Tell us a little about yourself, where are you from, where did you go to graduate school, what makes you jump out of bed each morning?
I grew up in Crescent City, CA – the last (and very small) town on the California coast before you hit Oregon. It is most famous for being the site of Pelican Bay State Prison, but also where they filmed the ewok scenes in Star Wars Return of the Jedi. I received my PhD in Sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2012 and worked as a graduate research assistant in the Institute of Behavioral Sciences at CU Boulder. Usually it is my young daughter that makes me jump out of bed each morning, but studying and fighting for reproductive and LGBT rights get me excited to come to work each day.
How do you define yourself as a population health professional?
I think of myself as a Sociologist first but my work is defined by being interdisciplinary. The LGBT health field is a relatively small (but growing!) area, so a lot of my research has had to be interdisciplinary in order to collaborate with others. I was very lucky to have an NIH Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) award from 2012-2014, which exposed me to a lot of research in Obstetrics and Gynecology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine and influenced my decision more recently to focus my research on family planning and maternal and child health among sexual minority women.
What disciplines do you engage with and are there disciplines that you would like to engage with?
I love working with my colleagues here at the University of Utah in the Family Planning Program. I’ve been so warmly embraced by this group and we’re producing some really exciting research as an interdisciplinary team. I am working on engaging more with folks who study maternal and child health.
Describe a current project/initiative that you are excited about.
I am very excited about my R01 being funded by NICHD. It will use Add Health data to study sexual orientation disparities in infant, maternal, and child health. I’m really interested in examining how state-level and national LGBT-specific policy changes impact sexual minority women’s pregnancy experiences and infant outcomes.
Name a population health professional who you admire and why?
I love Nancy Krieger’s research. It is always theoretically informed and uses really interesting analytical approaches and data sources to study health inequities.
How did you hear about IAPHS?/Why did you decide to become a member of IAPHS?
I learned about IAPHS through twitter! The tweets coming out of the meeting the past couple of years were always so interesting that I decided should attend a meeting in-person and join the association.
Have you attended an IAPHS meeting? If so, what do you like most about these meeting?
I went to my first meeting this year in DC. I really enjoyed the presentations, but the poster sessions were my favorite. They were really well attended that the quality of the research was great. I had a lot of good conversations with folks about their work.
What would you tell someone who is considering joining IAPHS?
Join and come to the meeting! Because it’s a relatively small meeting, it’s a great place to meet people and talk about research.
What would you like to see IAPHS do in the future?
I think having working research groups could be a really interesting way to foster collaborations between members.
Favorite population health relevant book:
Favorite population health relevant academic/news/etc. article(s):
I love the multilevel analysis in Sanju Mojola’s “Fishing in Dangerous Waters: Ecology, Gender, and Economy in HIV Risk” Social Science & Medicine (2011). Mark Hatzenbuehler’s 2009 article “How Does Sexual Minority Stigma ‘Get Under the Skin’? A Psychological Mediation Framework” in Psychological Bulletin has been instrumental for my research.
Favorite movie, band, non-fiction, book, etc.:
I used to go to see live music every week, but now I turn into a pumpkin at 9 pm so I usually use Pitchfork’s “What’s Good” playlist on Spotify to learn about new music. They update it every Tuesday. Lately, I’ve been listening to Robyn, Run the Jewels, Julien Baker, and Amen Dunes. Also, the CoCo soundtrack.
About the authors
|Hedwig LeeHedwig (Hedy) Lee is a Professor of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. She received her BS in Policy Analysis from Cornell University in 2003 and her PhD in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. After receiving her PhD, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at the University of Michigan, School of Public Health from 2009 to 2011. She also holds a courtesy joint appointment at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis and is an Affiliate Professor at the University of Washington, Department of Sociology, in Seattle. She is broadly interested in the social determinants and consequences of population health and health disparities. Her recent work examines the impact of chronic stress on health and health disparities.|