Dr. Lilia Peng is a doctoral fellow in the 2022-2023 class of the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) with the American Nurses Association. She received a B.S. in nursing, a B.A. in community, environment, and planning, and a B.S. in economics from the University of Washington in addition to a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice (D.N.P.) in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track at the University of Washington in Seattle. Dr. Peng also serves as a naturopathic physician specializing in mental health at Bluestone Psychological Services in Washington state. Her professional interests include improving culturally sensitive mental health care for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and advancing health equity for marginalized groups, especially the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and LGBTQIA+ communities. She is also interested in holistic psychiatric care and the therapeutic use of psychedelic medicines in treating mental illness and substance use disorders.
Dr. Peng was initially drawn to the MFP because the program paved a way to network and identify with people of color with similar professional interests and career goals as clinicians and researchers. She shared, “I was drawn to the opportunity to join a network of BIPOC clinicians and researchers with a shared goal of working to improve behavioral health care for BIPOC communities.”
When reflecting on how the MFP has enriched her academic and professional career, Dr. Peng shared that it has provided her with support as well as opportunities for enrichment personally, professionally, and academically. She stated, “The all-around support the fellowship provides has been amazing, from mentorship to trainings to networking opportunities. The mentorship and leadership training has been most enriching for me and inspired me to think about additional ways to lead and serve in the future.”
Dr. Peng plans to apply the knowledge and skills acquired from the MFP as an educator, clinician, and advocate for mental health. She stated, “The trainings I have attended throughout the MFP have better equipped me to work from a health equity lens, both with individuals as a clinician and also with organizations and systems.” Currently, she is working on a project through her D.N.P. program to develop educational videos to increase patient engagement in behavioral health services within the AAPI community through raising awareness of mental health and decreasing stigma.
Post-MFP, Dr. Peng’s career goals include clinical practice and advocating for mental health services in marginalized communities. She explained, “After completing my D.N.P., I plan to work in community mental health, serving the AAPI community. I would also like to work on increasing access to culturally sensitive behavioral health care for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities through direct clinical services and community leadership.”
When asked if she had advice for anyone thinking about applying to the MFP, Dr. Peng remarked, “I strongly encourage you to apply! It is an amazing opportunity for growth, support, community, and networking.”