First Advisor

Richie Kohli

Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology and University Honors






Model minority stereotype -- Health aspects, Asian Americans -- Health and hygiene -- Oregon -- Multnomah County, Asian Americans -- Health and hygiene -- Oregon -- Portland, Mouth -- Care and hygiene




This thesis explores the concept of the Model Minority Myth (MMM) and its impact on minority groups such as Asian American communities. It discusses how the MMM is one of the many reasons why health disparities such as oral health disparities, may exist for these groups, particularly in the context of White-majority places like the city of Portland and Multnomah County in Oregon. These disparities, as a result, prevent communities from achieving racial equity in areas such as employment, education, occupation, and income, to name a few. At first glance, the MMM seems to shed an optimistic light with its false portrayal that Asian communities seemingly fare better than other communities of color in Oregon. The myth attempts to homogenize the experiences of people of Asian descent when in reality, they represent over thirty ethnic groups using over three hundred languages and have undergone multiple waves of immigration periods dating back to the 1600s. Overgeneralizing the diverse experiences of different Asian American perspectives could leave Asian Americans out of important research and policy considerations that could be vital to their well-being. This thesis will not try to falsify the Model Minority Myth, but rather, it will examine the complex impacts of the MMM on the Asian American communities within social, educational, and health (oral health and overall health and well-being) contexts.


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