Dr. Rebecca Lee

Dr. Rebecca Lee

Dr. Rebecca Lee is the principal investigator for the UNDO research team.

Dr. Rebecca E. Lee serves as founding director of the Texas Obesity Research Center and is an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at the University of Houston. She holds a courtesy appointment at the University of Texas School of Public Health.

Dr. Rebecca Lee oversees the Understanding Neighborhood Determinants of Obesity (UNDO) research team where she aims to provide an innovative, theoretically-derived, trans-cultural, and community-based approach to improving health to the science and community alike. Dr. Lee, a community health psychologist, specializes in community based health research. Her studies focus on populations of color using innovative strategies, such as incorporating social cohesion, ameliorating social injustices, and improving the quality of the neighborhood environment. Her work has focused primarily on women, as family gatekeepers who may have the biggest impact on shaping the future generation of youth. She is principal investigator for several federally and privately funded research grants including Health Is Power (HIP), funded by the National Cancer Institute (NIH); the award winning, SAving Lives, Staying Active (SALSA) study; the International Health Challenge in Second Life, funded by the USC Annenberg School for Communication; the Healthful Options Using Streets and Transportation in Our Neighborhoods (HOUSTON) project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and most recently, Science and Community: Ending Obesity Improving Health, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NIH).

Dr. Rebecca Lee’s work is driven by her desire to reduce health disparities and improve environments that promote health. She has recently written her first book, Reversing the Obesogenic Environment (Human Kinetics, 2011). The focus of her work has investigated the role of the social and environmental context of physical activity and dietary habits and obesity in minority populations. In addition to her programs and initiatives at the University of Houston, Dr. Lee is the former chair of the Mayor’s Wellness Council Public Policy Committee, where she actively worked to improve the health of Houstonians. She is an editorial board member of the International Journal of Women’s Health, the American Journal of Health Promotion and Health Psychology. She has authored and co-authored numerous studies in peer-reviewed publications, serves as a charter member on the Community Level Health Promotion Study Section for the Center for Scientific Review at the National Institutes of Health, and has received many honors and awards, including the University of Houston College of Education Research Excellence Award in 2005 and 2008, the Award for Outstanding Achievement from the Texas Council on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and Stroke, and she is a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Lee has also recently been selected as a Fulbright Scholar for 2011-2012, to work with the University of Guadalajara, teaching about and investigating on the topics of physical activity, nutrition and obesity and obesogenic environments in Mexico.

Click here to access Dr. Rebecca E. Lee’s CV.