CARHS Spotlight - Spring 2014

Dr. Meekyung Han, School of Social Work

CASA researcher Dr. Meekyung Han, Associate Professor in the School of Social Work is in the CARHS Spotlight for Spring 2014.

Dr. Han has been on the faculty in the School of Social Work at SJSU since 2005, teaching undergraduate social work practice classes. Her approach to research reflects her background in the profession. 

“….As a social worker myself, I really value the theoretical frameworks of social work. One of these is the strength-based approach. As social workers, we are not looking only at problems, at pathological perspectives - we are looking at what strengths this person has and what resources this person has. We try to maximize and utilize those, so that we can eventually empower our clients. Those frameworks are why I fell in love with social work. Any research I do, I try to have this framework in mind.”

Dr. Han's research focuses on developing a better understanding of the mental health needs of Asian immigrants and refugees. Mental health needs in this group are often high, but use of treatment services is low. Stigma associated with mental health problems is often the cause. 

“….In Asian cultures, there is a deeply rooted cultural value of 'saving face'….It's coming from cultural values which are bound by Confucianism, emphasizing the value of harmony and the value of collectivism.…Because of these cultural values, and the strong stigma attached to mental health issues, people are not seeking help in a timely manner.”

Her research efforts have focused on describing and evaluating culturally competent approaches to mental health services, for example programs aimed at reducing stigma, or aimed at caregivers of mentally ill family members. 

"...Because mental illness is severe and persistent, and it's cyclic and unpredictable, family members who care for and love people with mental illness are oftentimes hugely impacted…..But I also see a lot of family caregivers who are very resilient. Very little research has been done on these family caregivers and practices that may play a role in their well-being - and ethnic minorities have not been part of studies that do exist. So one of my current studies is looking at this from a cultural perspective, so that eventually we can develop culturally sensitive programs for family caregivers of persons who have mental illness."

Dr Han was interviewed by CARHS Director Amy D’Andrade for the Spring 2014 Spotlight. You can find out more about her work and scholarship in the transcript of the interview, and see a sampling of her publications below.

Dr. Goyal in conversationDr. Han at computerDr. Han lecturing

Han, M., Valencia, M., De Leon, J., & Lee, Y. (2012). Development and Implementation of the Culturally Competent Program with Cambodians: The Pilot Psycho-Social-Cultural Treatment Group Program. Journal of Ethnic Minority & Diversity in Social Work, 21(3), 212-230. 

Ying, Y.,  Han, M., & Tseng, M. (2012).Acculturation and post-migration stress in middle-aged Chinese immigrant women in Philadelphia: Variation between the Fujianese and the non-Fujianese women.  TheJournal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 22(1), 20-38.

Han, M. & Lee, M. (2011). Risk and protective factors contributing to depressive symptoms in Vietnamese-American college students. Journal of College Student Development, 52(2), 154-166.

Osterling, K., L. & Han, M. (2011). Reunification outcomes among Mexican immigrant families in the child welfare system.Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1658-1666.

Covarrubias, I. & Han, M. (2011). Impact of social contact and beliefs about serious mental illness (SMI) on two mental health stigma: social distance and restrictions. Social Work, 56 (4), 317-325.

Ying, Y., & Han, M. (2007). Familism and mental health: Variation between Asian American children of refugees and immigrants. International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 4(4),333-348.

Ying, Y., & Han, M. (2007). A Longitudinal effect of intergenerational gap in acculturation on conflict and mental health in Southeast Asian American Adolescents.  American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77(1), 61-66. 

Han, M. (2006). Relationship among perceived parental trauma, attachment, and sense of coherence in Southeast Asian American late adolescents. Journal of Family Social Work, 9(2), 25-45.

Previously in the CARHS Spotlight