Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Lee’s research and teaching focuses on the social determinants and consequences of population health and health disparities, with a particular focus on race/ethnicity, poverty and stress. Her recent work examines the impact of family member incarceration on the health and social well-being of family members (not incarcerated), the association between discrimination and mental and physical health, socioeconomic causes and consequences of obesity in childhood and adolescence, and using social media data (e.g., twitter) for demographic, health and sociological research.
Examines the notion of “vigilance” or the psychological burden of racism on health inequalities. Proposes that, in addition to the measureable risks that stem from structural racism (poor neighborhood quality, mass incarceration, high unemployment), there is a toxicity stemming from the stigma of non-White racial group membership that is driving health inequalities.
Argues that that with high rates of connectedness to prisoners and the vast racial inequality in them, it is likely that mass imprisonment has fundamentally reshaped inequality not only for the adult men for whom imprisonment has become common, but also for their friends and families.