Dr. Duy Nguyen’s research sheds light on the experiences of Asian Americans who have traditionally been overlooked in the poverty literature. While often regarded as a ‘model-minority’ that does not experience the same hardships faced by other groups, Dr. Nguyen’s collaborative, community-based research with Asian Americans for Equality found 62% of surveyed older Asian Americans in Queens received food stamps. The stigma of both poverty and mental health issues within the Asian-American cultural context distinguishes their help-seeking behaviors from other populations. This necessitates Asian-specific research to address gaps in the knowledge base for a rapidly growing population. This is timely, because as Dr. Nguyen stated, “The leadership in the Asian American community is recognizing the need to address both mental health and poverty within the community. McSilver can facilitate relationships between these leaders, their communities, and academic partners.”
Dr. Nguyen’s research interests include investigating the health service use patterns of Asian American populations, particularly among older adults. Dr. Nguyen is currently partnering with the Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York (KCS), located in Flushing, Queens. This original research seeks to investigate the public service use experiences of older Asian Americans. An initial project stemming from this research will focus on mental health help-seeking behaviors in collaboration with McSilver colleague Dr. Cathy Vu. Data from this project will inform interventions designed to target the specific social and cultural needs of this at-risk population.
In addition, Dr. Nguyen is completing research focusing on uninsured Asian Americans. Using existing data, he is investigating the relationship between social, economic, and cultural factors on insurance coverage. This work is relevant to local populations Koreans have one of the highest rates of uninsurance in America. Identifying insurance related behaviors will becoming increasingly important as the United States moves closer to 2014’s implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Dr. Nguyen’s work is evolving to incorporate translational research that adapts evidence-based interventions for Asian American groups. His research integrates his teaching across academic areas and past experiences as a clinical social worker focusing on minority populations and Asian Americans with severe mental illness. His expertise with vulnerable groups has made him a great asset to the McSilver Institute as a faculty fellow.