NOTE: This summer, the Center for Youth Wellness was extremely proud to host intern Alan Huang, a rising Senior at UC Berkeley double-majoring in Neurobiology and Music. During his internship through the Boston Consulting Group Ambassador program, Alan wrote the following post about ACEs in the Asian American community.
Although the link between adverse childhood experiences and subsequent health outcomes has been well-established, there is still much that is unknown about the nuanced effects of identity and intersectionality. In particular, research around the impacts of ACEs in Asian American communities is severely lacking – while some studies claim that Asian Americans experience the lowest prevalence of ACEs, other studies cite equal, if not higher, rates of ACEs exposure among Asian Americans and other populations. These conflicting results could be caused by the act of categorizing the vast diversity of cultures and experiences among Asian Americans into a single monolith (i.e. “AAPI”). Not only does this ignore drastic differences between communities that exist under the umbrella term “AAPI” (imagine the difference in experiences between a wealthy East Asian immigrant versus a Southeast Asian refugee), it also undermines our understanding of the impact of ACEs in these communities. Furthermore, Asian American communities uniquely experience numerous stressors such as racism, colorism, xenophobia, and homophobia, all of which are often swept under the rug as a result of the model minority myth – a false narrative of excellence that erases the understanding of diversity among Asian Americans and harms all minority groups.
Below, I have highlighted some organizations and resources dedicated towards creating equity for underserved Asian American communities. The work of community-based organizations and nonprofits is crucial in raising awareness and understanding the unique implications of ACEs in Asian American communities. Note: These groups are not affiliated with nor endorsed by the Center for Youth Wellness. This article is meant to be used as a starting point and resource for further research.
“ATASK is a nonprofit, community organization serving pan-Asian survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence. We provide services in Greater Boston and Greater Lowell and offer limited assistance in other cities throughout Massachusetts and New England. We currently provide services in 18 Asian languages and dialects. Our mission is to prevent domestic and intimate partner violence in Asian families and communities and to provide hope to survivors.”
“Daya empowers South Asian survivors of domestic and sexual violence through culturally specific services and educates the community to end the cycle of abuse.”
“The National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting the mental health and well-being of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. The long-term organizational goal of improved AANHPI health is achieved by addressing suicide prevention among youth, empowering mental health consumers and improving access to high quality affordable mental health services. NAAPIMHA collaborates with stakeholders in order to provide technical assistance and training to service providers on topics, such as cultural competency, language interpretation and clinical skills.”
“The Korean American Family Service Center (KAFSC) is a leading, nonprofit organization that supports and empowers adults, youth and children to lead safe and healthy lives based on dignity, compassion and mutual respect. We are committed to preventing and ending domestic violence, sexual assault, and relationship abuse, and creating a violence-free society. Our counseling, education and advocacy programs for individuals and families in the New York Tri-State area are provided in a culturally and linguistically appropriate setting.”
Los Angeles, CA
“NAPAFASA is a national organization that prevents and reduces substance use disorder and other addictions in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities through research, advocacy, education, and capacity building. NAPAFASA focuses on parity of substance use disorder prevention, early intervention, and treatment in relation to primary care and on ensuring language access and cultural competency in the provision of addiction services.”