AWSHIP: Healthy Women, Healthy Communities


AWSHIP (Asian Women’s Sexual Health Initiative Project), is a five-year study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). It is directed by Dr. Hyeouk Chris Hahm at the Boston University School of Social Work.

Since 2010, AWSHIP has disseminated 7 journal articles and given over 30 presentations at both national and international conferences.  In addition to these publications there are currently 4 other studies in the process of being considered for publication by peer reviewed journals or being prepared by our research team.  We would like to extend a special thanks to all the Asian American women who participated in our study, and we are pleased to be able to share our findings with you.

To view our study findings, click here.

“Healthy Women, Healthy Communities” is a project conducted by Asian Women’s Health Initiative Project (AWSHIP).

The project will focus on values important to Asian Americans: familial relations, health, and community. Through these lenses, the project will examine the interrelation of mental, sexual, and physical health, and how culture and familial relations affect personal health practices. Specifically, “Healthy Women, Healthy Communities” will focus on factors including acculturation, family relations, depression, sexual risk behaviors, and gender inequities to determine their relation to the different subsets of personal health and risk behaviors. Since there is very little data currently on the health practices of Asian Americans, and Asian American women in particular, this study will help in the development of specific, culturally-competent programs for future generations of Asian American women in regards to mental, physical, and sexual health.

This project seeks to interview 600 Korean, Chinese, and Vietnamese women between the ages of 18-35, who are children of immigrants and live in the Boston area.

The project includes three phases. The first two phases will span five years.

Phase One: Computer surveys.

We used computer surveys that took about 30-45 minutes to complete. The survey included questions about family life, relationships, risk behaviors, mental health, culture, and values. There are about 600 women who completed this survey. Participants were compensated with $20.

Phase Two: In-depth interviews.

We conducted interviews with 50 interested women who have completed Phase 1 of the project. The interviews were one-on-one, and lasted for 90 minutes. During the interviews, we asked participants to describe at length their family life, relationships, risk behaviors, mental health, culture, and values. Participants were compensated with $20.

Phase Three: Prevention and intervention.

Based on data that we gather from Phases One and Two, we will develop a program for promoting healthy conditions among Asian-American females and for future generations.


How can I get involved?

If you have any questions that are not addressed in our Frequently Asked Questions section and are interested in participating in the study please call us at (617) 358-5148 or email us at  We will screen you over the phone or email to see if you meet the first round of criteria.  If you meet the first round of criteria, we will invite you to come for the evaluation to determine the second round of criteria.  If you meet both criteria, you will be able to participate in the AWARE study.