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.