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The Chicago Asian American Psychology Lab aims to promote health equity through conducting community-engaged research. We study structural and sociocultural influences on coping and health behaviors and contribute to the development, evaluation, implementation, and dissemination of culturally responsive behavioral health interventions. We focus our efforts on underserved communities, particularly Asian American immigrants and refugees, those with low English proficiency, and/or those with serious mental illness. Our lab partners with community organizations for research, program development, program evaluation, grant writing, and consultation.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has been disproportionally affecting underserved communities in various ways. Collaborating with other university-based research labs and community organizations, our research team is conducting multiple projects investigating how Asian communities and individuals in the U.S. have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of topics that we focus on are health and mental health impacts, health care access, and racial discrimination.


Tobacco use is a health equity issue, affecting some communities more than others. We are working to identify effective interventions to protect communities from the health harms of tobacco use. Our research focuses on identifying contextual and cultural factors that impact intervention effectiveness for different groups.


The Rohingya are an ethnic and Muslim minority group originally from Myanmar. About 1,000-1,500 Rohingya have resettled in Chicago, beginning in 2010. We are engaged in several research and programmatic efforts with our community partner at the Rohingya Culture Center and others to identify and address community needs and strengthen resources for the newly arrived Rohingya refugee community in Chicago.


Community outreach and engagement are key to achieving health equity for traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities. We are interested in methods and strategies that promote equitable participation, voice, and empowerment among communities. 


Our research team takes an ecological and systems approach toward research on coping and health behaviors. We seek to understand how culture and context interact with psychological factors to impact stress, coping and health-related behaviors. Our hope is that this research approach can shape how we design programs and policies to best promote health equity. 



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Lab Director

Dr. Saw (she/her) is an associate professor of Clinical-Community Psychology at DePaul University. She was born in and raised around San Francisco by an ethnic Chinese family from Burma. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a major in psychology and a minor in Ethnic Studies, Dr. Saw attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she received her Ph.D. in Clinical/Community Psychology. She completed her predoctoral internship at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Belmont, MA. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Asian American Center on Disparities Research at UC Davis and a second postdoc at the UC Davis Medical Center in the Division of General Medicine. 

When not working, you might find Dr. Saw chasing her two young children around at one of Chicago's many zoos, museums, or parks.

Curriculum Vitae



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Graduate Research Assistant

Samantha is a doctoral candidate in Clinical/Community Psychology at DePaul University. Her research interests include reducing mental health disparities among immigrant and refugee populations and the development of culturally informed interventions for diverse populations. She is also passionate about exploring the intersection of trauma, psychological distress, and somatic symptoms in Asian refugee populations.



Graduate Research Assistant

Wendy (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in Community Psychology at DePaul University. She was born in Havana, Cuba and grew up in  Miami, FL after moving there at age six. She is a native Spanish and English speaker with basic competencies in French and Portuguese. Her research surrounds the wellbeing of immigrant and refugee families, in areas such as employment and youth development.

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Graduate Research Assistant

Shreya (she/her) is a doctoral student in Clinical/Community Psychology at DePaul University. Her research interests broadly include women, culturally specific community interventions, and low income, minority populations in the U.S and in South Asia. She is also interested in understanding the role stigma could play in acting as a barrier to seeking help.

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Graduate Research Assistant

Linda (she/her) is a doctoral student in the Clinical/Community Psychology at DePaul University. Her research interests include culturally adapted mental health interventions, help-seeking behaviors, and structural barriers to mental health access, particularly among Southeast Asian American families and youth. She is passionate about community-based approaches to mental health, specifically among refugee and migrant communities.



Graduate Research Assistant

Jay is a Masters of Public Health student (with an emphasis in Biostatistics) at the University of California, Irvine. He is interested in building a career around using data science to solve issues in public health and healthcare. His research interests include Asian American health, mental health, infectious diseases, health informatics/technology, and LGBTQIA+ health.


Noor Hasan, B.A.

Afshan Rehman, B.A.

Sabrina Salvador, B.A.



Kris (she/her) obtained her doctoral degree in Clinical/Community Psychology from DePaul University. Her research interests include promoting recovery among Asian Americans with serious mental illness, and enhancing health as well as wellness for underserved communities. She is also passionate about developing primary care-behavioral health integration, reducing stigma and promoting social inclusion for people with mental illness. Kris is currently on post-doc.



Amber (she/her) obtained her doctoral degree in Clinical/Community Psychology from DePaul University. Her research interests include addiction among Asian Americans, specifically smoking, and cultural thinking styles. Amber is also passionate about reducing mental health disparities and stigma in Asian American populations. She is currently on post-doc.



Graduate Research Assistant

Rebecca (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in Community Psychology at DePaul University. Before graduate school, Rebecca worked as a support specialist caring for adults with intellectual disabilities, initiating her interest in systems change and policy work. Her research interests include access to quality healthcare and program evaluation. She is passionate about race and gender equity in healthcare, and has a keen interest in data analysis and applied research. She calls Western New York home.


