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WAANT brings together student, campus, and community voices to create a safe space for communication about Asian American mental health and for exploration of creative approaches to destigmatize mental health in Asian American communities. Through a series of integrated arts workshops with artists and activists, it creates unique opportunities for students to become community story collectors.

Students who participate in WAANT engage in a series of story-collecting workshops that culminate in a public event consisting of stories presented through a variety of art forms: theater productions, poetry, music, digital film clips, comics, photographs, and other visual media.

DHD 420: Mental Health, Asian Americans, and Community Engagement
UIC Department of Disability and Human Development
Spring 2023

In partnership with Chicago’s Asian American communities, DHD 420 takes an interdisciplinary approach to taboo-related mental health issues faced by Asian Americans. Students engage with community leaders and activists to gain a deeper perspective of stigma, disparity issues, and barriers that affect the lived mental health experiences of Asian Americans.

In 2023, this course was co-facilitated by UIC professor Dr. Rooshey Hasnain, community collaborator Ginger Leopoldo, and mentors. Students learned story-collecting techniques through a series of workshops. This experience culminated in a theatrical presentation during the WAANT production on April 25, 2023.

View DHD 420 Flyer

Our mission

  • Empower individuals from Asian American communities to share their stories and experiences related to mental health and disability.
  • Utilize creative expressions, such as theater, film, and multimedia, to amplify these stories and promote awareness, understanding, and empathy.
  • Break the silence surrounding mental health and disability in Asian American communities by challenging cultural stigmas and fostering open dialogue.
  • Encourage collaboration and engagement among students, educators, artists, and community members in creating a more inclusive and supportive society.


  • Objective 1: Produce theatrical performances, podcasts, film clips, and a PhotoVoice exhibit that highlight true-life narratives of A/AA experiences around mental health and wellness.​
  • Objective 2: Share narratives of A/AA experiences with mental health and wellness through creative arts.
  • Objective 3: Increase awareness within the A/AA community, on and off campus, of available mental health services and supports.
  • Facilitators

    Meet our dedicated event facilitators, a devoted team of individuals who bring our events to life. Our facilitators work tirelessly to create memorable and impactful experiences for all attendees. Their dedication to promoting mental health and disability awareness within the Asian American community is the backbone of our event’s success.
    Melissa Wen
    Lizzy Jang
  • Advisory Board

    Meet our Advisory Board, a dedicated group of students and advocates who make the WAANT Program what it is. Our team has been hard at work from beginning to end in order to bring WAANT to life. Their commitment to fostering mental health and disability awareness within the Asian American community drives the continued growth and success of the WAANT Program.

    Rooshey Hasnain
    Adrian Tabungar
    Bilal Kaludi
    Jasmine Doan
    Kathryn Smith
    Lizzy Jang
    Madeline Cardona
    Maegan Resuello
    Meera Kumar
    Melissa Wen
    Samia Aljaradat
    Seymone Russell
    Zainab Kazmi


  • Artists

    We are excited to collaborate with several talented artists who contributed to our program’s success. You can click here to view all the artists’ videos and more about their work on Circa Pintig’s YouTube channel.

    Here are the artists and their interviews:
    Erick Esteban
    Foline Roos
    Conrad Panganiban
    Rohan Zhou-Lee
    Jennifer Ligaya
    Ashley Dequilla