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Wooksoo Kim

Associate Professor in School of Social Work and Co-Director, Immigrant and Refugee Research Institute, University at Buffalo

Wooksoo Kim

Associate Professor

"I am passionate about increasing knowledge concerning alcohol and gambling issues among Asian immigrant elders, a frequently marginalized population. Through research, we can improve the lives of this vulnerable population. The school has many faculty members interested in immigrant and refugee issues. Together, we can advance science and make changes in these communities."


·         PhD, Social Welfare, University of Washington (2002)

·         MSW, Mental Health, Ohio State University (1995)

·         BA, Archaeology and Art History, Seoul National University (1985)

Professional/Research Interests

Asian immigrants, Asian immigrant elders, and their mental health, alcohol use and gambling; immigration and acculturation; community-based research


Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing minority populations in the United States. Often portrayed as a population immune to many behavioral problems — i.e., the model minority myth — their problem behaviors are understudied and underestimated. Wooksoo Kim, Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, has extensive social work research experiences in the well-being of Asian immigrants. Particularly, her research focuses on how Asian immigrants and descendants change and develop their behaviors in response to the sociocultural environments of the host society to which they migrated. Her recent study demonstrated the differential behavioral adaptation of two subgroups of Filipino Americans living in California and Hawaii. Her work also focuses on testing popular beliefs about this population in problem behaviors such as drinking and gambling. Her research makes contributions to the knowledge base of Asian Americans to help social work practitioners, researchers and policy makers understand this population and design a culturally sensitive, age appropriate and community-supported intervention approach. Currently she is conducting an explorative study focusing on gambling behaviors among Asian immigrant elder living New York City (funded by Fahs-Beck Foundation) to investigate the impact of gambling and problem gambling on the well-being in this population.