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Engaging Asian Youth in Challenging the Stigma - a Model for a Youth-Led Program (Public Health Institute)

Caroline Chou was born and raised in the Bay Area to Taiwanese immigrants. Growing up in a household dictated by Chinese patriarchal values, she experienced deeply rooted depression in both her sister and herself that remained unaddressed throughout childhood. Seeing her sibling’s mental well-being disregarded by her family led to many years of silence and isolation. Caroline channeled her energy towards her education and, upon graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, worked at the Public Health Institute as a Health Educator for the IWAY (Improving the Wellness of Asian Youth) program, which aims to promote emotional wellness among Asian youth. Through her work, Caroline strives to disrupt stigma and to empower young persons to speak up and share their stories about mental health. She advocates for their emotional wellness so that they do not endure in isolation, but heal as a community.

Ms. Tan completed her Bachelor of Science in Health Education and minored in Asian American Studies at the San Francisco State University. In 2018, she obtained her Master’s in Public Health at the University of San Francisco with a concentration in Health Policy and Leadership. Fueled by her experiences of growing up with Chinese immigrant parents who had difficulty maneuvering the American healthcare system, she is passionate about improving the health outcomes of the Asian American community by addressing health disparities, cultural and linguistic barriers, and social injustice issues. Currently, she is working as a Project Assistant and Health Educator for the Health Intervention 

Denise Lee fell in love with youth work and activism when she was only a middle school kid. Inspired by her own youth leaders and mentors, Denise quickly developed a passion for youth leadership development, community engagement, and social justice. This resolve stuck with her through college and graduate school, leading her to get her BA in Sociology with a Minor in Education at the University of California Irvine and then a Masters of Arts in Urban Studies with an emphasis in Youth Development. A strong drive to grow young people, she has demonstrated this commitment in a variety of settings from traditional institutions of education to faith-based community programs. Over the past 10 years, Denise has been dedicated in creating programs that help young people learn and be confident in who they are and have agency in the change they want to see happen. As a Youth Program Coordinator for Asian Health Services, she currently works to uphold her values in social justice and youth empowerment by providing spaces for youth leadership, connecting AHS staff to local youth and their needs, as well as preparing future generations for the world to come.

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