Social Work Spotlight: Meet Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Guijin Lee

For Guijin Lee, the Wayne State School of Social Work offered a distinct post-doctoral fellow research experience that she could not find anywhere else - two specialized research centers focused on community partnerships and creating knowledge that benefited both the profession of social work and the local community. This commitment to research and the community drew Lee across the globe to Detroit.

Prior to coming to Wayne State, Lee received her BA and MSW from Yonsei University in South Korea. After earning her MSW, Lee worked for the South Korean government for three years as a social welfare policy and social insurance researcher. Lee then earned her PhD in social work from The Ohio State University College of Social Work. Lee currently works is a post-doctoral research fellow at Wayne State University School of Social Work and has an additional appointment at the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice (CBHJ).

What is the focus of your research?

My main research interest focus examines how social environmental factors impact mental health and behavioral health among adolescents. Specifically, my dissertation tested how social cohesion, sense of belonging, and community safety impact depressive symptoms. I also tested how depressive symptoms mediate the relationship between social environmental factors to substance misuse behaviors for Asian American adolescents.

What do you do as a post-doctoral research fellow?

I am involved in a number of projects where I develop and submit journal articles, write grant proposals, collaborate with research staff on evaluation and reporting projects, develop and finalize data use agreements with state and local agencies, link correctional and health data sets and conduct predictive analytics on linked administrative datasets. I live and breathe research!

How do you partner with Michigan communities?

I have two distinct roles as a post-doctoral research fellow which allow me to partner with stakeholders across Michigan. First, for the CBHJ I work under the direct guidance of CBHJ Director Brad Ray and provide data integration technical assistance for the Michigan Overdose Data to Action (MODA), Substance Use Programming for Person-Oriented Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT), and the Mobile Crisis Assistance Team (MCAT) projects. I work with communities to utilize behavioral health data and existing criminal justice programs to develop appropriate and efficient criminal justice services for their community members. Second, for the School of Social Work I work under the direct guidance of Associate Professor Stella Resko and assist in revising manuscripts focused on marijuana use by young adults in Michigan. I also assist Resko with research on substance use and behavioral health among young adults and families. Have both roles give me a lot of variety in who I work with - from county jails to community health organizations, I interact with all facets of Michiganders on the micro, mezzo and macro levels.

Why did you chose Wayne State?

I am really interested in substance use and its association with behavioral health. The opportunities within the School and CBHJ to study these interests more really drew me to Wayne State.

I have visited Detroit previously, but this is my first time living here. For me it is a big thrill to start my post-doctoral research fellowship in a city that is so rich in its diversity and uniqueness. The commitment of the School to work in partnership with community experts to develop knowledge that strengths the individual and community capacity to overcome future hurdles is really exciting. I look forward to building strong relationships with the Wayne State and Detroit community!

Have you received any special recognition for your work?

I have been honored with a few awards from The Ohio State University (OSU) including being named a recipient of the Ohio State Fund Scholarship in 2020 and I received an Alumni Grant for Graduate Research and Scholarship from the OSU's Graduate School in 2018. As a researcher a lot of my focus is on disseminating the research I have worked on, so I have published eight journal manuscripts, conducted three oral presentations and 14 poster presentations. I am really looking forward to expanding my research and ultimately learning how it can help my fellow Michiganders.

Learn more about Guijin Lee and her research on her WSU profile. View more Social Work Warrior profiles.

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