Clinical Book Discussion Program Presents Dismantling the Model Minority: Narratives of intergenerational trauma, queerness and connection in Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.

Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work

Clinical Book Discussion Program


Dismantling the Model Minority:

Narratives of intergenerational trauma, queerness and connection in

Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous.

 Book Title On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Presenters: Noel Ramirez, MSW, MPH, LCSW and John Gunawan of Philly Asian Queers.
Date:   Sunday, June 28th, 2020
Time: 10am-1pm | 3 CEUs
Place:  Zoom Online Meeting: Link will be sent after registration.

About the Book: Written in the form of a letter to his illiterate Vietnamese mother, Little Dog recounts the pivotal moments of their life as a Queer identified Vietnamese American refugee in Hartford, CT.  The book introduces the hardships of south-east Asian refugees in urban cities in the US, explores that toxicity of post-traumatic stress disorder in refugee families, complexities of race and sexuality as Little Dog navigates queerness and love with Trevor, vulnerabilities shared among men, and the harsh realities of the opioid addiction and intergenerational trauma.  Implicit in the narrative is a gripping journey on how language and identity intertwine and transform realities and impossibilities; a blurring of the binary of foreign and domestic, and a critical discussion about citizenship(s) and the power of inter-cultural context.

 The themes of this book highlight the importance of having an intersectional lens when conducting clinical work with populations who have experienced war, displacement, colonialism, and trauma. The glimpses into the subjectivities of Little Dog, Mother, Grandmother, Step-Grandfather, and Trevor introduces varying and similar emotional realities that allow for participants to witness everyday inter-subjectivity and the profound effect it has in transforming folks in relationships.  The book also underscores the unmet behavioral health needs among API communities in the US, dismantles the model minority myth, and creates more awareness of the complexities of queer API identities by introducing the narratives of trauma and poverty.

Clinical Objectives: By reading this book and participating in the discussion, attendees will:

  1. Demonstrate inter-generational trauma and impact on risk and resilience in API communities and queer communities
  2. Explore the subjective experience of queer, Asian-American identity and their struggles for agency in the US.
  3. Analyze our subjective narratives regarding migration, identity, displacement and vulnerability and how that narrative informs practice and intersubjectivity.
  4.  Discuss the relationship of subjectivities of clinicians and queer Asian subjectivities with the community organization “Philly Asian Queers.”

 About the Presenters:
Noel Ramirez:  I am a Philly based licensed clinical social worker and public health professional. Informed by Immigrant-Filipino parents who love through a sense of home, a chosen Queer family who resist subjugation and a public health community that seeks to honor social and environmental context, my approach is relational, inter-subjective and grounded in love, honor and respect.

I received my graduate training in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and my graduate public health training from Drexel University. I have recently completed my Doctorate in Behavioral Health from Arizona State University and focused my academic work in developing programing in patient-centered medical homes, integrated-health, recovery oriented primary care and body-positive behavioral interventions. I am a licensed anger management treatment professional, compassion fatigue educational professional and have a certificate in Clinical Social Work supervision.

Currently, I teach a wide range of graduate courses that invite an intersectional approach to social work practice at Columbia University and West Chester University. I am a behavioral health consultant at Delaware Valley Community Health, where I work with a beautiful team of providers working with folks on the narratives of their body.  I am deeply honored to be doing this work and to be in community with caring and compassionate colleagues and social workers.

John Gunawan: Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, John and his family immigrated to California in 1990 when he was just one.  As a first generation immigrant, the story of Little Dog and his family acclimating to a new culture, language, and environment rings close to home.

John has a BS in Economics from UCLA and a MS in Predictive Analytics from Northwestern University.

He’s also passionate about getting involved with the community and volunteering with organizations such as Project H.O.M.E., William Way, Broad Street Ministry, and COMPASS Pro Bono.

This PSCSW Event is cohosted with members of the Philadelphia Asian and Queer (PAQ) group. Participants who attend this program must be present for its entirety in order to get continuing education credits.

Cost: No charge for PSCSW Members to attend. There is a $10 fee for anyone wishing a CE certificate.
Cancellation Policy:
There is a $5 non-refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program. No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours’ notice is given for this program.

Continuing Education Credits:
FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for 3 credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).

FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for 3 social and cultural competence credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is an academic degree in social work, are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)4).

PSCSW Members - Before you begin any registration, you must log in to the website to pay the member rate. If you register without logging in, you will pay at the nonmember rate. If you need assistance logging in, please contact the PSCSW office at:


  •  June 28, 2020
     10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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