4 Amazing Asian American Contributions to Society
Asian American contributions in all fields are part of the reason America is a leading nation. From atomic science to YouTube, check out some of the major advancements made by Asian Americans that benefit us all!
Functional Cure for HIV-Positive Infants
Throughout her 30-year career, Filipino American physician and pediatric immunologist Katherine Luzuriaga, M.D., has made significant contributions to our understanding of persistent viral infections in children. “In addition to developing one of the early diagnostic tests for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in children, Luzuriaga also conducted clinical research into antiretroviral therapies (ART) labeled for use in children,” History notes.
In 2014, Luzuriaga and Deborah Persaud, M.D., were credited with the first well-documented case of an HIV-infected child being functionally cured of the infection. This means that the toddler showed no signs of the disease or detectable levels of virus without detectable levels of virus and no signs of disease, even without taking antiretroviral therapy.
“Despite the fact that research has given us the tools to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, many infants are unfortunately stillborn infected. With this case, it appears we may have not only a positive outcome for the particular child, but also a promising lead for additional research toward curing other children,” NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. shares in a 2014 news release from the National Institutes of Health.
Along with Karim, a Bangladeshi-German American, the core team behind YouTube included Taiwanese American Steven Chen, as well as Chad Hurley. This website started out as a way to watch cute videos but since its beginning, has transformed as a way to keep up with news, learn DIY techniques and millions of other things that capture the attention of billions of people every day, worldwide.
Rights for Assault Survivors
In 2013, Amanda Nguyen attempted to access information on her rights as the survivor of a sexual assault and realized it was almost impossible. Once she realized that there wasn’t national legislation in existence establishing consistent rules, rights and protections for individuals who have experienced sexual violence, she wrote it herself.
The Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act of 2016 provides survivors with certain guarantees, including the rights to a rape kit procedure free of charge and the requirement that kits are preserved for 20 years. Nguyen was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, and is the founder and CEO of Rise, a multi-sector coalition that advocates for survivors’ rights, and assists people in writing and passing their own bills.
In the 1940s and 1950s, physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, Ph.D., was instrumental in the developing field of atomic science. History shares that she specifically improved existing technology for the detection of radiation and the enrichment of uranium in large quantities.
Following the war, Wu’s research focused on beta decay, which happens when the nucleus of one element changes into another element. In 1956, theoretical physicists Tsung Dao Lee, Ph.D. and Chen Ning Yang, Ph.D. asked Wu to devise an experiment that would prove their theory on beta decay. Even though Wu did it, she did not receive the 1957 Nobel Prize along with Lee and Yang—one of many examples of her work being overlooked. An early advocate for women in STEM, Wu spoke at a symposium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1964, famously telling the audience, “I wonder whether the tiny atoms and nuclei, or the mathematical symbols, or the DNA molecules have any preference for either masculine or feminine treatment.”
To learn more about incredible Asian American contributions to society, visit The History Channel.