Dr. Karen Lee

Dr. Karen K. Lee, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, is President and CEO of Global Fit Cities Inc. based in Alberta, and Dr. Karen Lee Health + Built Environment + Social Determinants Consulting (www.drkarenlee.com), based in New York City. Dr. Lee has been working on improving environmental factors for health, particularly the current epidemics of physical inactivity and obesity and related chronic diseases such as heart disease and strokes, diabetes and some of our most common and deadly cancers, for the past 17 years. Her team has assisted government, non-government and private sector organizations in over 40 cities globally on addressing these critical epidemics by improving the physical and social environments of developments and communities including strategic planning, and technical assistance on multisectoral processes and on policy/practice improvements ranging from addressing transport planning to economic policies to zoning and building codes and incentives, to positive political and public engagement using health and community wellbeing as the driver. Many of the interventions that improve community environments for health also produce co-benefits for the economy, the environment, accessibility and equity. Dr. Karen Lee previously worked with the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, within the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, including providing technical assistance to U.S. states on these issues. She was also the Inaugural Director for over 8 years of the Built Environment and Active Design Program that she started at the New York City Health Department during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration, leading collaborative work across 12 NYC departments, and private and community sector partners to create and implement national and international award-winning initiatives on healthy housing, development and growth, and complete communities for health and multiple co-benefits. Prior to moving to the U.S., Dr. Lee was a Deputy Medical Officer of Health in Edmonton and obtained her medical degree at the University of Alberta and her Masters of Health Science degree at the University of Toronto. In addition to teaching at Columbia University in New York City, Dr. Lee remains an Adjunct Professor with the Schools of Public Health at the University of Alberta and University of Toronto.

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