Yuna Lee, PhD, MPH

  • Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management
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Yuna S.H. Lee, Ph.D., MPH, is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Trained in organizational theory and health services research, she is a health care management researcher and educator who pursues insight on how health care organizations can thrive by fostering improved experiences of care for patients and work for providers. She studies creativity in health care delivery, specifically how patients and providers may serve as sources of creative ideas for improvement and methods to democratize their participation and integrate their perspectives in quality improvement. She studies these possibilities in primary care, inpatient, and intensive care settings and tests novel research methods linked to her work on patient narratives with collaborators in AHRQ's Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) research consortium. Her research is recognized by the Academy of Management, Academy Health, and Industry Studies Association and published in leading health services, clinical, and management journals. Dr. Lee holds an MPH in Healthcare Management and a Ph.D. in Health Policy and Management, with a concentration in Organizational Theory and Management, both from Yale University. At the Columbia Mailman School, Dr. Lee teaches Managerial and Organizational Behavior to graduate students and executives in the Masters of Health Administration program. She is the inaugural recipient of the School's Judson Wolfe Excellence in Teaching Award. Prior to academia, she managed special projects for the Executive Deputy Commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and has experience working in public health departments, academic medical centers, consultancies and research thinks tanks, in New York City and internationally.

Academic Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management

Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • BSc, 2006 University of Western Australia
  • MPH, 2009 Yale School of Public Health
  • PhD, 2017 Yale University

Committees, Societies, Councils

2022-2024 Academic-at-Large, Academy of Management Health Care Management Division

Fellow, New York Academy of Medicine

Member, Academy of Management

Member, AcademyHealth

Editorial Boards

Health Care Management Review

Journal of Service Management

Honors & Awards

2023, 2022, 2018, 2017, Best Paper, Health Care Management, Academy of Management

2022, Calderone Award for Junior Faculty Development

2019, Judson Wolfe Excellence in Teaching Award, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

2018, Best Dissertation, Healthcare Management, Highly Commended, Emerald Publishing

2018, Best Paper, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Runner-Up, Industry Studies Association


Research Interests

  • Biostatistical Methods
  • Healthcare Policy

Selected Publications

Lee, Y.S.H., Grob, R., Nembhard, I.M., Shaller, D. and Schlesinger, M. (2024). Leveraging Patients’ Creative Ideas for Innovation in Health Care, The Milbank Quarterly, vol 102 (1), pp. 233-269.

Nembhard, I., Matta, S., Shaller, D., Lee, Y.S.H., Grob, R. and Schlesinger, M. (2024). Learning from Patients: The Impact of Using Patient Narratives on Patient Experience Scores. Health Care Management Review, vol 49(1): 2-13.

Shaller, D., Nembhard, I., Matta, S., Grob, R., Lee, Y.S.H., Warne, E., Evans, R. DiCello, D., Colon, M., Polanco, A. and Schlesinger, M. (2024). Assessing an innovative method to promote learning from patient narratives: Findings from a field experiment in ambulatory care. Health Services Research, vol 59 (2), e.14245.

Rathert, C., Mittler, J.N., Vogus, T.J. and Lee, Y.S.H. (2023). Better outcomes through patient-provider therapeutic connections? An exploratory study of proposed mediating variables. Social Science and Medicine, Vol. 338, December 2023.

Rathert, C., Mittler, J.N., Vogus, T.J. and Lee, Y.S.H. (2023). What Matters To You? An Observational Field Study of Patient and Care Provider Expectations for Health Care Relationships. PLoS One, accepted and forthcoming.

Rathert, C., Mittler, J.N., Vogus, T.J. and Lee, Y.S.H. (2023). A Mixed-Methods Study of Patient and Care Provider Expectations for Health Care Relationships, Proceedings of the Eighty-second Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management. **Best Paper

Lee, Y.S.H., Litchfield, R. and Gilson, L.R (2023). The Harmony of Creativity and Standardization in High-Stakes Work. In Sonia Taneja (Ed.), Proceedings of the Eighty-second Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management. ** Best Paper

Lee, Y.S.H. and Nembhard I.M. (2022). Covid-19 Inspired Creativity in Healthcare: Lessons for Management and Policy. Health Affairs Forefront, June 23. ** 2022 Top 10 Most-Read Articles in Health Affairs Forefront

Brewster, A., Lee, Y.S.H., Linnander, E.L., and Curry, L.A. (2022). Creativity in problem solving to improve complex health outcomes: Insights from hospitals seeking to improve cardiovascular care. Learning Health Systems, vol. 6, issue 2, e10283.

Lee, Y.S.H., Cleary, P.D, Nembhard, I.M. (2020). Effects of Leader Tactics on the Creativity, Implementation and Evolutions of Ideas to Improve Healthcare Delivery, Journal of General Internal Medicine. 

Lee, Y.S.H., Cleary, P.D. and Nembhard, I.M (2020). Dissatisfied Creators: Generating Creative Ideas Amid Negative Emotion in Health Care, Work and Occupations, vol. 47, issue 2, pp. 200-227.

Lee, Y.S.H., King, M., Anderson, D., Cleary, P.D and Nembhard, I.M. (2020), The How Matters: How Primary Care Provider Communication with Team Relates to Patients' Disease Management, Medical Care, vol. 58, issue 7, p. 643-650.

Litchfield, R., Lee, Y.S.H. and Gilson, L. Creativity and Standardization: In: Creativity and Innovation Handbook. Cheltenham, U.K., Edward Elgar Publishing; 2020, Chapter 4.

Vogus, T., McClelland, L., Lee, Y.S.H., McFadden, K. and Hu, X. (January 1, 2021) Creating a compassion system to achieve efficiency and quality in health care delivery, Journal of Service Management.

Gilson, L.L., Lee, Y.S.H, & Litchfield, R.C. (2019). Advances in Team Creativity Research. In Oxford Encyclopedia of Business and Management. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780190224851.013.171.

Lee, Y.S.H., Cleary, P.D. and Nembhard, I.M. (2017). Fostering Implementation of Staff's Creative Ideas to Improve Patient Healthcare Experiences. Academy of Management Best Paper Proceedings, 2017(1).