Lawrence Yang, PhD

  • Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology
Profile Headshot


Lawrence H. Yang, PhD, focuses on research in several key areas of psychiatric epidemiology. First, from his NIMH K-award, he has formulated defining theoretical work on how culture relates to stigma and implementing interventions to improve recovery for different stigmatizing conditions (mental illness and HIV), with a focus on Chinese groups. Second, Dr. Yang is PI of a 5-year NIMH R01 grant examining the neurocognitive and social cognitive underpinnings of the new ""clinical high risk state for psychosis"" designation, a potentially transformative new syndrome to detect psychotic signs before symptoms develop into a full psychotic disorder. Third, Dr. Yang has incorporated these research areas into his work in global mental health. He has received a newly-funded, second R01 (Dr. Michael Phillips, co-PI) examining the clinical and cognitive characteristics of untreated psychosis in China. He also leads a component of a NIMH U19 grant investigating the barriers and facilitators involved in scale up of mental health interventions for psychosis in Latin America (Chile, Brazil and Argentina). He has sixty-five publications (fifty-five peer-reviewed papers; >50% first-authored), including publications in Psychological Medicine, the British Journal of Psychiatry and The Lancet. Dr. Yang has received eight Early Career Awards, six of which are national, for his work.

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology

Administrative Titles

  • Research Member, Center for the Study of Social Inequalities and Health
  • Steering Committee Member, Columbia University Global Mental Health Program
  • Steering Committee Member, Center for Research on Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic, and Behavioral Genetics

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BA, Wesleyan University
  • PhD, Boston University
  • Fellowship: Harvard Medical School- Massachusetts Mental Health Center

Committees, Societies, Councils

Award for Emerging Leadership---Committee on Socioeconomic Status (APA) (2012)

Award for Advancing Minority Mental Health- American Psychiatric Foundation (Board of Directors, American Psychiatric Association) (2012)

Young Investigator Award- NARSAD/ Brain and Behavior Foundation (2010)

Emerging Leader Award for Significant Contributions to the Advancement of Ethnic Minority Psychology- American Psychological Association) (2010)

Calderone Award for Junior Faculty- Columbia University School of Public Health (2009)

Early Career Research Award- Minority Fellowship Program, American Psychological Association (2008)

Editorial Boards

Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology (Journal of the American Psychological Association)

Stigma and Health (Journal of the American Psychological Association)

Honors & Awards

REACH for the R01 Award- Columbia University Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (2009)

Early Career Award- Asian American Psychological Association (2008)

Dalmas A. Taylor Outstanding Student Dissertation Award (American Psychological Association, Division of Clinical Psychology- Ethnic Minority Focus) (2002)

Winner- Outstanding Dissertation Award (American Psychological Association- Division of International Psychology) (2002)

High Honors and Phi Beta Kappa, Wesleyan University


Research Interests

  • Community Health
  • Mental Health

Selected Publications

Yang, LH, Chen, F., Sia, KJ, Lam, J.J., Lam, K, Ngo, H., Lee, S., Kleinman, A., Good, B (2014). What matters most: a cultural mechanism moderating structural vulnerability and moral experience of mental illness stigma. Social Science and Medicine (special issue on Structural Stigma), 103, 84-93.

Yang, L.H.*, Purdie-Vaughns, V.*, Kotabe, H., Link, B., Saw, A., Wong, G. Phelan, J. (2013). Culture, Threat, and Mental Illness Stigma: Identifying Culture-Specific Threat among Chinese American groups. Social Science and Medicine, 88, 56-67 [* indicates co-1st authors].

