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ITS Profile: Keith Chan of Research Services


A profile of Research Services graduate student assistant Keith Chan.

Keith Chan, a graduate student assistant in Research Services, is currently working on a Ph.D. at the Graduate School of Social Work, Class of 2011.  Originally intent on becoming a therapist and continuing his career in mental health, Keith worked on a number of research projects with professors in the School of Social Work and discovered a synchronicity with social justice research.

Keith has many diverse research interests in health and well-being, including ethnographical studies of Chinese older adults, statistical analyses of acculturation with Asian immigrants, processes in loss and grieving, and measurement research methodology.

Keith immigrated to New York City with his family in 1983, and grew up in Brooklyn while attending a private high school on scholarship in Manhattan. He received his BA in English literature from Brown University in 1998 and a Masters in Social Work from BC in 2006.  

Keith has strong interests in community mental health, and began his first job in 1998 with the South Cove Community Health Center in Chinatown and the Leather District of Boston. He provided direct care services to Chinese Americans diagnosed with a major mental illness, along with advocating for families with children with developmental delays in the Boston Public School system. From 1999 to 2004, Keith worked as a case manager at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, providing human service coordination for primarily an African American population of high-risk persons diagnosed with serious mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

Keith is currently a Diversity Fellow at Boston College and looks forward to furthering his research for his dissertation in cross-cultural mental health, health disparities, and wellness, particularly for marginalized populations. While at BC, Keith has worked closely with students and professors in social work, nursing, theology, and education.

He has published an article using qualitative research techniques with Professor Othelia Lee from the School of Social Work, examining spirituality and the coping strategies of older Chinese Americans. He has a working paper with Professor Thanh Van Tran, the Research Chair at the Graduate School of Social Work, which examines the measurement invariance of a perceived discrimination scale for a large population sample of Chinese and Vietnamese Americans.

A publication has been recently accepted by the journal “Death Studies,” which Keith co-authored with Professor Melissa Kelley from the school of Theology, applying a structural model to understand the impact of attachment to God with wellness outcomes.

Keith also has three other projects with professors in the Connell School of Nursing:

  • A study with Professor Rosanna DeMarco to examine the impact of a nursing intervention for a sample of HIV-positive women living in the Dorchester area;
  • A project with Professor Mary Lou Sieffert to determine the impact of wellness outcomes for a sample of women diagnosed with ovarian and uterine cancer;
  • Co-authoring a study with Professor Mary Aruda that explores sex and pregnancy with female teens living in New Bedford.

In his spare time, Keith enjoys training in the martial arts, which he began as a teenager. He has received advanced instruction in Hung Gar Kung Fu, Shaolin long staff, Tibetan White Crane, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Kenjutsu and Karate. He has been teaching a martial arts class for children every Sunday since 2002 at the Wang YMCA, located in Boston’s Chinatown. He also enjoys food, and has made a mission of finding the best places for good meals in Boston. When inspired, Keith has been known to cook up a fantastic feast of fusion cuisines, influenced by his Chinese upbringing and his distinguishing palate for foods from different cultures.