Chichun joined the MHR team as a Postdoctoral Fellow, bringing with him a wealth of experience both academically and clinically. He is passionate about supporting the mental health of communities experiencing marginalization. I caught up with Chichun for a short Q&A to learn more about his life in, and out, of work:
GM: Can you tell me a little bit about your academic background?
CL: I was born and raised in Taiwan and then I got my bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. During the time, I was struggling about my identities, relational issues, and memories of being bullied in my childhood. I saw a movie called “Good Will Hunting” which was a story about a mathematical genius and a psychotherapist. This movie changed my career goal from being a mathematician to a psychotherapist. This led me to get my first master’s degree in counselling psychology in Shanghai, China. During the time, I noticed that most mental health issues I was seeing were rooted within intimate and family relationships. This realization inspired me to pursue a second master’s degree and my doctorate in marital and family therapy in the United States. During the time, I published 5 peer-reviewed articles and provided 3,000 clinical hours as a marriage and family therapist. After my doctorate, I earned my third master’s degree in mental health from Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University. Now, I am an approved supervisor with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, a registered clinical counsellor approved by British Columbia Association of Clinical Counsellors, and a postdoctoral research fellow in School of Nursing, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
GM: What are your research interests and how have they evolved throughout your career?
CL: My major research interests are mental health issues (e.g., anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and suicidality) and sexual health issues (e.g., sexual behaviors, sexual relationships, and sexual transmission infections) among marginalized populations (e.g., LGBTQ, immigrant, and elders). Clinically speaking, in the past 10 years, I worked with diverse groups, including LGBTQ individuals, people living with HIV, immigrants, African-American adolescents, Chinese college students, couples and families suffering domestic violence, and adults suffering from suicidal ideation, substance use, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders. Those clinical experiences inspired me to explore what are the social determinants leading the marginalized populations’ health challenges. Thus, I spent 7 years working on both quantitative and qualitative studies regarding their health issues. To date, I have published 8 peer-reviewed articles (one in Mandarin and seven in English) which mainly focused on Asian gay men’s mental health and relationship issues, U.S. police chiefs’ challenges with obesity, and undergraduate and graduate students’ experiences involving in online and offline support groups. Now, I am working on studies regarding queer girls’ sexual debut, sexual minority youth’s coming out experience and parental support, and natural mentorship among African-American adolescents.
GM: Have you worked in men’s health before? And what inspired your journey into men’s health research?
CL: Yes, I worked with gay men and transgender men clinically and academically. My personal, clinical, and academic background inspired me to work in men’s health issues, including depression, anxiety, suicidality, and obesity issues.
GM: Can you tell me a little bit about the research you will be doing with MHR in the coming months?
CL: Over the next year I will be working on two projects with MHR. One is about queer men living with HIV and the other focuses on mental health among men with prostate cancer.
GM: What led you to pursue your current work?
CL: During my childhood when I was bullied, I felt hopeless because there was no one to support me. So, in my adulthood, I want to be the person to support marginalized populations. This is the key reason I work with marginalized populations, both clinically and academically.
GM: What do you hope to do after you complete your post doc here at MHR?
CL: My career goal is to become a professor doing research, teaching, and providing clinical services to improve the mental and sexual health among marginalized populations.
GM: What are your interests outside of work and research?
CL: It is difficult to answer this question because I am a workaholic. I might say “swimming, walking, eating, and sleeping”.
GM: And to wrap up, can you tell me one fun fact about yourself?
CL: I am extrovert and talkative when I have a speech, involve in a meeting, or provide a counselling service but I am introvert and quiet in other time.
Read more about Chichun in the About section of our website!