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The 4th Annual PEARL Conference

Time & Location

Dec 02, 10:00 AM – Dec 09, 3:45 PM


About the Event


The Pacific Education Advocacy Research & Learning Institute of New York, Inc. (P.E.A.R.L.), is excited to announce its 4th annual Opportunities & Challenges conference. As a community of scholars, researchers, educators, and practitioners, we strive to reduce health and behavioral health disparities by increasing access to culturally relevant models of care. In light of the continued violence and inequities we see, social justice is central to what we do and why we do it.  We also want to honor the strength and resiliency of the A/AAPI community. 


Stop AAPI Hate reported (8/12/21) tracking over 9,000 Anti-Asian incidents in the US. Multiple factors contribute to these incidents.  While health and structural inequities deepen, racism and xenophobia has proliferated. The US, as a White supremacist state, is undeniable. We see state-sanctioned violence towards Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and a rise in anti-Asian hate that connects back to a history of xenophobia and exclusion.  These inequities are not new; they are highlighted and amplified in the lens of a pandemic that universally impacts US citizens.


However, we also see how these events galvanized people from all different backgrounds to work toward a more just world. Our conference continues to do similar work by grappling with the idea of what it means to provide culturally relevant care in the continued time of COVID.  What new needs and/or questions have emerged in the Asian/AAPI communities? How do we modify the way we provide care or reframe the research questions we ask? How do we integrate both cultural and structural modifications in the adaptation and implementation of evidence-based models? How do we integrate ideas of resiliency and strength in our work?


This conference will address population-based issues, in the areas of health and mental health, children and families, young adults and aging for Asians/AAPIs.  We will also address gaps, barriers, and culturally driven disparities in health care and health access.



The conference would be of interest to licensed social workers, mental health counselors, human-services practitioners, researchers, students and community organizations working with Asian/Asian American Pacific Islanders (A/AAPI).  The conference will help convey information about current research, best practices, evidenced-based interventions, and ways to support culturally humble, holistic care.


Broad Learning Objectives:

By the end of this conference, attendees will:

Identify at least one (1) culturally congruent model of care for population-based health and mental health for Asians/AAPIs.

Grasp how the issues of diversity and equity issues impact integrative care for Asians/ AAPIs.

Define holistic and culturally humble practices with AA/AAPI women, children/families, health/mental health, and in aging.

Design effective and evidenced-informed strategies in serving API/AA and beyond.

Examine principles of resilience and its applications to AA/API communities.



Session Details:

Thursday, Dec 2 10:00am - 11:00am: 

Keynote Address - “Integrating Eastern philosophies and practices into promotion of health and mental health: The Model Development Journey in Hong Kong”

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Cecilia Lai Wan Chan,

Professor Emeritus, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong.

Dr. Celia Hoi Yan Chan,

Associate Professor, Head of the IBMS Evidence-Based Practice Research Lab., Department of Social Work and Social Administration, The University of Hong Kong.

Presentation Summary:
While social work focus on emotions, problem solving and system imbalances, Traditional Chinese Medicine focus on strengthening the harmonious balance on complex elements of an individual with his/her family, societal and environmental systems. This presentation will share how the authors generated the Integrative Body-Mind-Spirit (IBMS) intervention model in the past decades.  A significant number of the population in the East are not able or comfortable with “talking about their emotions”. Our team integrated mind-body intervention for cancer patients, women of divorce etc. in the 1990s. With the hope of mainstreaming such services, the team adopted a wide array of  impact assessment to affirm the efficacy of our intervention. In a dynamic and fluid global realities of shame, guilt, hate, violence and aggression, the promotion of a tranquil, peace of mind with compassion in our hearts and deeds become vital. Qigong movements and acupuncture points are developed into “One-Second Techniques” to promote self-help empowerment exercises. This presentation will share how evidence are being generated throughout the process of model development.

Thursday, Dec 2 11:00am - 12:30pm:

Mental Health Panel

Presentation summary: 

Providers from 3 different Mental Health programs will share their experiences about providing mental
health services during the Covid19 Pandemic and Spike of Anti-AAPI hate. Presenters are Dr. Yu-Kang
Chen from Hamilton Madison House Outpatient Clinic, Diane Valente and Zhen Anna Han from Child
Center of New York OnTrack Program working with first break psychosis population and their families,
and Dr. Nadine Chang and Chen Chen from Gracie Square Hospital’s Asian Psychiatry Program . They
will share their culturally sensitive effort in their clinical practice as well as community
education/outreach, including identifying stressors, raising mental health awareness, buidling practical
coping strategies and resilience, offering support in obtaining employment, financial resources and peer
advocacy, etc.

