Fulbright award will send ASU professor to Mexico for mobile health research

Monday, March 4, 2019

For the second time in her career, Arizona State University College of Nursing and Health Innovation Professor Rebecca Lee has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Scholar Grant.

Upon finding out about her rare accomplishment, she said she was “flabbergasted.”

“When I started investigating whether this was the right program for me, the Fulbright counselors told me that it was very competitive for a first-time award (the Core Scholars Award), but practically unheard of for people to receive a second award, and never to the same country. I decided to go for it anyway, and I was really just agog that I received it a second time,” Lee said.

The grant will allow her to travel to Mexico to build on her previous research around obesity and Type 2 diabetes, which has become a major problem there, so much so that it required national intervention.

“The past administration under President Enrique Peña Nieto created a national policy to deploy funding and support to each of the Mexican states to improve health care, behaviors and environments to stem this epidemic,” Lee said.

Her project will explore the capacity for implementing mobile health technologies in the country. She’ll be working with her colleagues from the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico.

The end goal is to use the information collected to create clear recommendations to help guide future mobile health programming and policy and ultimately improve health outcomes for the Mexican people.

Lee says she’s incredibly grateful for this opportunity to combine her passion for policy with her research on physical activity, obesity and diabetes in Mexico.

Her colleagues and peers in the college are just as delighted for her.

“This is a significant accomplishment and we are so thrilled for Dr. Lee and at the thought of the positive impact this important work will have on our neighbors to the south and beyond,” said Judith Karshmer, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

The Fulbright Scholar Program “aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.” It is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.

According to the organization, more than 380,000 “Fulbrighters” have participated in the program since its inception in 1946. It is a distinguished group of alumni including Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur Fellows and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.