Dr. Lee joined the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 1975 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. She was promoted to Associate Professor and Professor, in 1980 and 1985, respectively. In 1990, she became a George Lynn Cross Research Professor. From 1992 to 1994, she was Associate Dean for Research of the College of Public Health. In 1994 she was appointed Dean of the College of Public Health, a position she held until 2002.
In 1994, Dr. Lee established the Center for American Indian Health Research (CAIHR) in the College of Public Health. The CAIHR is funded by grants from NIH, CDC, and other funding agencies. Dr. Lee served as the director of CAIHR from 1994 until her retirement from the OUHSC in 2017. During the 23 years, the CAIHR received about $50 million research funds from NIH, CDC, and other federal and local agencies. Major grants included the Strong Heart Study (funded by NHLBI, 1988–Present), iDASH (to protect privacy in research, funded by NHLBI, 2017–Present), Fatty Liver Disease & Determinants (funded by NIDDK, 2016-Present), Balance Study (funded by NHLBI, 2006-2011), Stop Atherosclerosis in Native Diabetics (SANDS, funded by NHLBI, 2002-2009), Vision Keepers (funded by NEI, 1992-2001), Cherokee Diabetes Study (funded by NIDDK, 1995-2000), Oklahoma Center for Prevention in Native Americans (funded by CDC ,1994-1998), Oklahoma Native American EXPORT Center (funded by NCMHD, 2003-2007), and WHO Multicenter Study of Vascular Disease in Diabetes (funded by NIDDK, 1988-1999). Dr. Lee received many awards for her research, including the OU Regents’ Award for Superior Research.
Dr. Lee has published more than 280 technical papers and authored a book entitled Statistical Methods for Survival Data Analysis (published by John Wiley) which is in its 4th edition (3rd and 4th editions co-authored with Wenyu Wang). She taught many courses in both biostatistics and epidemiology and directed numerous Master’s and Doctoral students. She received the OU Regents’ Award for Superior Teaching. Dr. Lee has served on numerous federal and state advisory boards and committees (e.g., study sections, councils, Data Safety Monitoring Boards, Observational Study Monitoring Boards of NIH, advisory committees of FDA, the Epidemiological Board of Armed Forces and advisory committees of VA, ADA and Oklahoma State Health Department). Currently, she still serves as an active consultant to the Strong Heart Study and iDASH, attending regular meetings, reviewing new papers and proposals, and participating in publications.