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MLSAAF 2023 Winter Newsletter

We have exciting news and updates from our MLSAAF team as we end this year!

You can learn about them in our newsletter down below.

MLSAAF 2022 Fall Newsletter

Please check out this newsletter, providing updates regarding our ongoing project
and introducing our team members - Hillary Peregrina, Eunseok Jeong! 

We also have included Michael Park's significant study findings featured in NIH media! 

Our research assistant Bryan Gu worked hard on this publication, and we're excited to share it with you.
We continue contributing to and expanding the knowledge surrounding Asian American mental health and mental health outcomes. 
Also, we greatly appreciate your continued support and engagement in the MLSAAF! 
(You can read this newsletter in higher resolution both in English and Korean version from News > Newsletter tab!)

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MLSAAF 2021 Summer Newsletter

Please check out this newsletter the MLSAAF team put together providing updates regarding our ongoing project and introducing our present team! Our research assistant Hye-Min Jung worked really hard on this publication, and we're excited to share it with you all. As always, we would greatly appreciate your continued participation in the MLSAAF as we continue to contribute to and expand the body of knowledge surrounding Asian American mental health and mental health outcomes.

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MLSAAF Summer Newsletter (KOR)

Here is a version of the prior newsletter for our Korean participants! We hope you enjoy! 

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Dr. Choi says rise in mental health problems among Filipino and Korean Americans may be due to racial distress


In a recent article with the Chicago Sun Times, exploring the incidents of anti-Asian attacks in Chicago, Dr. Yoonsun Choi reports her findings of increased mental health problems in Filipino and Korean American groups starting in 2018. She believes that this rise in mental health problems is due to racial distress, specifically the internalization of and silence surrounding experiences of racial discrimination. Dr. Choi reports her own experiences with racially driven aggression and subsequent silence, and encourages others to speak up. “Do not internalize these experiences. Don’t self-blame but report. Silence is not going to save anyone.”

Click here to read the full article. 



Dr. Choi Discusses anti-Asian Racism and Sexism


On March 22, Dr. Yoonsun Choi appeared on multiple Chicago news outlets – Windy City Live, Chicago Tonight, and ABC7 Chicago – to discuss the ongoing anti-Asian racism and sexism in the United States. Dr. Choi was separately cited in an article published the same day on Reuters discussing the Cherokee County sheriff's department's statement of response to the tragedy which occurred in Atlanta on March 16. 


Our Chicago: Taking a stand against anti-Asian violence


From Windy City Live: "Scholars say the latest attack on the AAPI community was sadly unsurprising given the 150% increase in hate crimes against Asians in 2020. University of Chicago Prof. Yoonsun Choi & KAN-WIN Dir. Ji-Hye Kim discussed how they hope leaders respond."


Others Featured: Ji-Hye Kim (KAN-WIN)

Asian Community Calls for Action in Wake of Deadly Atlanta Shooting

“Chicago Tonight” discusses anti-Asian violence with Inhe Choi of the Hana Center in Albany Park; Grace Chan McKibben of the Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community; and Yoonsun Choi, a professor at the University of Chicago.

Others Featured: Grace Chan Mckibben (CBCAC)

Chicago Asian American advocacy groups feel urgency in wake of Georgia spa shootings


Chicago groups that advocate for and work to protect Asian American women from race-motivated attacks say their mission has gotten more urgent, and more attention, since the spa shootings in Georgia.

Others Featured: Denise Huang (KAN-WIN)

Go to or to learn more about the organizations represented here and ways in which you can help. 

Dr. Choi recently participated in a webinar:
Supporting Asian/Asian American Children and Youth during the COVID-19 Pandemic




Watch our Chief Investigator, Dr. Yoonsun Choi, in another video from the SRCD as she joins other child development experts to answer questions related to supporting Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) children during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Supporting Asian/Asian American Children and Youth
during the COVID-19 Pandemic


This 60-minute webinar, co-sponsored by SRCD’s Asian Caucus, gave parents, caregivers, and educators a chance to ask child development experts pressing questions on how to support Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) children during the coronavirus pandemic.


Featured Experts:


Addtional resources for Asian/Asian American families during the pandemic can be found on the SRCD Resource Page.



Professor Choi featured in a new video:
“How Diversity Enhances the Contributions of Developmental Science”



Watch our very own Chief Investigator, Professor Yoonsun Choi, featured in the above video concerning the role that diversity plays in child development! Read on for more information from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)...


New “Hidden Figures” Video:

How Diversity Enhances the Contributions of Developmental Science


SRCD is pleased to share “How Diversity Enhances the Contributions of Developmental Science,” the third of four videos produced as part of the “Hidden Figures” in Developmental Science series. The project, funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, aims to increase the visibility of leading developmental scientists of color who have made critical research contributions and paved the way, through mentoring and advocacy, for younger scholars of color.

