ANN MARIE YAMADA joined the faculty in 2003 as an assistant professor after completing a National Institute of Mental Health-funded fellowship at the University of California, San Diego. Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of cultural research methodology and cultural competence. She is especially interested in enhancing the cultural relevance of community mental health services for adults and older adults with severe mental illness. Her current research is focused on developing faith-based services for Asian Americans and other under-represented groups with documented disparities in mental health service use.
As a Degree Fellow at the East West Center in Honolulu, Dr. Yamada received a PhD certificate in intercultural studies and was honored for distinguished service. For more than a decade, she has been dedicated to enhancing the quality of life and quality of care delivered to underserved minority populations. Her clinical practice experience has centered on providing health and mental health interventions with culturally diverse people with severe mental illness.
In 2007, Dr. Yamada received a three-year NIMH grant to pilot test a new intervention to give mental health providers in psychosocial rehabilitation services a more effective way to assess sociocultural issues across diverse client populations. The development and testing of the intervention was designed in close collaboration with a large mental health rehabilitation agency in Los Angeles that serves primarily an urban, inner city and ethnically diverse population of clients with severe mental illness. The study generated practical information to enhance the delivery of effective psychosocial interventions across diverse cultural groups and to support the development of culturally tailored interventions. The resulting tool has also been tested with Spanish- and Korean-speaking clients.
She is also using a mixed-methods approach to investigate how mental health/illness is understood by spiritual and religious leaders within the Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean communities. Understanding the thoughts, ideas and experiences of these clergy who work with individuals dealing with severe mental illness is key to developing alternative interventions for ethnic minorities to decrease stigma and encourage use of mental health services.
Dr. Yamada teaches research methods in the Master of Social Work program and cultural research methods in the doctoral program, and mentors students with interests in Asian-American culture and community mental health. In 2005, she received the USC Mellon Award for Excellence in Mentoring Students.
She has been appointed to the Council on Social Work Education's Council on Racial, Ethnic and Cultural Diversity and is an active member of the school's Diversity Committee. Her USC appointments include University Park Institutional Review Board; Saks Center on Law, Mental Health and Ethics; USC Davis School of Gerontology; and the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture. She also participates on the Clergy Advisory Committee for the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
In addition, Dr. Yamada serves as an ad hoc reviewer for NIMH and a reviewer for Asian American Journal of Psychology and Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. She also is a consulting editor for the Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work.
Dr. Ann Marie Yamada specializes in subtleties, the easy-to-miss cultural variables that can play an important role in the treatment of severe mental illness. As she sees it, the goal of social work is to match patients with personalized treatment programs, a process that is incomplete without a full understanding of their diverse backgrounds, values and cultural experiences. Through her research, Yamada is trying to fill those gaps and convince others to do the same.
A child of a military family, Yamada moved constantly as a youth and grew to appreciate the feeling of being an outsider. She spent many years in Hawaii, where she experienced life as a minority, and returned years later to earn a PhD certificate in intercultural studies at the East-West Center in Honolulu. She conducted federally funded postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Diego, with the Department of Veteran Affairs, further developing her interests in severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression among diverse populations.
But Yamada always hoped to have a meaningful impact in the community and pursued an opportunity to work with Dr. John Brekke at the USC School of Social Work. She received a federal training grant to expand his work at a local community mental health agency and joined the School of Social Work in 2003, where she studied the ways in which different ethnic groups coped with mental illness. Yamada noticed that few mental health providers in psychosocial rehabilitation services are trained to account for the influence of the nuanced cultural backgrounds of their patients. In 2007, she received a three-year federal grant to develop and test a new sociocultural assessment tool for service providers that work primarily with ethnically diverse clients with severe mental illness.
During her research, Yamada also noticed that there were very few Asian clients in her studies, even though mental illness affects all ethnic groups at roughly the same rate, and hypothesized that the pronounced cultural stigma associated with mental disorders among Asian populations might be having an effect. Teaming up with a group of doctoral students, Yamada decided to study the community support environment of Asian Americans, particularly spiritual settings. They interviewed clergy in Korean, Vietnamese and Chinese communities to gain a sense of the church’s role in promoting treatment, and Yamada is developing an intervention to address the spiritual needs of people with severe mental illness.
Yamada, who received an award in 2005 from the school for excellence in mentoring students, says that her research wouldn’t be possible without student involvement. Master’s and doctoral students who share similar ethnic backgrounds with study participants have the opportunity to conduct hands-on work in the community. Yamada also teaches a class on conducting research with people from different cultures and recently became involved in the military social work program with a focus on treatment of mental health concerns and intervention for wounded warriors and veterans.