Graduate Research Assistant

Fiona (she/her) is a doctoral student of Clinical/Community Psychology at DePaul University. Fiona was born and raised in Inner Mongolia, China, and she lived in California for 10 years before moving to Chicago. She is bilingual in Mandarin Chinese and English and self-identifies as bicultural. Her research interests include culturally appropriate healthcare and health/mental health disparities among underserved populations. She firmly believes in integrating research and clinical practice and strives to provide culturally appropriate and decolonized mental health services.



Graduate Research Assistant

Grevelin (she/her) is a doctoral student in Clinical/Community Psychology at DePaul University. Grevelin was born and raised in New York City, and lived in Pennsylvania while attending Bucknell University before moving to Chicago. She is multilingual and speaks Spanish, English, and Portuguese. Grevelin self-identifies as Afro-Latina. Her research interest broadly include ethnic and racial identity salience and well-being, racial trauma, and mental health disparities within disenfranchised groups. She is also passionate about taking an interdisciplinary approach to promote holistic wellness amongst communities of color.



Graduate Research Assistant

Michael (he/him) is a doctoral student in Public Health at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Michael was raised in Little Saigon, Orange County as a 2nd-generation Vietnamese American, and he grew up in a neighborhood learning about the importance of multicultural identity integration, autism services, and social support to promote the wellbeing of Southeast Asian American families. His research interests focus on social determinants of chronic and mental health conditions among ethnic minority and immigrant populations. Specifically, he hopes to apply social epidemiologic methods and study interactions between adversity and resilience on outcomes such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide among Asian American communities.



Undergraduate Research Assistant

Mae is an undergraduate at the University of Southern California. Her research interests include mental health, minority health disparities, neuropsychology, and pediatric psychology.


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Complete List of Published Work in My Bibliography:

Samoa, R. A, Ðoàn, L. N., Takeuchi, D. T., Saw, A., & Aitaoto, A. (accepted). Socioeconomic inequities in vaccine hesitancy among Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.


Saw, A., Yi, S. S.,  Ðoàn, L. N., Tsoh, J. Y., Yellow Horse, A. J., Kwon, S. C., Samoa, R., Aitaoto, N., & Takeuchi, D. T. (2022). Improving Asian American health during the syndemic of COVID-19 and racism. Lancet eClinicalMedicine, 45, 101313.


Grills, C., Carlos Chavez, F. L., Saw, A., Walters, K. L., Burlew, K., Randolph Cunningham, S. M., Capielo Rosario, C., Samoa, R., & Jackson-Lowman, H. (2022). Applying culturalist methodologies to discern COVID-19’s impact on communities of color. Journal of Community Psychology. Advance online publication.

McGarity-Palmer, R.,G Keys, C., & Saw, A. (in press). Community engagement in psychosocial interventions with refugees from Asia: A systematic review. Asian American Journal of Psychology.

McGarity-Palmer, R.,G & Saw, A. (2022). Transgender clients’ travel distance to preferred healthcare: A clinic-specific study. Transgender Health, 7(3), 282–286.

Jayawickreme, N., & Saw, A. (2021). Introduction to special issue on promoting health and well-being in forcibly displaced Asian populations. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 12(3), 159-160.


Saw, A., Nau, S.,G Jeremiah, R. D., & Zakaria, N. (2021). Laying the groundwork for participatory research with a Rohingya refugee community. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology. Advance online publication.

Chang, E., Dove, M., Saw, A., Tsoh, J. Y., Fung, L.-C., & Tong, E. K. (2021). Home smoking bans and urinary NNAL levels to measure tobacco smoke exposure in Chinese American household pairs. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(14),


Ma, K. P. K., G & Saw, A. (2020). An international systematic review of dementia caregiving interventions for Chinese families. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.


Wong-Padoongpatt, G., Zane, N., Okazaki, S., & Saw, A. (2020). Individual variations in stress response to racial microaggressions among Asian Americans. Asian American Journal of Psychology 11(3), 126–137.


Saw, A., Stewart, S. L., Cummins, S. E., Kohatsu, N. D., Tong, E. K. (2018). Outreach to California Medicaid smokers for Asian language quitline services. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 55, S196-S204.


Ma, K. P. K., G & Saw, A. (2018). A qualitative study on primary care integration into an Asian immigrant-specific behavioural health setting in the United States. International Journal of Integrated Care, 18, 2.


Saw, A., Stewart, S. L., Cummins, S. E., Kohatsu, N. D., Tong, E. K. (2018). Outreach to California Medicaid smokers for Asian language quitline services. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 55, S196-S204.


Ma, K. P. K., G & Saw, A. (2018). A qualitative study on primary care integration into an Asian immigrant-specific behavioural health setting in the United States. International Journal of Integrated Care, 18, 2.