This new video features the following scholars:


  • Dr. Yoonsun Choi, Professor of The School of Social Service Administration, The University of Chicago

  • Dr. Margaret Beale Spencer, Marshall Field IV Professor of Urban Education & Life Course Human Development, The University of Chicago

  • Dr. Cynthia García Coll, Adjunct Professor of Psychology and Charles Pitts Robinson and John Palmer Barstow Professor Emerita, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus

  • Dr. Diane Hughes, Professor of Applied Psychology, NYU Steinhardt


For the full list of scholars featured in the series and links to the first two videos, visit the Teaching Resources Webpage.

Our Newest Study Updates: Racial Socialization


First, what is racial socialization?


Racial socialization is the process that prepares racial minority children for the challenges of discrimination. Largely, there are two different types of racial socialization: preparation for bias and promotion of mistrust.


  1. Preparation of bias is about parents discussing racial discrimination or bias that might happen to their children.

  2. Promotion of mistrust refers to parents socializing their children to avoid engagement with people of other racial groups.


Racial socialization is increasingly being recognized as an important familial process for ethnic minority families, and for a long time has been understood as a protective factor for Asian American adolescents. However, not all types of racial socialization are helpful for Asian American adolescents—and not everyone benefits from the same type of racial socialization.


What has the ML-SAAF team discovered?


A study by the ML-SAAF team resolved one suspicion around racial socialization. It had been suspected that while racial socialization served as a protective factor, it negatively affected depressive symptoms of Asian American youth. 


Our study fine-tuned this view, showing that it is not racial socialization itself but the heightened perception of racial discrimination that increases mental distress among Asian American youth. As they become more aware of racial discrimination via racial socialization, Asian American youth perceive increased racial discrimination, which in turn leads to increased mental distress. 


So how is racial socialization a protective factor for Asian American youth?


Another ML-SAAF study revealed that racial socialization alleviates mental distress when youth perceive racial discrimination against them only in particular cases. Our study found that racial socialization buffers the negative effect of perceived racial discrimination only among U.S.-born Asian Americans. Also, the distress-alleviating effect of the promotion of mistrust on Asian American youth when they faced racial discrimination was only seen among Filipino youth. 


Importantly, our studies indicate that the use of racial socialization to minimize the negative impacts of discrimination on youth development is unlikely to be successful without careful consideration of nuanced differences between different Asian subgroups.

Harvard Admissions on Trial

10/15: Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College

On October 15th, the Boston District Court trial against Harvard will begin. On Sunday, the day before the trial, a community rally against Harvard will be held in Copley Square. Those planning to participate in the rally look to speak out on why Harvard should be ashamed of its admissions policies, and how the Fellows of the Harvard Corporation have breached their fiduciary duty to Harvard.


Brief Overview of Alleged Discrimination of Asian-American Students

Harvard has found itself in the middle of a roiling controversy around its "personality rating" factor in the admissions process rating Asian American applicants lower than other races. The yellow bar in the graph below compares Asian American to white applicants.















Q&A with Dr. Shien Biau Woo (President, 80-20 Educational Foundation)

Q: Are there Asian Americans who are well-known to and influential with Harvard?


A: YES!  There are quite a few such persons.  First and foremost, there is William Lee.  He is a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Corporation, the governing board of Harvard.  He is also the lead trial lawyer from the law firm of WilmerHale to defend Harvard in this lawsuit. Shown below is a recent picture of him with Harvard's new President Lawrence Bacow (left), holding the Harvard charter.


 There are also big donors like (1) the family of Elaine Chao which donated $40 million to Harvard Business School and have a building named after a member of her family, and (2) Brothers Ronnie and Gerald Chan who donated $350 million to Harvard, and have a building named after their father.


Q: What could have caused Harvard to rate the personality of Asian Americans much worse than others, if discrimination was not the reason?  Why weren't members of the Harvard Corporation alarmed when the average personality of Asian American applicants was rated much lower than those of other races? Has Harvard's governing Board interacted sufficiently with the above named individuals to know that Asian Americans have a lovely average personality, or at least a personality that is no worse or better than other human being?


A:  Great questions! I've also puzzled over that apparent contradiction for a long time.  I can't possibly imagine that these individuals could actually have given Harvard the bad impression. Could they?

"Growing Up Korean American (코리안 어메리칸으로 성장하기)"

This past May, the Research Center for Korean Community (RCKC) hosted their second seminar of 2018. Our very own ML-SAAF Principal Investigator, Dr. Yoonsun Choi, gave a talk, "Growing Up Korean American (코리안 어메리칸으로 성장하기)." Dr. Choi integrated several recent studies she has been working on, including findings from ML-SAAF. Exploring how the immigrant parent generation often maintains Korean cultural traditions, she also spoke about how some of these traditions persevere among second-generation youth. Further, Dr. Choi discussed the impact of youth acculturation in family processes and their own development. A large theme of the talk was that biculturalism, although overall a potentially positive factor, is much more complicated than current literature suggests. Tune in below!

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