Yamada, A.M., & Wenzel, S.L. (2016). Health Care for Los Angeles Communities: Integrating Health, Mental Health, Substance Use and Housing Services. Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
Park, I.J., Lee, K.K., Yamada, A.M., Kim, P.Y. & Lang, L.H. Measuring Stigma among Korean and Korean American Young Adults: Initial Validation of the Korean Social Stigma Scale (under review). International Journal of Social Psychiatry.
Yamada, A.M., Lee, K.K., Dinh, T.Q. & Kim, M.A. Sociocultural Issues and Experiences of Asian Americans Participating in Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services (under review). Psychiatric Rehabilitation.
Yamada, A.M., Lee, K.K. & Kim, M.A. (2012). Mental health referral behavior among Asian American immigrant clergy. Community Mental Health Journal, 48(1), 107-113.
Nguyen, H., Yamada, A.M. & Dinh, T.Q. (2012). Religious leaders’ assessment and attribution of the causes of mental illness: An in-depth exploration of Vietnamese American Buddhist leaders. Mental Health, Religion, and Culture, 15(5), 511-527.
Marsella, A.J. & Yamada, A.M. (2010). Culture and Psychopathology: Foundations, Issues, Directions. Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology, 4(2), 103-115.
Barrio, C. & Yamada, A.M. (2010). Culturally based intervention development: The case of Latino families dealing with schizophrenia. Research on Social Work Practice, 20(5), 483-492.
Chun, M.B., Yamada, A.M., Huh, J., Hew, C. & Tasaka, S. (2010). Utilizing the Cross-Cultural Care Survey to assess cultural competency in graduate medical education. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 2(1), 96-101.
Yamada, A.M., Lee, K.K., Dinh, T.Q., Barrio, C. & Brekke, J.S. (2010). Intrinsic motivation as a mediator of relationships between symptoms and functioning among individuals with schizophrenia spectrum disorders in a diverse urban community. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 198(1), 28-34.
Lee, K.K., Brekke, J.S., Yamada, A.M. & Chou, C.P. (2010). The longitudinal measurement invariance of the Satisfaction with Life Scale for individuals with schizophrenia. Research on Social Work Practice, 20(2), 234-241.
Yamada, A.M., Barrio, C., Harding, C., Webster, D., Atuel, H. & Hough, R.L. (2009). Cultural themes associated with pathways to initial use of psychiatric services in a tri-ethnic community sample of adults with schizophrenia.Schizophrenia Research, 115(2-3), 375-376.
Yamada, A.M., Barrio, C., Atuel, H., Harding, C., Webster, D. & Hough, R.L. (2009). A retrospective study of delayed receipt of initial psychiatric services in a tri-ethnic community sample of adults with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 108(1-3), 305-306.
Dinh, T., Yamada, A.M. & Yee, B.W. (2009). A culturally relevant conceptualization of depression: An empirical examination of the factorial structure of the Vietnamese Depression Scale. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 55(6), 496-505.
Brekke, J.S. & Yamada, A.M. (2008). Addressing mental health disparities through clinical competence not just cultural competence: The need for assessment of sociocultural issues in the delivery of evidence-based psychosocial rehabilitation services. Clinical Psychology Review, 28(8), 1386-1399.
Barrio, C., Palinkas, L.A., Yamada, A.M., Fuentes, D., Criado, V., Garcia, P. & Jeste, D.V. (2008). Unmet needs for mental health services for latino older adults: Perspectives from consumers, family members, advocates, and service providers. Community Mental Health Journal, 44(1), 57-74.
Marsella, A.J. & Yamada, A.M. (2007). Culture and psychopathology: Foundations, issues, and directions. In S. Kitayama & D. Cohen (Eds.)Handbook of Cultural Psychology. (pp. 797-818). New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc.
Salkever, D., Karakus, M., Slade, E., Harding, C., Rosenheck, R., Swartz, M., Hough, R.L., Barrio, C. & Yamada, A.M. (2007). Community-based employment and earnings of persons with schizophrenia: Evidence on descriptors and predictors from a large naturalistic study. Psychiatric Services, 58(3), 315-324.
Yamada, A.M., Valle, R., Barrio, C. & Jeste, J.V. (2006). Selecting an acculturation measure for use with Latino older adults. Research on Aging, 28(5), 519-561.