Saw, A., Paterniti, D., Fung, L.-C., Tsoh, J. A., & Tong, E. K. (2018). Perspectives of Chinese smoker and nonsmoker household pairs about the “Creating Smokefree Living Together” Program. Cancer, 124, 1599-1606.


Tong, E. K., Saw, A., Fung, L.-C., Li, C.-S., Liu, Y., & Tsoh, J. A. (2018). Impact of a smokefree living educational intervention for smokers and household nonsmokers: A randomized trial of Chinese American pairs. Cancer, 124, 1590-1598.


Saw, A., Steltenpohl, C.,G Lee, K. B., & Tong, E. K. (2018). A community-based “street team” tobacco cessation intervention by and for youth and young adults. Journal of Community Health, 43, 383-390. doi:10.1007/s10900-017-0435-3.


Saw, A., Tang, H., Chen, M., Tsoh, J., & Tong, E. K. (2017). Nonsmoker assertive behavior against smoke exposure:  Chinese and Korean American nonsmokers. Drug and Alcohol Review, 36, 779-787.


Wong-Padoongpatt, G. G, Zane, N. W., Okazaki, S., & Saw, A. (2017). Decreases in implicit self-esteem explain the racial impact of microaggressions on Asian Americans. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 64, 574-583.


Saw, A., Paterniti, D., Fung, L.-C., Tsoh, J. Y., Chen, Jr., M. S., & Tong, E. K. (2017). Social environmental influences on smoking and cessation: Qualitative perspectives among Chinese-speaking smokers and nonsmokers in California. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, 19, 1404-1411.


Kim, J. E. G, Saw, A., & Zane, N. W. (2015). The influence of psychological symptoms on mental health literacy of college students. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 85, 620-630.


Meyer, O. L., Saw, A., Cho, Y. I., Fancher, T. L. (2015). Disparities in assessment, treatment, and recommendations for specialty mental health care: Patient reports of medical provider behavior. Health Services Research, 50, 750-767.


Yang, L. H., Lo, G., Tu, M., Wu, O., Saw, A., Chen, F. P., & Anglin, D. (2015). Effects of psychiatric treatment contact and acculturation on the causal beliefs of Chinese immigrant relatives of individuals with psychosis. Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 13, 19-39.


Thai, L., & Saw, A. (2014). Integrating primary care and behavioral health: A nurse practitioner’s perspective. AAPI Nexus: Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Policy, Practice, & Community, 12.


Saw, A. & Song, A.V. (2014). Introduction to the special issue on disparities. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 5, 1-3.


Kim, J. G, Saw, A., Zane, N. W., & Murphy, B. L. (2014). Patterns of utilization and outcomes of inpatient psychiatric treatment in Asian Americans. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 5, 35-43.


Wong, Y. J., Kim, B. S. K., Nguyen, C. P., Cheng, J. K. Y., & Saw, A. (2014). The Interpersonal Shame Inventory for Asian Americans: Scale development and psychometric properties. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 61, 119-132.


Wong, G.G, Derthick, A. , David, E. J. R., Saw, A., & Okazaki, S. (2014). The what, the why, and the how: A critical review of racial microaggressions research. Race and Social Problems, 6, 181-200.


Wong, G. G, Zane, N. W., Saw, A., & Chan, A. K. K. a (2013). Examining gender differences for gambling engagement and gambling problems among emerging adults. Journal of Gambling Studies, 29, 171-189.


Saw, A., Kim, J., Lim, J., Powell, C., & Tong, E. K. (2013). Smoking cessation counseling for Asian immigrants with serious mental illness: Challenges and lessons learned in primary care-behavioral health integration. Health Promotion Practice, 14, S1, 70S-79S.


Yang, L. H.#, Purdie-Vaughns, V.#, Kotabe, H., Link, B., Saw, A., Wong, G. G, & Phelan, J. (2013). Culture, threat, and mental illness stigma: Identifying culture-specific threat among Chinese American groups. Social Science and Medicine, 88, 56-67.  [# indicates co-1st authors] 


Saw, A., Berenbaum, H., & Okazaki, S. (2013). Influences of personal standards and perceived parental expectations on worry for Asian American and White American college students. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 26, 187-202.


Sun, A., Tsoh, J., Saw, A., Chan, J. L., Cheng, J. W., & Liang, Y. (2012). Effectiveness of a diabetes self-management program for Chinese American immigrants. Diabetes Educator, 38, 685-694.  


Okazaki, S., & Saw, A. (2011). Culture in Asian American community psychology: Beyond the East-West binary. American Journal of Community Psychology, 47, 144-156.


Saw, A., & Okazaki, S. (2010). Family socialization of emotion and current affective distress in Asian Americans. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 1, 81-92.


David, E. J. R., Okazaki, S. & Saw, A. (2009). Bicultural self-efficacy among college  students: Initial scale development and mental health correlates. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 56, 211-226.

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DePaul University

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2219 N Kenmore Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60614

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