Chao Yang

40 Under 40 Class of 2021

St. Paul, Minnesota

Assistant Director

University of Minnesota’s Community Engagement to Advance Research and Community Health (CEARCH) team
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As a first-generation Hmong American woman, I was born behind the barbed wires of Phanat Nikhom Thai Refugee Camp. Confined to the parameters of our dirt floor cage, my family awaited our fate for over five years as United States conspirators fleeing the Lao Communist government. When we arrived at last, we settled in the McDonough Public Housing Complexes, where I lived for the following 15 years. In the fourth grade, through the Public Achievement Program, I did community organizing for the first time. This experience set the precedent for the community organizing I continue to do.
Three words to describe me:
loving, fierce, resilient
The best part of my job:
centering the voice and needs of community members in health policies
Something that would surprise others about me:
I'm an avid writer and enjoy using my voice as a mechanism to dream, vision, and question the world.

Chao Yang's Recent Writing