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Fen-Ju Tai, LCSW-R

Gracie Square Hospital

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Nadine Chang, PhD

Chair for Gracie Square Hospital Asian Psychiatry Program


Social Worker

Chen Chen, LMSW

Gracie Square Hospital Asian Psychiatry Program

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Clinical Psychologist

Yu-Kang Chen, Ph.D.

Hamilton-Madison House

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Social Worker

Diane Valente, LCSW-R

Program Director & Lead Clinician, OnTrack NY, The Child Center of NY, The Macari Family Center

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Social Worker

Zhen “Anna” Han, LMSW

Primary Clinician, OnTrack NY, The Child Center of NY, The Macari Family Center

Thursday, Dec 2 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM:

Child and Family Mental Health Workshop

Presentation summary: 

More details coming soon.

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Dr. Yuhuan Xie

Medical Director of Specialty Mental Health program at Asian Health Service

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Social Worker

Daniel Wei, MSW, LCSW

Integrated Behavioral Health Clinician, Asian Health Services, Oakland, CA

Friday, Dec 3 11:00am - 12:30pm:

COVID-19, Asian Americans, Challenges, and Resiliency

Presentation summary: 

In this presentation we will describe the NYU CARA research study (Covid-19, Asian Americans, Resiliency, and Allyship), a survey of 689 diverse Asian Americans about their experiences of anti-Asian discrimination, mental health, and coping in the time of Covid-19. First, we will describe the study methods and report the frequency of different experiences of anti-Asian discrimination and variation by gender, subethnic group, immigration status and age. Second, we discuss the mental health impact of anti-Asian discrimination and common coping responses across different Asian subgroups. Finally, guided by French et al.'s (2019) Psychological Framework for Radical Healing for People of Color, we explore the implications of going beyond individual-level approaches to coping with racial trauma to target the root causes of racial oppression. We present an empirical test of a conceptual model describing how discrimination experiences can lead to greater racial awareness, empowerment and participation in collective action (civic engagement and political activism) as a route to healing, transformation, and social change. The clinical implications of these findings will be discussed.

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Social Worker

Dr. Qingwen Xu

NYU Shanghai

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Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Doris Chang

Silver School of Social Work at New York University

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Social Worker

Gahwan Yoo

NYU Silver School of Social Work

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Aakriti Prasai

NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Friday, Dec 3 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM:

Critical Issues Facing Asian American Elderly – Anti-Asian Crimes, Xenophobia, COVID-19 Delta Variant and End-of-Life Conversations Panel

Presentation summary: 

This panel seeks to understand critical challenges facing Asian American elderly populations when they cope with COVID-19 Delta Variant, Anti-Asian crimes, xenophobia, multiple losses, and end-of-life decisions. The panel specifically explores several important topics: 1) navigating and coping with COVID-19, Anti-Asian hate crimes, and xenophobia among Chinese elderly; 2) adherence to safety protocols for COVID-19 Delta Variant among South Asian immigrant seniors; and 3) engaging multi-generational Chinese American families in advance care planning and end-of-life conversations.

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Dr. Kenny Kwong

Chair of Social Work Research, and the Director of Asian American Social Work Initiative at Touro College Graduate School of Social Work

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Dr. Pamela Yew Schwartz

Bereavement Counselor, Visiting Nurse Service of New York

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Sandy Chen Stokes, RN, MNS

Founder and Board Member, Chinese American Coalition for Compassionate Care (CACCC)

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Gourab Das Nayan, MPH, CHES

Health Educator and Program Coordinator, India Home Inc., Certified Health Education Specialist

Tuesday, Dec 7 11:00am - 12:30pm:

Integrating Self-Healing and Integrative Care Workshop



Dr. Yuhwa Eva Lu

Founding Board President,

Chair of the Board at PEARL Institute of New York

Presentation 1: “Working with Pacific Islander Communities to Promote Mental Health and Self-care”

This presentation is on promoting mental health through self-care practices in Pacific Islander Communities. The presentation provides insights into Pacific Islander Communities from two perspectives: a native cultural-spiritual perspective and from a “wayfinding” neurobiological perspective.  Topics discussed: 

  • Difference and similarity between indigenous and immigrant Pacific Islander Communities

  • Overview of mental health care in oceanic communities

  • Indigenous and immigrant cultural and spiritual healing beliefs and practices

  • Applying psychosocial and family-centered culturally relevant care techniques

  • Traditional “wayfinding theory” and its neurobiological underpinnings

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Gil Ontai, EdD, M.Arch.

