Lee, Hee Yun, PhD

Endowed Academic Chair in Social Work (Health), and Professor
Contact Information
  • Office: 1022 Little Hall
  • Phone: (205) 348-6553
  • Email: hlee94@ua.edu
Areas of Interest and Expertise
  • Behavioral Health
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Dissemination and Implementation Research
  • Health Disparities
  • Health Information Technology
  • Immigration Health Care
  • Mental Health
  • Rural Health

Download Dr. Lee's CV (pdf)


  • PhD, University of California, Los Angeles
  • MSW., University of California, Los Angeles
  • MSG, University of Southern California
  • MA, Seoul National University
  • BA, Seoul National University


Dr. Hee Yun Lee is a behavioral health scientist and her major research areas include health disparities, behavior change intervention using RCT, and rural health. Combining mobile health (mHealth) technology and a community-based participatory research approach, she is developing and testing intervention programs to promote positive health behavior change and to increase health and mental health literacy. Her integration of mHealth technology and existing health behavior theories into intervention strategies provides an opportunity to investigate technology-driven intervention’s potential to help self-management for chronic diseases and prevention in typically underserved and difficult-to-reach populations.

Dr. Lee is currently conducting multiple research projects. With funding from the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), she investigates the effectiveness of a mobile application-based intervention that aims to increase HPV vaccination in an underserved immigrant group with limited English proficiency. Her other RCT trial focuses on developing and testing a mobile application assisted intervention to promote genetic counseling among ovarian cancer patients and survivors. This intervention research is supported by the U.S. Department of Defense. Recently, she completed two research projects: (1) a text message-based intervention study funded by the National Cancer Institute (R21) that aimed to increase Pap test and HPV vaccination in a minority group and (2) a mobile-app based intervention to improve a mammogram uptake among an immigrant women group funded by the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation. The intervention outcomes revealed mHealth as a promising intervention tool to positively change cancer screening and prevention behavior. Her other line of research is global health. She is currently conducting numerous studies working with a transdisciplinary team in the areas of aging and chronic disease management including dementia prevention and management, frailty cohort construction, and mobility intervention for older adults in Korea. Her work has been widely published in medical, public health, nursing, and social work journals, and she has been invited to speak at numerous national and international conferences and universities.

Selected Recent Publications:

Lee, H.Y. Beltran, R., Kim, N.G.,  & Lee, D.K. (In Press). Racial Disparities in Cervical Cancer Screening: Implications for Relieving Cervical Cancer Burden in Asian American Pacific Islander Women. Cancer Nursing: An International Journal for Cancer Care.

Zhou, A., Lee, H.Y., & Lee, R. (In Press). Who Has Low Health Literacy and Does It Matter for Depression? Findings from Aggregated and Disaggregated Racial/Ethnic Groups. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Burnette, C.E., Liddell, J., Roh, S., Lee, Y., & Lee, H.Y. (In Press). American Indian Women Cancer Survivors’ Perceptions and Experiences with Conventional and Non-Conventional Mental Health Care for Depressive Symptoms. Ethnicity and Health.

Roh, S., Burnette, C., Lee, Y.S., Lee, K.H., Lee, H.Y., & Newland, L.A. (In Press). Breast Cancer Literacy and Health Beliefs Related to Breast Cancer Screening among American Indian Women. Health and Social Work.

An, S., Choi, Y.J., Lee, H.Y., Yoon, Y.J., & Pratt, M. (In Press). Predictors of Breast Cancer Screening Among Korean American Women: Is Having an Annual Checkup Critical? Asian American Journal of Cancer Prevention.

Lee, H.Y., Choi, Y.J., Yoon, Y.J., & Oh, J. (In Press). HPV Literacy in Korean American Immigrant women: Does English Proficiency Matter? Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing

Pope, Z., Lee, J., Zeng, N., Lee, H.Y., & Gao, Z. (2018). Feasibility of Smartphone Application and Social Media Intervention on Breast Cancer Survivors’ Health outcomes. Translational Behavioral Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1093/tbm/iby002. (Epub ahead of print)

Lee, H.Y., Lust, K., Vang, S., & Desai, J. (2018). Male Undergraduates’ HPV Vaccination Behavior: Implications for Achieving HPV-Associated Cancer Equity. Journal of Community Health, 43(3), 459-466, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-018-0482-4.

Lee, H.Y., Kim, J.H., & Sharrat, M. (2018). Information communication technology use and its impact on health and mental health in older cancer survivors. Quality of Life Research, 27, 467-477. doi: 10.1007/s11136-017-1734-y 9.

Choi, E.Y., Kim., Y.S., Lee, H.Y., Shin, H.R., & Cho, S.E. (2017). The Moderating Effect of Subjective Age on the Association between Depressive symptoms and Cognitive Functioning in Korean Older Adults. Aging and Mental Health, doi: 10.1080/13607863.2017.1390733. (Epub ahead of print)

Lee, H.Y., Ghebre, R., Le, C. Jang, Y.J., & Yee, D. (2017). Mobile Phone Multimedia Messaging Intervention for Breast Cancer Screening: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial, Journal of Medical Internet Research-mHealth and Uhealth, 5(11). Open access: https://mhealth.jmir.org/article/viewFile/mhealth_v5i11e154/2.

Lee, H.Y., Lee, J., Henning-Smith, C., & Choi, J. (2017). HPV Literacy and Its Link to Initiation and Completion of HPV Vaccine Among Young Adults in Minnesota. Public Health, 152, 172-178.

Lee, H.Y., Lee, M.H., Jang, Y. J., & Lee, D.K.M (2017). Breast Cancer Screening Disparity among Korean American Immigrant Women in Midwest, Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 18(10), 2663-2667.

Kim, Y.S., Lee, H.Y., Park, B.H., Lee, M.H., & Simms, T. (2017). Mental health literacy in Korean older adults: A cross-sectional survey. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing. 24(7), 523-533.

Kim, Y.S., Rhee, G., Lee, H.Y., Park, B.H., & Sharratt, M. (2017). Mental health literacy as a mediator in use of mental health services among older Korean adults. International Psychogeriatrics, 29(2), 269-279. doi: 10.1017/S1041610216001721.

Kim, J.H., Lee, H.Y., Christensen, C., & Merighi, M. (2017). Technology Access and Use, and Their Associations With Social Engagement Among Older Adults: Do Women and Men Differ? The Journals of Gerontology: Series B Social Sciences. 72(5). 836-845. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbw123.


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