Tuesday, August 14, 2007

UC Davis granted $3.9M for Asian American mental health studies

Sacramento Business Journal - August 14, 2007

UC Davis granted $3.9M for Asian American mental health studies
Sacramento Business Journal - 2:49 PM PDT Tuesday, August 14, 2007by Kelly JohnsonStaff writer

The University of California Davis has received a five-year, $3.9 million federal grant with which to create a national center to study Asian American mental health issues.

The National Institute of Mental Health grant will establish the Asian American Center on Disparities Research on the UC Davis campus. The center will support and coordinate the efforts of a network of researchers studying Asian American mental health. The network initially will have 36 researchers from 18 universities in nine states, Puerto Rico and Taiwan, but it will grow over time.

"Contrary to the 'model minority' myth, Asian Americans have serious needs for mental health care that have been inadequately addressed," UC Davis psychology professor Nolan Zane, director and principal investigator of the new center, said in a news release Tuesday. "Not only are their rates of mental illness much higher than previously believed, but Asian Americans who enter into the mental health system tend to be more severely disturbed than other ethnic groups. In addition, there is compelling evidence that mental health services are inadequate for many Asian American clients, along with serious doubt as to whether treatments that have been validated with predominantly white patient populations are actually effective for Asian Americans. The center's research will address these issues that continue to challenge the mental health field."

The new center builds on the National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health, also funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, located at UC Davis from 1988 through 2002. During its 14 years, that center and its researchers were awarded more than $11 million in research grants and contracts, published 334 studies in the field of Asian American Mental Health and trained more than 40 researchers in the study of mental health issues of Asian Americans and other ethnic minorities.

The new center will work with two other UC Davis programs that address health disparities: the Center for Reducing Health Disparities and the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care. It will also work with the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training, a National Cancer Institute-funded program at UC Davis. The new center also will partner with the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association, whose members include most of the mental health and health agencies nationwide that specialize in serving Asian American communities.

The center's activities will include:

providing seed grants to support promising research
creating an online information server, videoconferencing and data-sharing capabilities so researchers nationally can more easily share knowledge, avoid redundancy and isolation and get technical assistance
informing mental health providers and policymakers about how to effectively serve complex, shifting Asian American communities
mentoring young researchers on campuses that may not have senior faculty with expertise in Asian American mental health issues
linking researchers with community organizations that serve Asian Americans.

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