UMass Boston

Current And Recent Projects

Understanding Substance Abuse among Asian Americans in MA

The use and misuse of opioids by Asian Americans in Massachusetts is poorly understood. This project seeks to better understand how Asian Americans perceive and have been impacted by the opioid crisis. Other forms of substance abuse will be examined as well.  The researchers will gather information about what Asian Americans know about available resources to address substance abuse, what barriers exist in accessing current services, and how access can be improved. As this project is a collaboration with the Trotter Institute, Gaston Institute, and the Institute for New England Native American Studies, similar efforts will be occuring in the Latino, African American, and Native American communities. Support is provided by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services at the MA Department of Public Health.

Asian-owned Businesses in MA

IAAS is working with the Asian Business Empowerment Council to produce a profile of Asian American businesses in the state. The report will use several datasets from the U.S. Census to present information on number of firms, demographics of owners, employees, sales and revenues, and sectors. It will also review recent surveys to provide a look at how Asian-owned businesses have been recovering from challenges during the pandemic

Anti-Asian Racism Project 

The state legislature allocated special funds to the Institute for Asian American Studies to study the history and experiences of Asian Americans with racism. IAAS has hired dedicated staff to coordinate and engage in activities which will include conducting research, producing reports, and engaging in community outreach. Five faculty at UMass Boston have been awarded grants to support studies on Asian American experiences with racism that became particularly acute during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Experiences of Asian Americans During the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Since 2020–2021, IAAS has been examining the health, economic, and social impacts of the pandemic on Asian Americans in the Greater Boston area. The first study focused on Chinese, Vietnamese, and South Asian Americans with limited income and English proficiency. Currently, IAAS is conducting a similar study of the experiences of Cambodian Americans in Lowell, working with the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association as its partner. The report from the first study, authored by Dr. Carolyn Wong and Ziting Kuang, is available for download: Asian Americans and the COVID-19 Pandemic. Excerpts of the report translated to Chinese and Vietnamese are available from IAAS. Please contact us for digital copies.

Supporting Older Asian Americans in Greater Boston

IAAS has been partnering with the Gerontology Institute at UMass Boston on a number of projects to support older people of color in Greater Boston. A previous project, made possible by a grant from the AARP Foundation, sought to improve the access of older people of color to existing programs that could reduce economic insecurity. The Gerontology Institute’s Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging developed outreach and training materials with the assistance of IAAS, as well as the Trotter and Gaston Institutes, and the Institute for New England Native American Studies. A newer project funded by the City of Boston will seek to improve access to city services for older people of color living in Boston. IAAS also contributed to the report, Aging Strong for All: Examining Aging Equity in the City of Boston, which contains a profile of Boston's older Asian American population.

Ethnic Studies Curriculum for Boston Public Schools

Since 2020, IAAS, along with the Trotter and Gaston Institutes and the Institute for New England Native American Studies, has been working with Boston Public Schools to develop course curriculum and provide teacher training to expand ethnic studies in the high schools. Course materials are strongly tied to local communities of color. Asian American Studies Professor Peter Kiang has developed curriculm for this project based upon the experiences of Asian American communities in Chinatown and Dochester.

Climate Change and Communities of Color in Greater Boston

The Sustainable Solutions Lab (SSL) at UMass Boston was established to address how climate change and related policies affect and neglect vulnerable populations such as low-income groups, and racial, ethnic and linguistic minorities. IAAS, Gaston Institute, Trotter Institute, and Institute for New England Native American Studies are partners in this campus-wide effort. IAAS has assisted in research on how people of color in the Boston area understand and experience climate change. Findings can be found in two reports:  Views that Matter: Race and Opinions on Climate Change of Boston Area Residents and Voices that Matter: Boston Area Residents of Color Discuss Climate Change


To learn about our previous activities, please contact us.

Institute for Asian American Studies

Healey Library 10-7
100 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA 02125-3393