Contributed by Hye-Won (Grace) Shin, PhD
UCI MIND stands against racism, hate and violence. We laud the US Senate overwhelmingly passing the anti-Asian American hate crime bill Thursday, April 22, 2021. We stand with our Asian American researchers, physician scientists, research participants, patients and their caregivers and our broader Asian community members.
As we painfully witnessed, hate crimes, physical attacks and deplorable rhetoric against Asians across the United States have escalated. According to the research report by the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, hate crimes targeting Asians in the first quarter of 2021 surged by 169% compared to the same time period in 2020. This is despite that the majority of Asians express that they don’t report hate incidents due to skepticism that hate crimes will be prosecuted. As such, the recent Asian hate crime bill is timely and would be an important to restoring trust as well as to preventing anti-Asian sentiment.
Trust also serves as a major factor in willingness to participate in medical research. According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s special report on “Race, Ethnicity, and Alzheimer’s in America”, just like other people of color, many Asians and Asian Americans distrust medical research; do not believe healthcare professionals empathize with them; and state that discrimination is a barrier to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Researchers at UCI MIND recognize these disparities and have been at the forefront of facilitating diversity and inclusion in medical research to accelerate discovery in an inclusive, representative, and equitable way. UCI MIND has been providing culturally competent health education in multiple languages to understand Asian American needs and challenges. The Consent-to-Contact (C2C) registry (www.c2c.uci.edu) and collaborative CARE (the Collaborative Approach for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders Research and Education) registry (www.mind.uci.edu/CARE) are both available in multiple Asian languages. A main goal of these two registry studies is to increase the representation of Asian Americans in medical research studies.
Dr. Hye-Won (Grace) Shin is the Director of Asian American Community Outreach at UCI MIND where she develops scientific evidence-based community education programs and conducts research studies in both English and Korean. Dr. Shin’s research interest is on biomedical and social interventions for reducing racial and ethnic disparities in medical research, specifically among Asian Americans.