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Lawrence H. Yang

Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Columbia University Medical Center

Lawrence H. Yang, PhD, focuses on research in several key areas of psychiatric epidemiology. This includes defining theoretical work on how culture is conceptualized in relation to stigma and implementing interventions to lessen the prevalence and distribution of this disease. Dr. Yang has applied this concept specifically to stigmatized illnesses in China, using empirical data to examine how stigma towards schizophrenia in this setting impedes symptomatic and social recovery. His work has advanced the study of psychiatric stigma among Asian Americans, and Chinese Americans specifically, contributing to epidemiology's focus on treatment and illuminating the mechanisms that lead to mental health disparities. Dr. Yang will be collaborating with the Center for Asian American Health Disparities Research to develop interventions with psychoses among Asian Americans and provide a national platform for this work. He is also examining the neurocognitive and social cognitive underpinnings of the new designation of a "high risk for psychosis", a potentially transformative new syndrome to detect psychotic signs before symptoms develop into a full psychotic disorder. The findings from his work will help guide the implementation of this syndrome globally. In addition to his research in China, Dr. Yang is applying his work to new contexts and is involved in mental health research in Latin America.
Areas of Expertise
Education & Training:

    Other, , Clinical Fellowship- Harvard Medical School- Massachusetts Mental Health Center

    PhD, , Boston University

    BA, , Wesleyan University


Mailman School Affiliations:

Additional Affiliations:

  • Research Associate, Asian American Center on Health Disparities, University of California at Davis
  • Board of Directors, Asian-American Psychological Association, 2003-2005
Honors and Awards:
  • Young Investigator Award- National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression- 2010
  • Emerging Leader Award for Significant Contributions to the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Psychology- 2010
  • Four Separate Early Career Research Awards- 2008-2012; from American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association; Asian American Psychological Association
  • Two Outstanding Student Dissertation Awards (Clinical Psychology and International Psychology) American Psychological Association
  • High Honors, Phi Beta Kappa, Wesleyan University
New York City
    Expressed Emotion and Stigma among Chinese-Americans with Schizophrenia
    This project seeks to examine how cultural, familial, and societal factors affect course of schizophrenia among Chinese-Americans immigrants.

    Anti-Stigma Intervention for Chinese American Relatives of People with Psychotic-Spectrum Disorders in New York City
    This project seeks to empower a small cadre of Chinese American caregivers of people with severe mental illness to co-lead a culturally-adapted anti-stigma intervention.

    Stigma Associated with a High-Risk State for Psychosis
    This project examines stigma experiences among a High Risk for Psychosis (HRP) group at initial HRP identification and then at 6 month follow-up. We also examine the neurocognitive and social cognitive underpinnings of stigma perceptions in the HRP group. We examine how stigma and its social cognitive bases in the HRP group may adversely impact psychological, social, and developmental outcomes among HRP individuals.

    Deficit Syndrome Subtype of Schizophrenia in China
    This project examines the Deficit Syndrome 'subtype'-characterized by persistent and primary negative symptoms-for the first time in an 'untreated/minimally treated', non-acute group to facilitate the causes and identification of salient biological markers of schizophrenia.

    Regional Network for Mental Health Research in Latin America
    This Collaborative Hub for International Research in Mental Health (RFA-MH-11-070) establishes a research hub in Latin and South America (Chile, Brazil and Argentina). We plan a multi-site Randomized Clinical Trial creating a task-shifting intervention involving peer mentors in which primary care is linked to MH specialty care for individuals with severe mental illness. Dr. Yang leads the Shared Research Component-the development of a culture-specific measure of internalized stigma-across Hub sites.
    Countries: Chile

    Promising Practices Programs to Reduce Stigma
    This project, in conjunction with the California Center for Dignity, Social Inclusion and Stigma Elimination, seeks to examine strengths, resources and culturally specific attitudes among California's culturally and ethnically diverse communities to reduce mental illness stigma.

Selected Publications:
  • Yang, L.H.*, Phillips, M.R.*, Li, X.*, Yu, G., Zhang, J., Shi, Q., Song, Z., Ding, Z., Pang, S., Susser, E. [* indicates co-1st authors] Relation of rural versus urban context to employment outcome for people with schizophrenia in a population-based study in China British Journal of Psychiatry. in press
  • Yang, L.H., Chen, S., Chen, C.M., Khan, F., Forchelli, G., Javitt, D.C. Yang, L.H., Chen, S., Chen, C.M., Khan, F., Forchelli, G., Javitt, D.C. Schizophrenia, Culture and Neuropsychology: Sensory Deficits, Language Impairments, and Social Functioning in Chinese-speaking Schizophrenia Patients. Psychological Medicine, 42 (7) 1485-1494. 2012
  • Yang, L.H., Phillips, M.R., Lo, G., Chou, Y.W., Zhang, X., Hopper, K. "Excessive Thinking" as Explanatory Model for Schizophrenia: Impacts on Stigma and 'Moral' Status in Mainland China" Schizophrenia Bulletin. 36 836-845 2010
  • Yang, L.H., Corsini-Munt, S., Link, B., Phelan, J. “Beliefs in Traditional Chinese Medicine Efficacy among Chinese Americans: Implications for Mental Health Service Utilization”. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 197(3) 207-210 (2009)
  • Yang, L.H., Wonpat-Borja, A.J., Opler, M., Corcoran, C. Potential Stigma Associated with Inclusion of the Psychosis Risk Syndrome in the DSM-V: An Empirical Question Schizophrenia Research, 120 42-48 2010
  • Yang, L.H., Link. B.G. Comparing diagnostic methods for mental disorders in China. The Lancet 373 (9680) 2002-2004 (2009)
  • Xu, M.Q., Sun, W.S., Liu, B.X., Feng, G.Y., Yu, L., Yang, L.H., He, G., Susser, E., St. Clair, D., He, L. Prenatal malnutrition and adult schizophrenia: further evidence from the 1959-60 Chinese famine. Schizophrenia Bulletin 35: 568-576 (2009)
  • Yang, L.H., Phelan, J.C., Link, B.G. Stigma towards traditional Chinese medicine and psychiatric treatment among Chinese-Americans. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology 14 (1) 10-18. (2008)
  • Yang, L.H., Kleinman, A. 'Face' and the Embodiment of Stigma: Schizophrenia and AIDS in China. Social Science and Medicine 67 (3), 398-408. (2008)
  • Yang, L.H., Kleinman, A., Link, B.G., Phelan, J.C., Lee, S., Good, B. Culture and Stigma: Adding Moral Experience to Stigma Theory. Social Science and Medicine, . 64(7) 1524-1535 (2007)

Contact Information


722 West 168th Street, Room 1610

New York, NY 10032






For inquiries contact:

Lawrence Yang