Secretary of the Board at PEARL Institute of New York

Presentation 2: “Psychological Trauma in Traditional Chinese Medicine”

This presentation will explain the psychological trauma meanings in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and the common type of emotions can develop and trigger the abnormal qi movement and the mental and physical reactions in different ways and in different clinical symptoms, also the called somatization conditions are the symptoms caused by the abnormal mental energy movement from TCM point view.  Our emotions come from the internal mental energy dynamics and their communications, that are five types of shen, a traditional concept as well will be discussed briefly. So, in the real practice, when we know the emotions and qi reactivities, we will know how to make the proper management accordingly. The presentation will discuss the communication skills, psychological care in TCM, ways to contact nature, self-exercise skills, and the application of Meridians and points of all practical skills.

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Joseph Changqing Yang, PhD

VP of the Board at PEARL Institute of New York

Tuesday, Dec 7 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM:

Mental health of Asian American youth, young adults, and families: Risk, Resilience, and Culturally-Congruent Interventions

Presentation summary: 

Asian American youth and young adults have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation than their White counterparts. These vulnerabilities are further amplified by the high levels of unmet mental health needs, in part due to barriers related to accessing mental health services and the availability of culturally-congruent interventions. In this workshop, the presenters will share their research on risk (e.g., discrimination experiences) and protective factors (e.g., emotion regulation strategies) associated with well-being among Asian American youth, young adults, and families, and discuss their implications for resilience and family functioning for this population. The presentation will discuss the issues and considerations involved in translating this research into adapted interventions for Asian American communities. This workshop will be interactive, including experiential exercises, breakout rooms, and discussions.

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Cindy Huang, Ph.D.

Teachers College Columbia University

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William Tsai, Ph.D.

New York University

Thursday, Dec 9 11:00am - 12:30pm:

Addressing Asian American health Disparities through Culturally Tailored, Community-Engaged Research

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Dr. Sahnah Lim

NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Department of Population Health, Section for Health Equity

Presentation 1 Summary:

​South Asian older adults in the United States – a population that faces a complex disease burden, yet very little is known on mental health and related psycho-social outcomes (such as loneliness) experienced in the community. To better understand these challenges and identify points of intervention, India Home (a NYC senior center and frontline nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the needs of the South Asian adults) conducted a comprehensive needs assessment among its clients and members of the local South Asian community. I will be sharing some of the results of this needs assessment, which was collaboratively analyzed by partners at India Home and NYU, and included: 1) challenges related to loneliness and emotional distress, 2) significant intersection of general self-rated health and mental health outcomes, 3) disproportionate mental health burden experienced by Indo-Carribeans.

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Mr. Shahmir Ali

New York University School of Global Public Health

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Ms. Sanjana Inala 

Clinical Research Coordinator at Mount Sinai Hospital

Presentation 2 Summary:

Dr. Doan will be presenting on how COVID-19 has magnified multiple threats for Asian Americans—including anti-Asian discrimination and violence, economic challenges, and health and mental health challenges. To effectively mitigate the long-term impacts of the pandemic on health in Asian American communities, we must contextualize new threats from the pandemic, as well as underlying threats that existed pre-pandemic, and intervene in concerted efforts. We propose a Syndemic Framework to understand Asian American health in the context of COVID-19 and to address the long-term consequences on the health.

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Dr. Lan Doan

NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Department of Population Health, Section for Health Equity

Presentation 3 Summary:

Dr. Yi will be presenting on the intersection of discrimination, nutrition and food access in the Chinese American community in NYC - and highlight the importance of cultural adaptation.  She will discuss two interrelated nutrition initiatives being implemented in partnership with Chinese serving community organizations: an intergenerational nutrition education program and a culturally adapted model to enhance access to fresh produce.

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Dr. Stella Yi

NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Department of Population Health, Section for Health Equity

Thursday, Dec 9 2:00pm - 3:30pm:

Resiliency and Community Building in Times of Crisis

Presentation summary: 

Much room is needed to learn what practices community members have stepped forward to confront in terms of a global pandemic that spawned a disturbing rise in anti-Asian hate and violence, coupled with a heightened societal upsurge around the death of George Floyd and the rise of Black Lives Matter.

With the strain, shock, and stress imposed on marginalized communities, helping professionals and concerned community members negotiated uncertain shoals and nevertheless took action, joining together to address challenges imposed by the pandemic and the rise of anti-Asian hate and violence through advocacy, creativity, and volunteer service. 

CPC staff and partners will join a panel discussion to unpack "Resiliency and Community Building in Times of Crisis" during the 4th Annual Conference from P.E.A.R.L. Institute of New York on Thursday, December 9th at 2:00 pm.

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Steven Yip

Director of Operations at the Chinese-American Planning Council

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Judy Ah-Yune

Director of CPC’s Manhattan Community Services

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Mary Cheng

Director of CPC’s Childhood Development Services

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Winston Chiu

CEO of FEED Forward

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Carlyn Cowan

Chief Policy and Public Affairs Officer of the Chinese-American Planning Council

Thursday, Dec 9 3:30pm - 3:45pm:

Official Closing Ceremony

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