Yang, L.H.*, Phillips, M.R.*, Li, X.*, Yu, G., Zhang, J., Shi, Q., Song, Z., Ding, Z., Pang, S, Susser, E. (in press). Marriage outcome and relationship with urban versus rural context for individuals with psychosis in a population-based study in China. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

Yang, L.H.*, Phillips, M.R.*, Li, X.*, Yu, G., Zhang, J., Shi, Q., Song, Z., Ding, Z., Pang, S., Susser, E. [* indicates co-1st authors] (2013) Relation of rural versus urban context to employment outcome for people with schizophrenia in a population-based study in China British Journal of Psychiatry, 203:272-279

Yang, L.H., Chen, S., Chen, C.M., Khan, F., Forchelli, G., Javitt, D.C. Yang, L.H., Chen, S., Chen, C.M., Khan, F., Forchelli, G., Javitt, D.C. Schizophrenia, Culture and Neuropsychology: Sensory Deficits, Language Impairments, and Social Functioning in Chinese-speaking Schizophrenia Patients. Psychological Medicine, 42 (7) 1485-1494. 2012

Yang, L.H., Phillips, M.R., Lo, G., Chou, Y.W., Zhang, X., Hopper, K. ""Excessive Thinking"" as Explanatory Model for Schizophrenia: Impacts on Stigma and 'Moral' Status in Mainland China"" Schizophrenia Bulletin. 36 836-845 2010

Yang, L.H., Wonpat-Borja, A.J., Opler, M., Corcoran, C. Potential Stigma Associated with Inclusion of the Psychosis Risk Syndrome in the DSM-V: An Empirical Question Schizophrenia Research, 120 42-48 2010

Yang, L.H., Link. B.G. Comparing diagnostic methods for mental disorders in China. The Lancet 373 (9680) 2002-2004 (2009)

Yang, L.H., Kleinman, A. 'Face' and the Embodiment of Stigma: Schizophrenia and AIDS in China. Social Science and Medicine 67 (3), 398-408. (2008)

Yang, L.H., Kleinman, A., Link, B.G., Phelan, J.C., Lee, S., Good, B. Culture and Stigma: Adding Moral Experience to Stigma Theory. Social Science and Medicine, . 64(7) 1524-1535 (2007)

Global Health Activities

Characterizing Cognition of Untreated Psychosis in China: This newly funded, five year R01 (co-PI, Dr. Michael Phillips) examines cognition of psychosis among completely untreated individuals in China, compared with a matched treated sample of individuals with psychosis. This project also involves a capacity-building component to provide training for the treatment of first-episode psychosis.

Regional Network for Mental Health Research in Latin America : This Collaborative Hub for International Research in Mental Health (NIMH U-19 grant) establishes a research hub in Latin and South America (Chile, Brazil and Argentina). We are implementing a multi-site Randomized Clinical Trial creating a task-shifting intervention involving peer mentors in which primary care is linked to mental health specialty care for individuals with severe mental illness. Dr. Yang leads the Shared Research Component- which will develop a measure of barriers and facilitators to scale-up of mental health services -in Latin America and across Hub sites.

Assessing and Reducing Stigma of HIV in Botswana: This project seeks to assess culture-specific aspects of HIV stigma in Botswana to improve HIV testing, treatment adherence, and recovery. This project is being undertaken with the University of Botswana and the University of Pennsylvania.

Urban Health Activities

Anti-Stigma interventions for Chinese-Immigrants with Psychosis: This intervention, which is the first of its kind to reduce stigma of mental illness among Asian Americans, seeks to reduce stigma of psychosis among Chinese immigrants at Hamilton Madison House, NYC.

Examining Stigma of HIV among Chinese immigrants in NYC: This qualitative and psychometric project seeks to examine stigma associated with HIV among Chinese immigrants in NYC

Stigma Associated with the Clinical High-Risk State for Psychosis: This 5-year R01 project, funded by the NIMH, examines stigma experiences among the Clinical High Risk State for Psychosis (CHR) group at initial identification and then at 6 month follow-up. We also examine the neurocognitive and social cognitive underpinnings of stigma perceptions in the CHR group. We examine how stigma and its social cognitive bases in the CHR group may adversely impact psychological, social, and developmental outcomes among CHR individuals.