Equity, Evidence & Engagement
Empowering Asian Immigrant Families Through a Literacy
and Health Project During the Covid-19 Pandemic  
By: Aijuan Cun, Ph.D. & Shixi Zhao, Ph.D.

Asian immigrant families encounter various cultural and social contexts and face mental health issues (e.g., anxiety and depression) in their normal lives in the U.S... Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Asian immigrant families face additional mental health crises, such as having increased levels of stress and experiencing racist and xenophobic discrimination linked to the pandemic. Additionally, the health literacy and health needs of the families are largely unknown. To help and support Asian immigrant families, Dr. Aijuan Cun (LLSS) and Dr. Shixi Zhao (HESS) collaborated to conduct a study titled Empowering Asian immigrant families through a literacy and health project during the Covid-19 pandemic to improve the mental health and wellbeing of Asian immigrant families through a family reading program. Empowering Asian immigrants through the reading program potentially helps reduce the health inequalities related to the mental, behavioral health of Asian immigrant families.

This study has been selected by the TREE Center, and it will be submitted to the NIH for funding beginning July 1, 2021. We stand together as a research team against racism and strive to advocate for our Asian and Pacific Islander community through collaborative scholarly work. We stand in solidarity with our API community!
Aijuan Cun, Ph.D., LLSS (left), is an assistant professor of literacy and has been working with immigrant and refugee families on family literacy studies. Shixi Zhao, Ph.D., HESS (right), is an assistant professor and a health behavior social scientist who strives to address inequities in mental, behavioral health.
Hispanic Adolescent Mental Behavioral Health

Dr. Avila, DNP, FNP-C, and Dr. Rodriguez, Ph.D., LPCC, are working on a randomized control trial that will focus on Hispanic adolescent mental, behavioral health (MBH) needs. They will be expanding the current services of the UNM ADOBE Program developed by Dr. Andrew Hsi, MD. The UNM ADOBE Program is a model of integrated, multidisciplinary, sustainable, whole-family approach for primary care, psychiatric care, and navigation support. This pilot project will intensify the incorporation of telehealth services and expand access to include adolescents who have been referred to the Children, Youth, and Families Department, Protective Services.
For this study, each teenager and their family will be connected with a navigator who specializes in community and educational resources. They will assist with community resources, help coordinate scheduling and specialty appointments, improve access to mental and behavioral services such as medication assistant treatment, and provided customized education placement. ADOBE Portal model will be evaluated by comparing engagement by participants, measuring MBH outcomes, recidivism rates, and change resiliency/ protective factors. Furthermore, ADOBE Portal will interview teenagers to measure these characteristics and barriers through qualitative inquiry to gain insight into the experience of Hispanic youth and navigating mental and behavioral health services.

This study has been selected by the TREE Center and will be submitted to the NIH for funding beginning July 1, 2021
Melody Avila (left), Ph.D. [DNP, RN, FNP] is a clinician educator and assistant professor at The University of New Mexico (UNM) College of Nursing. Monique Rodriguez (right), Ph.D., is a visiting lecturer at UNM.
The manuscript “Naturalistic Communication Training for Early Intervention Providers and Latinx Parents of Children with Signs of Autism” was accepted for publication in the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. This study was a Tree Center Pilot Project funded from 2019-2020.  Dr. Cindy Gevarter, an assistant professor in Speech and Hearing Sciences (SHS), was the principal investigator. Additional authors included students Adriana Medina-Najar and Jennifer Flake and community partners Felicia Tapia-Alvidrez and Alixandria Lucero of PB&J Family Services INC. 
Early intervention is critical for developing the social-communication skills of children with autism. However, cultural-linguistic and economic barriers may prevent Latinx families from accessing intervention services aligned to cultural and familial needs. Shortages of highly-trained therapists in New Mexico may also impact access to evidence-based interventions. To address these needs, the researchers collaborated with the community partners to create a brief training for early intervention providers and English-speaking Latinx parents of children who had an autism diagnosis or early signs of autism. The training focused on evidence-based strategies to increase communicative interactions during natural family routines. Due to COVID-19, the study was adapted to include telehealth components. Following training, participating families showed an increase in the number of communicative interactions between children and parents, and participating children increased independent communication responses. Parents and providers implemented strategies taught and reported positive effects of the program. The study has important implications regarding the utility of naturalistic interventions for Latinx families and brief training and telehealth approaches for under-resourced early intervention programs.
Cindy Gevarter, Ph.D. BCBA-D
In light of the horrific events that Asian communities have been facing around the country, we want to give you the opportunity to help those in need. Below is a list of organizations that you can donate to show support to our Asian Pacific Islander (API) communities.
You can also show support to the following local API organizations:

Call For Applicants

This intensive professional development program provides advanced doctoral students and early career faculty with background literature, facilitated discussion, mentoring and presentations designed to increase their knowledge and enhance their practice of community engaged scholarship.

Application deadline: April 15, 2021
Scholarship Opportunity for Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Pacific Islander Youth Leaders

PI partners on the Stronger Scholarship, which will award three $7,000 scholarships to young health equity changemakers. In recognition of the important role young changemakers play in creating healthy, safe, vibrant, and equitable communities, Prevention Institute has partnered with Healthline to offer this year’s Stronger Scholarship. The scholarship will award three $7,000 scholarships to students working to improve community conditions and reduce health inequities in their communities.

Application Deadline: April 20, 2021

Visit the Prevention Institute's website: https://www.preventioninstitute.org/
A National Conversation on Race and Gender After the Atlanta Spa Shootings

Join the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum in a national conversation on race and gender.
The six Asian American women who were killed in Atlanta faced specific racialized gendered violence for being Asian women and massage workers. We know firsthand that sexual violence, sexism, and racism are intertwined for Asian American and Pacific Islander women. They have always been a part of our lives — this horrific mass shooting laid bare what we used to face unnoticed.
We want our friends, our neighbors, and our communities to stand with us against racism, misogyny, and hate. Join this conversation to hear more about the identity and experience of Asian American women and learn how to take action in solidarity.
Mentorship Opportunity

Do you want to become a better mentor? If so, you can apply for this great mentorship opportunity that can help you advance your career!

Apply here for the Faculty Mentor Development Program and NIH-sponsored study.
Note: All program and study activities are conducted virtually. 

Application Deadline: Applications are being accepted through April, June. and August 2021

Eligibility: Must be a faculty member formally or informally mentoring another faculty member. 

For further questions and information, you can contact Ashkay Sood at
asood@salud.unm.edu or click on the link provided below.
NMDOH COVID-19 Vaccine Registration
For more information and to register for your initial COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster, click here.