Research in Asia

Heroin Recovery Project (Taipei, Taiwan; Mainland, China)

Principal Investigators: An-Pyng Sun & Flavio F. Marsiglia

In partnership with the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Bali Psychiatric Center, Taipei, Taiwan, this project aims at gathering information about the recovery process and associate experiences of Chinese heroin addicts in recovery in Taiwan and in mainland China.  Variables of interest include the drastic social-economic transition in the second half of the 20th century, an overly cherished value on academic performance, the shame orientation, the family orientation, which is also partly expressed in a distorted “blood is thicker than water” concept, the HIV/AIDS crisis, methadone treatment policy, the criminal justice system, and the scarcity of recovery resources. The findings of the study will have much needed practice and policy implications.


CSWE Program Participants 2017
CSWE Program Participants, November 2017


CSWE Program Participants April 2017
CSWE Program Participants with Representative Rebecca Rios, House of Representatives, Arizona Legislature, April 2017

China Collaborative Initiative (Wuhan and Nanchang, China)

Principal Investigators: Fei Sun & Flavio F. Marsiglia

As part of the China Collaborative Initiative launched by the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) in the U.S. in collaboration with the China Association of Social Work Education (CASWE) the CSWE selected seven American universities (e.g., ASU, University of Chicago, Case Western Reserve University) and matched them with seven regions in China with the purpose to help strengthen social work master programs in these regions. ASU School of Social Work was assigned to partner with ten master social work programs in four central provinces in China that has a population over 268 million. Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST), a university that has a long-standing relationship with ASU, is the hub university that coordinates the exchange between the SSW at ASU and other schools. Dr. Flavio Marsiglia and Dr. Fei Sun attended the kick-off meeting in the winter of 2012. From August 2014 to August 2015, the SIRC sponsored a visiting scholar Dr. Guohe Jiang as part of this collaboration. This summer, Dr. Marsiglia will be visiting Wuhan and Nanchang to provide a 7-day training on family therapy to social work faculties in this region. In addition, Dr. Marsiglia and Dr. Sun are involved in helping establish a research and service center focusing on health and aging within the School of Social Work at the HUST.



A Descriptive Study on Barriers and Resources for People with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) in Community

Investigators: Oh-Yong Kwon, J.D., President of the Korean Alliance on Mental Illness (Principal Investigator) and Hyunsung Oh, PhD, ASU

Funding agency: National Human Rights Commission of Korea (국가인권위원회), South Korea

Dr. Hyunsung Oh, an assistant professor affiliated with the GCAHR, is a policy and research advisor of the KAMI. KAMI is a flagship advocacy group for people with SMI in South Korea and has led a recent legal victory that successfully challenged lenient rules governing involuntary hospitalization of people with SMI in 2016. As a result of the constitutional challenge to the existing mental health law in 2016, South Korea has initiated deinstitutionalization of people with SMI from mental hospitals.

As a part of government’s effort to push deinstitutionalization, National Human Rights Commission of Korea supports a mixed study which aims to provide resources for people with SMI when reintegrating into the community. Dr. Oh and Mr. Kwon have formed a research team and are currently conducting this mixed study which involve qualitative and quantitative data collection from people with SMI, their family members, and a variety of mental health service professions. This research will propose policy ideas which will influence government and provider associations (e.g., Association of psychiatrists) when developing policy ideas intending to facilitate deinstitutionalization. 

Media Coverage:

In Depth 60 Minutes: The Truth of Schizophrenia and Crime in the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS), aired August 29, 2018

  • The KAMI and Dr. Hyunsung Oh collaborated with the In Depth 60 Minutes, an investigative television show, to cover a variety of evidence-based crisis intervention programs in Arizona, such as the Crisis Intervention Training for law enforcement officers and peer-support services for people with SMI. We believe this media exposure about mental health services in Arizona will help South Korea to explore evidence-based interventions supporting people with SMI reintegrate into the community with fewer barriers.

Op-ed in the Munhwa Newspaper, published August 10, 2018

  • This Op-ed responds to the recent idea of governmental officials amending the existing Mental Health Law. The amendment seems hastily crafted in response to a police officer killed by a man previously diagnosed with severe mental illness. The Op-Ed argued that amending the existing Mental Health Law doesn’t even recognize the underlying forces that have hindered mental health services being developed and provided to people with SMI living in the community. Existing pay schedule of the single-payer government health insurance doesn’t reimburse evidence-based services delivered by non-psychiatrists, such as social workers. As a result, extremely prolonged hospitalization is the most preferable choice of services among people with SMI.