The Health of Asian Americans Depends on Not Grouping Communities Under the Catch-All Term



Hand holding figures in four different colors to represent different races and ethnicities, photo by Iuliia Anisimova/Getty Images

Photo by Iuliia Anisimova/Getty Images

by Douglas Yeung and Lu Dong

December 13, 2021

What do a Hmong service member, an Indian student and a Korean Midwesterner all have in common? From a public health perspective, they are all the same: Asian American.

Health data have historically lumped all Asian American people together, obscuring distinct health disparities and leaving vulnerable communities neglected by researchers and policymakers. Asian American communities are essentially averaged-out into invisibility: Good health for some masks poor health for others.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at

Douglas Yeung is a social psychologist at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation. and a member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty. Lu Dong is a behavioral and social scientist at RAND.

This commentary originally appeared on NBC News THINK on December 13, 2021. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.