Research Statement

Dr. Lee’s research covers a broad range of topics relevant to healthy aging and chronic disease prevention and management, with particular interests in the role of lifestyle factors (e.g., physical activity) in promoting population health. During her doctoral and postdoctoral training, she played a pivotal role in implementation and evaluation of various evidence-based programs, such as A Matter of Balance (i.e., community-based fall prevention program), Fit & Strong! (i.e., physical activity program), Texercise-Select (i.e., lifestyle program), and Stanford University’s chronic disease self-management programs (e.g., Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and Diabetes Self-Management Program). Her long-term goal is to expand the understanding of behavior change among middle-aged and older adults, role of aging in society, and how interventions can be widely scaled and sustained to enhance healthy aging at the population level.


Research Keywords

  • Older Adults
  • Lifestyle Behavior Changes
  • Health Disparities
  • Health Behavior Change: Theories, Research, Interventions, and Evaluation
  • Chronic Disease


  • Lee S, Smith ML, Allen N, Han G, Kew CL, Ory MG. Diabetes Self-Care Activities among people living with dementia and diabetes: Proxy responses from caregivers. American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Expo. November 2022, Boston, MA. [Poster presentation]. Poster, Presented, 11/2022.
  • Smith ML, Kew CL, Han G, Wilson L, Lee S, Fitch J, Ory MG. Caregiving burdens of task time and task difficulty among paid and unpaid caregivers of persons living with dementia. November 2022, Indianapolis, IN. [Poster presentation]. Poster, Presented, 11/2022.
  • Smith ML, Kew CL, Han G, Wilson L, Lee S, Fitch J, Ory MG. Worsening of depressive symptomatology since before COVID-19 among caregivers of persons living with dementia. Gerontological Society of America Annual Scientific Meeting. November 2022, Indianapolis, IN. [Poster presentation]. Poster, Presented, 11/2022.
  • Litchman ML, Henderson M, Lee S, Iacob E, Miller N, Canela S,* Allen NA. Experiences of deaf people receiving diabetes education: The need for language access. Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists Annual Conference. August 2022, Baltimore, MD. [Oral presentation]. Presentation, Presented, 08/2022.
  • Social connectedness and communication technology among paid and unpaid caregivers of middle-aged and older adults. Poster, Presented, 11/11/2021.
  • Outpatient service utilization among older patients with diabetes in Texas amid the COVID-19. Poster, Presented, 10/25/2021.


  • Korean, fluent.
  • Mandarin Chinese, functional.


  • Lee S, Ory MG, Vollmer Dahlke D & Smith ML (2022). Social Support, Sense of Belonging, and Communication Technology Use Among Paid and Unpaid Caregivers of Middle-Aged and Older Adults. Frontiers in public health. Vol. 10, 898042898042. Published, 06/01/2022.
  • Smith ML & Zhong L (2021). Effectiveness and economic impact of a diabetes education program among adults with type 2 diabetes in South Texas. BMC public health. Vol. 21, 1646. Published, 09/01/2021.
  • Yoshikawa A & Smith ML (2021). The role of improved social support for healthy eating in a lifestyle intervention: Texercise Select. Public health nutrition. Vol. 24, 146-156. Published, 08/01/2021.
  • Lee S, Washburn DJ & Colwell B (2021). Examining social determinants of undiagnosed diabetes in Namibia and South Africa using a behavioral model of health services use. Diabetes research and clinical practice. Vol. 175, 108814. Published, 07/01/2021.