May 30 2019

Yuna Lee, assistant professor of health policy and management, is the inaugural recipient of the Columbia Mailman School Judson Wolfe Excellence in Teaching Award, in recognition of her exceptional ability to inspire students and enhance learning. It was one of four teaching awards selected by the graduating class and presented at the May 22 Commencement Ceremony.

The new award was established by Leonard Tow and the Tow Foundation to honor the late Judson Wolfe, a friend and advocate for Columbia Mailman and a member of the Mailman family, the School’s naming benefactors. Judson “Jud” Wolfe held a Master of Environmental Management from Duke University and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University. He was an avid photographer and environmentalist who worked to protect critically endangered species.

Yuna Lee teaches the course, “Managerial and Organizational Behavior,” taken by graduate students and executives in the Masters of Health Administration program. Her students praised the enthusiasm, dedication, and intelligence she brought to the course, transforming what might be a dry topic into “an enriching, diverse, and unforgettable learning experience,” in the words of one student. Another student wrote that Lee “forever altered the way I think about group dynamics and made the content come alive in ways I will not soon forget.”

Lee’s research focuses on how health care organizations can foster creativity and innovation from clinicians, staff, and patients to promote better patient and employee experiences and improved performance. She has received national recognition for her work, including awards from the Academy of Management, AcademyHealth, Industry Studies Association, and Emerald Publishing. She is a member of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) research team and a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.

She holds an MPH in Healthcare Management and a PhD in Health Policy and Management, both from Yale University. Previously, 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.

“There is much that is humbling and so gratifying about receiving the Judson Wolfe Excellence in Teaching Award,” said Lee, “most of all because students voted and noted how the course I teach helped transform their thinking about health.”