Laura Lee


Health Sciences

Laura Lee


Health Sciences

Areas of interest

Global health; child and youth health, rights and participation; participatory action research and methods; HIV sexual/ reproductive health


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Interdisciplinary Studies, The University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada (May 2015)
  • Master of Science (M.Sc.) in International Health with Distinction, Institute for International Health and Development, Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • BMSc, Bachelor of Medical Sciences (B.MSc.) in Honors Physiology with Distinction, The University of Western Ontario (UWO), London, Ontario, Canada


Dr. Lee received her Ph.D. at the University of British Columbia for her community-based work on the sexual health of young women heading households in Nakuru County, Kenya. She holds an MSc in International Health (Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, 2006) where she focused on community-based responses to strengthen the psychosocial wellbeing of child-headed households in Rwanda. She has more than 15 years of experience in strengthening global child, adolescent and youth health programming, protection and services in adversity settings. Dr. Lee has worked with children, youth and communities in East and Southern Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and North and South America to design and apply participatory and arts-based approaches to research and programming. She is also an Adjunct Faculty at UBC in the Faculty of Medical Sciences and is part of the nominated list of Canadian Women Leaders in Global Health. She is an Associate of the International Institute for Child Rights and Development and a Founding Member of Proteknôn Foundation for Innovation and Learning.

Research Interests

Dr. Lee’s research examines global health inequities through an analysis of structural factors and social environments that maintain systemic injustices. She seeks to develop appropriate and effective ways to promote health through action-oriented research approaches and planning of programs and interventions that expose and address structural injustice. She is passionate about applied health and social research and translating ‘research into action,’ making linkages with rigorous research, program planning and evaluation and participatory action research (PAR). In her research with children and youth, she seeks to co-develop with young people approaches to explore and address injustices and barriers that impact wellbeing and social justice.

Her doctoral project concentrated on understanding the social processes that produce sexual ill health and violence among young women who head households in Kenya. She took a unique approach, blending social epidemiological theory with social suffering and structural violence theory, to advance a relational framework to understand young women’s experience of health and violence. A qualitative, community-based action approach to explore young women’s experience, agency and their response amid extremely constraining and shifting social and care environments was applied. Dr. Lee’s Masters research (Edinburgh, 2006) employed participatory methodologies to explore the social and economic factors that produce psychosocial suffering and health inequity among child-headed households in Rwanda and to develop community-based approaches to strengthen wellbeing. The research pointed toward the need to strengthen community capacity to care and support children through building on children’s resiliency and on community resources and led to a community-based mentorship program still in effect today that was developed with the partners and the children.


Teaching Interests

Program planning and evaluation, qualitative methods and health, gender and health, child and youth health and rights, health promotion; experiential learning in community-based health and global health settings


Publications and Activities 

Laura Lee publications and activities


This instructor is currently not teaching any courses.