Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The Founding of VAPA

In October 2010, Dung Ngo, a professor then at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, sent out an email invitation to Vietnamese American professionals in the mental health and related fields.  The intent of his invitation was to form a network of Vietnamese American mental health professionals who share a common goal to address the psychological needs of the Vietnamese American community.  Quite a few individuals responded to Professor Ngo’s invitation and expressed interest in joining such a group.  In the next few months, the founding members drafted the bylaws and named the group the Vietnamese American Psychological Association (VAPA).  The group further received input from external reviewers during the drafting of its bylaws.  Following the completion of the bylaws, VAPA invited several Vietnamese psychologists to join the Founding Board Committee to establish and oversee the voting procedures in order to select VAPA’s first Executive Board members.  The Founding Board Committee members included Dr. Krystianna Kieu Thu Nguyen (Chair), Dr. Quyen Tiet (Co-Chair), and Dr. Mary Vu.

Mission and Goals of VAPA

The core mission of VAPA is to advance Vietnamese American psychology, advocate for Vietnamese Americans and their psychological well-being, address the mental health needs of Vietnamese Americans, and provide resources for other professionals, clinicians, and agencies.

The Vietnamese American Psychological Association (VAPA) is an organization that comprises primarily of Vietnamese American professionals from multidiscipline and diverse training backgrounds.  To this end, the organization welcomes memberships from educators, researchers, religious and community leaders, and clinicians from various fields such as psychology, psychiatry, sociology, social work, and health education.

Accordingly, VAPA adopts the following core Goals:
y To advance and disseminate psychological research on Vietnamese Americans;
y To raise awareness and understanding of mental health issues of Vietnamese Americans;
y To increase access to culturally appropriate mental health treatments for Vietnamese Americans;
y To educate and train Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese mental health service providers; and
y To establish professional collaborations and networks among peers across disciplines.

Next Steps

VAPA is currently pursuing the following activities as a next step:
 Þ Recruit members through media network
Þ Obtain funding to organize a nation-wide Vietnamese American mental health conference
Þ Collaborate with other organizations with similar interests

Executive Board Members

Dung Ngo, Ph.D. – President, The University of Texas at Tyler, Department of Psychology and Counseling.
Hoa Vo, Ph.D. – Vice-President, Fogarty International Research Fellow Grant Recipient.
Hannah Nguyen, MSW – Secretary, Doctoral Student at UCLA.
Trinh Nguyen, MSW(c) – Treasurer, Graduate Student at USC.
Thomas Nguyen, MA – Webmaster, Doctoral Student at The University of Saint Thomas, MN.