Yamada, A.M., Barrio, C., Morrison, S.W., Sewell, D. & Jeste, D.V. (2006). Cross-ethnic evaluation of psychotic symptom content in hospitalized middle-aged and older adults. General Hospital Psychiatry, 28(2), 161-168.
Yamada, A.M., Valle, R. & Matiella, A.C. (2006). Health literacy tool for educating Latino older adults about dementia. Clinical Gerontologist, 30(1), 71-88.
Singelis, T.M., Yamada, A.M., Barrio, C., Laney, J.H., Her, P., Ruiz-Anaya, A. & Terwilliger Lennerts, S. (2006). Metric equivalence of the Bidimensional Acculturation Scale, the Satisfaction with Life Scale, and the Self-Construal Scale across Spanish and English language versions. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, 28(2), 231-244.
Munoz, R.A., Zhu, B., Ascher-Svanum, H., Faries, D., Barrio, C., Hough, R.L. & Yamada, A.M. (2005). Tri-ethnic differences in symptom remission during the long-term treatment of patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 31(2), 547.
Barrio, C. & Yamada, A.M. (2005). Serious mental illness among Mexican immigrant families: Implications for culturally relevant practice. In M.J. Gonzalez and G. Gonzalez-Ramos (Eds.) Mental Health Care for New Hispanic Immigrants: Innovative Approaches in Contemporary Clinical Practice. (pp. 87-106). New York, NY: Haworth Press.
Barrio, C. & Yamada, A.M. (2005). Serious mental illness among Mexican immigrant families: Implications for culturally relevant practice. Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Services, 3(1/2), 87-106.
Snowden, L. & Yamada, A.M. (2005). Cultural differences in access to care.Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 1(1), 143-166.
Montross, L.P., Barrio, C., Yamada, A.M., Lindamer, L., Golshan, S., Garcia, P., Fuentes, D. & Hough, R.L. (2005). Tri-ethnic variations of co-morbid substance and alcohol use disorders in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 79(2-3), 297-305.
Valle, R., Yamada, A.M. & Barrio, C. (2004). Ethnic differences in social network help-seeking strategies among Latino and Euro-American caregivers of family members with dementia. Aging and Mental Health, 8(6), 535-543.
Yamada, A.M. & Yee, B. (2004). Support for healthy aging among Vietnamese American older adults: Association of social support with global health indicators. Gerontologist, 44, 185.
Barrio, C., Yamada, A.M., Atuel, H., Hough, R.L., Yee, S., Berthot, B. & Russo, P. (2003). A tri-ethnic examination of symptom expression on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale in schizophrenia spectrum disorders.Schizophrenia Research, 60(2), 259-269.
Barrio, C., Yamada, A.M., Hough, R.L., Hawthorne, W., Garcia, P. & Jeste, D.V. (2003). Ethnic disparities in use of public mental health case management services among patients with schizophrenia. Psychiatric Services, 54(9), 1264-1270.
Yamada, A.M., Valle, R. & Yee, B. (2003). Ethnic differences in social network help-seeking strategies among Latino. Gerontologist, 43(1), 520.
Yamada, A.M. & Yee, B.K. (2003). A survey of depressive symptoms among Vietnamese older adults. Gerontologist, 43(1), 129.
Hawthorne, W., Yamada, A.M., Barrio, C., Benson, D., Farmer, J., Gantsweg, R., Hough, R.L., Lohr, J., Mead, B., Patterson, T. & Ragsac, L. (2003). A Preliminary Outcome Study of Mental Health, Substance Abuse, and Domestic Violence Services for CalWorks Participants.
Yamada, A.M., Marsella, A.J. & Atuel, H. (2002). Development of a cultural identification battery for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Hawaii.Asian Psychologist, 3(1), 11-20.
Yamada, A.M., Barrio, C., Hough, R.L., Baquero, B., Garcia, P. & Amenson, C. (2002). Evaluation of the Cultural Relevancy of a Spanish Language Schizophrenia Education Class for Middle Aged and Older Caregivers.
Barrio, C., Yamada, A.M., Amada, S.Y., Hough, R.L. & Amenson, C. (2002).San Diego County Mental Health Services Cultural Competence System-Wide Assessment.
Yamada, A.M., Lindamer, L.A., Barrio, C., Dixon, L. & Jeste, J.V. (2002).Schizophrenia Education Class Evaluation: NAMI’s Family to Family Program for VA Families.