Lisa M. Lee, associate vice president in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation and director of the Division of Scholarly Integrity and Research Compliance, has recently been honored by the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) Ethics Section with its 2019 Distinguished Career Award.

The award recognizes an APHA member's outstanding support and inspiration to the practice and integration of ethics in the area of public health, and work that has promoted or significantly contributed to ethics in public health within or outside APHA. It also recognizes accomplishments and tangible contributions that have elevated the fields of health education, promotion, and/or communication, and made an impact on the practice of the professions.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by the field with this award,” said Lee. “I am humbled and proud to be a member of such a wonderful group of public health professionals who care deeply about the ethical dimensions of their work.”

Lee, who also holds a faculty appointment at Virginia Tech in the Department of Population Health Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinarian Medicine, served as the founding chair of the APHA Ethics Section in 2014 and led the national effort to revise the Public Health Code of Ethics. She also serves as a long-time board member and chair-elect for the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (APPE), an international organization that fosters moral reasoning, works to promote ethical conduct in the professions, and seeks to advance civil discourse on diverse ethical issues.

“The distinguished career award honors a public health ethicist who has made sustained and important contributions to the field of public health ethics,” said Selena Ortiz, faculty member at Penn State University and immediate past chair of the Ethics Section. “From her work on ethical data collection, storage, and use by public health organizations to her contributions to the World Health Organization’s ethical guidance for public health data collection, Lisa’s impact has been wide-reaching.”    

Dually trained in epidemiology and ethics, Lee is widely published in both public health science and ethics. She is the lead editor of "Principles and Practice of Public Health Surveillance" (OUP 2010), a widely used text in schools of public health. She has served on many national and international committees contributing to a variety of ethics policies, including the World Health Organization guidance for ethical expectations in public health surveillance and the UK Chatham House guidance for data sharing in public health. In 2014, she was awarded the Pellegrino medal for excellence in bioethics.

Prior to coming to Virginia Tech in September 2018, Lee worked for President Barack Obama’s administration and most recently served as chief of bioethics and human subject research at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. She also spent 14 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where she held positions as epidemiologist, acting chief of the HIV Incidence and Case Surveillance Branch, assistant science officer, and chief science officer.

Share this story