Age: 25

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Generation: 4th - Yonsei

Biography: Karisa Yamamoto is a third year dental student at the University of California, San Francisco. She earned her bachelor's degree in Physiological Science from UCLA. In her spare time, she enjoys taking photos and writing for her blog, hiking, camping, and dancing. She is currently an American Dental Education Association research fellow. Her research project focuses on the prevalence of depression amongst dental students and associated lifestyle characteristics. Karisa believes it is important that we open up the dialogue about mental health to promote wellness in the field of dentistry and the broader society. She hopes her project may plant a seed to facilitate change in the culture in dental school programs. 

Name of Piece: paint

Growing up as a fourth generation (yonsei) Japanese American, I felt that in difficult times, it was best to put on a smile and paint over my troubles with pretty colors. This reminds me of the Japanese value of gaman, to do one’s best to display a calm forbearance and self-control in times of distress. This piece embodies this process, and the resulting cycle of self-denial, resentment, anger, and pain that arises when one struggles to voice her mental health issues, not only to the ones around her, but also to herself.