By Vincent Lim
Ann Nguyen, a former postdoctoral scholar with the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, shares many connections and research interests with her mentor Karen Lincoln.
Lincoln is an associate professor at the school and a senior scientist with USC Roybal Institute on Aging.
“She is a great mentor,” Nguyen said. “Her work and my work overlap very well and our approach to studying African American mental health is very similar. That was the biggest draw for me.”
Nguyen recently finished her two-year postdoctoral appointment at USC. She will soon join the faculty of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University as an assistant professor this fall.
During her time at USC, she received a grant from the USC Resource Center for Minority Aging Research. This summer she was selected by the National Institute on Aging to participate in the Butler-Williams Scholars Program, which was held on the National Institutes of Health’s Bethesda, Maryland campus. Last year, Nguyen also received the Award for Early Career Excellence in Research by the Program for Research on Black Americans at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.
It was through her experiences as a PhD student working with her mentors Robert Taylor and Linda Chatters at the University of Michigan that she first became interested in research on African Americans and social work and aging issues.
Lincoln also earned her PhD from the University of Michigan and was mentored by both Taylor and Chatters.
Taylor and Chatters introduced Nguyen to the National Survey of American Life—the largest nationally representative psychiatric data sample of African Americans and Caribbean Blacks in the United States.
“Being a minority myself, I realized that minorities are severely underrepresented in research,” Nguyen said. “The data set gave me an important opportunity to ask and answer some critical questions about mental health in a specific minority population—African Americans.”
Nguyen’s original plan was to earn her PhD in psychology, but her experiences with Taylor and Chatters changed the trajectory of her research. Her experiences as a licensed clinical social worker in Michigan further peaked her research interests.
“Ann has quite a bit of clinical experience,” Lincoln said. “Her research with data is informed by her clinical observations and experiences at the community level, which is definitely a strength.”
She plans to continue her clinical work along with pursuing her research endeavors at Case Western Reserve University.
“In my clinical practice, I worked with a lot of older adults,” Nguyen said. “Through that experience, I developed a strong interest in gerontology and mental health issues.”