Eastern Michigan University professor participates in White House roundtable on gun violence impact on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities

Tsu-Yin Wu speaks at a roundtable discussion at the White House.

YPSILANTI — Tsu-Yin Wu, professor and director of the Center for Health Disparities Innovations and Studies at Eastern Michigan University, was recently invited by The White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention and Office of Public Engagement to participate in a pivotal in-person roundtable on June 25, 2024, at the White House. The discussion focused on assessing and addressing the impact of gun violence on Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities.

This invitation to the White House roundtable provided a rare and valuable opportunity to voice concerns and highlight the critical work done to address gun safety challenges in the AANHPI communities.

This group including Tsu-Yin Wu (front, center) was invited to a roundtable discussion at the White House to address gun safety challenges in the AANHPI communities.

“As a nurse by training, researcher, and a mom, every time I see another gun-related violence incident, it’s a sobering wake-up call that we must do more,” said Wu. “Every gun-inflicted death is preventable.” 

Wu's extensive research on gun violence, particularly its impact on Asian Americans, has garnered significant attention. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wu uncovered a correlation between racism and firearm ownership and injury. She recently led a groundbreaking study published in the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, examining the relationship between racism, mental distress, alcohol use, and firearm purchasing behavior among Asian Americans during the pandemic.

Wu emphasized the significance of firearm-safe storage, referencing the tragic school shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan in 2021 as an example of how proper storage can prevent inhumane fatalities. She also shared details about her ongoing work in Michigan, including a National Institutes of Health Community Firearm Violence Prevention grant the EMU Center for Health Disparities Innovations and Studies received. This grant supports interventions against gun use within Asian American communities nationwide.

She noted that through a community-participatory approach, her study team recruited participants from Asian American communities to take pictures to show the root causes of firearm violence. The resulting images and testimonies validated previous quantitative findings, emphasizing these communities' significant mental health concerns.

Wu advocated for primary prevention strategies when asked about solutions to combat this public health crisis. 

“Primary prevention offers the greatest societal value for investment,” said Wu. “This public health crisis can be addressed with effective tools in public health science and resources dedicated to the work of primary prevention. The efforts should use an evidence-based approach that prioritizes addressing underlying factors and root causes responsible for the heightened risks that Asian Americans are experiencing.”

The roundtable kicked off with remarks and a moving story from Rhais Bhuiyan, a gun violence survivor who was shot by white supremacist Mark Anthony Stroman. Bhuiyan later founded the non-profit organization World Without Hate.

In addition to Professor Wu, the esteemed panel consisted of Po Murray, chairwoman of Newtown Action, Hsing-Fang Hsieh, research assistant professor at the University of Michigan, Gloria Pan, spokesperson for AAPI Against Gun Violence Coalition and senior vice president of MomsRising.org.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 13,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

July 02, 2024

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher