration Act of 1965 which made provisions for more skilled individuals to enter the country), it does not fully represent the characteristics of recent Indian immigrants. To argue against Stein’s description of the changing trajectory of Indian immigration by extolling the prosperity of our community does not erase the fact that there still is an Indian man working the night shift at the gas station, who is one of many. We should be proud of what our community has achieved, but should ask ourselves this question: What do we really know about recent Indian immigrants to the U.S.? There seems to be an emerging divide in our community between Indian‐Americans in varying economic categories. They appear to be living in different worlds, with different opportunities to advance, socio‐economic outcomes, English speaking abilities, and rates of adjustment to the majority culture.
As a mental health organization, the Division on South Asian Americans advocates for viewing individuals from multiple perspectives and contexts. As mental health professionals we want to address the need to develop a critical consciousness about racial, ethnic, gender, and homophobic biases in the media, social conversations which continue to be “acceptable” in our culture. Developing the skills to have conversations about the stereotypes and biases in the South Asian community is a precursor to addressing these negative comments from outside the community. Research has shown that this type of racial discrimination and stereotyping has the potential to create psychological distress such as increased anxiety and lower self‐esteem among members of the Indian American community. Our own communities’ subconscious biases and prejudices may have allowed Joel Stein to feel he can mock and stereotype Indians living in Edison; as long as he doesn’t take the same tone with the “model minority’ who came over with the credentials to become doctors, engineers and IT professionals. The prejudices and biases that South Asians face from their own community may in fact be more psychologically damaging that those we face from outside the community.

We strongly encourage all South Asians to work towards becoming a unified and collective whole in the U.S. and to not allow inflammatory remarks from either inside or outside the South Asian community divide us. We therefore urge members of the South Asian American community to view one another from differing viewpoints. There is a great and precious diversity within our immigrant community and it is our responsibility to become familiar with the varied dimensions that exist. Learn about, confront, understand, and acknowledge both the strengths and weaknesses of our community. To borrow from President Abraham Lincoln’s great quote, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,”‐‐a community not aware of itself cannot endure and prosper.

Division on South Asian Americans (DoSAA) is a community of students and professionals committed to understanding social, emotional, political and personal influences affecting South Asians in psychology and creating a forum to impact change for the betterment of South Asian mental health.

AAPA Statement on S.B. 1070

By News

When Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070 into law this April, she enacted one of the most stringent immigration laws.  The new policy allows law enforcement officials in Arizona to act as immigration enforcement agents.  Once the main province of federal officials, Arizona police and other local law enforcement officials now have the duty to detain anyone who is not carrying immigration documents.  Unfortunately, those who are likely to be stopped and asked for immigration papers are not just “anyone” but individuals of color who may be suspected to be undocumented immigrants.  In the context of Arizona, those who “look like illegal immigrants” are of Hispanic and Latino heritage and will be targeted.  And in some instances, members of the Asian Pacific American community may also be targeted.

The Asian American Psychological Association understands when anger and fear are fomented and directed at a single racial and ethnic group, the laws and policies that follow serve to legitimate discrimination and prejudice toward all minority groups.  Although the law does not identify Hispanic and Latinos specifically, the outcome of this law will inevitably be a form of racial profiling, discrimination, and hostility toward racial and ethnic minority group members.  Asian Americans are particularly sensitive to this current policing act.  Historically, Asian Americans have had their own experiences related to immigration exclusion, restriction, as well as racial profiling.  From the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which is still the only law that has ever identified a single-ethnic group for immigration restriction, to the internment of over 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II and racial profiling of South Asian American community members following September 11th, Asian Americans have faced the brunt of anger and fear born from perceived economic or security threats. The Asian American Psychological Association understands that when anger and fear are fomented and directed at a single racial and ethnic group, the laws and policies that follow often legitimate discrimination, marginalization, and prejudice.  As a national organization whose mission is to advance the psychological well-being of Asian American communities through research, practice, and teaching, we express our deep concern that anti-immigrant sentiments that underlie this Arizona legislation would put Asian American and Latino communities at increased risk of harassment and discrimination.