Hedwig Lee, professor of sociology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was elected to the prestigious Sociological Research Association. The highly selective honor society elects up to 14 new members each year; the sole criterion for selection is excellence in research.
Lee is broadly interested in the social determinants and consequences of population health and health disparities, with a particular focus on race/ethnicity, poverty, race-related stress and the family. Her 2019 study “Risk of Being Killed by Police Use of Force in the United States by Age, Race–ethnicity, and Sex,” found violence at the hands of police is a leading cause of death for young Black men in the United States. She also has studied the impact of structurally rooted chronic stressors, such as mass incarceration, on health and health disparities.
Through her research and work with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Lee also recently was appointed to the academies’ ad hoc committee, “Best Practices for Implementing Decarceration as a Strategy to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19 in Correctional Facilities.” Jails and prisons are epicenters of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The committee’s goal is to provide advice to policymakers, correctional officials and public health officials to prevent outbreaks in correctional facilities through large-scale release and decarceration efforts.