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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Asian American Studies Faculty Pay Tribute to Lin Zhan

The Asian American Studies Program and the Institute for Asian American Studies met in the Chancellor’s Conference Room last Tuesday to celebrate Professor Lin Zhan’s book, Asian Americans: Vulnerable Populations, Model Interventions, and Clarifying Agendas, and give her a farewell. Zhan, RN, PhD, FAAN, is leaving UMass Boston to teach at UMass Lowell. The reception included a number of speakers who contributed chapters in Zhan’s book. Zhan commented, “It is not my work. The contributors humbled me immediately when I worked with them.” Zhan’s basis for writing the book is Asian voices, “Begging to be heard, Burst into telling, New and different stories,” (an excerpt from the poem that opens the book).

The foreword was written by Dr. Joyce Clifford, who commented, “Lin Zhan’s book is a remarkable book of stories with terrific insights and enlightenment in terms of the Asian Community including the larger issues of public policy,” According to Zhan, “This book is designed for health care providers, researchers, students of health service, educators, and policy makers who work with, and for, Asian American populations.”

The book is divided into three sections. Vulnerable Populations touches upon issues in the Asian Community ranging from culture, health, and health practices to lesbian, gay, and bisexual Asian Americans and their families. Andrew Leong spoke about environmental health in Boston’s Chinatown. Leong explains that children in Chinatown have parking lots instead of parks, and, in addition, Leong touched on the problematic issue of garbage dumping for Chinatown residents.

The second section of the book, Model Interventions, touches upon issues ranging from Learning to Build a Healthy Community: Youth Development for Street- Involved Cambodian Young Women by Professor Shirley S. Tang to Pedagogies of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Circles of Healing with Refugees and Veterans in Asian American Studies by Professor Peter Kiang. Tang’s chapter involves refugee victimization. Throughout the 1980s, Cambodian refugees were relentlessly victimized by racial violence ranging from vandalism and harassment to firebombing and murder. Kiang’s chapter touches upon the framing of Asians in a racial context as “the dehumanized enemy articulated by the white, working class.” These were views held by those in the highest level policymaking positions in the U.S. military. Tang and Kiang also spoke about young Cambodian women and Asian-American Vietnam Veterans.

The final section of the book, Clarifying Agendas includes a chapter by Zhan, Improving Health Care for Older Asian Pacific Islander Americans (APIA). Zhan, the last speaker at the reception, commented, “Education and health care in society is something we take for granted.” Zhan is sympathetic to the treatment of older Asian American Pacific Islanders because they are the fastest-growing ethnic minority population in the nation, yet their health care needs are often neglected, poorly understood, and given little attention by the health care system and policymakers.

As the end of the reception approached, Peter Kiang presented Professor Lin Zhan and Professor Zong-Guo Xia with certificates from the Asian American Studies department to recognize them as teachers and mentors. Kiang proceeded to present the professor with bamboo plants to represent “bending, but never breaking.”

The campus/community reception was not only to pay tribute to UMB Professor Lin Zhan’s book, but also as a farewell party to Zhan, taking a position at sister school UMass Lowell and Xia, who is leaving UMB to teach in New York.