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Nora Lee, PhD

Nora Lee headshot

Assistant Research Professor of Epidemiology
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
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PhD, Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
BS, Physiology, University of California at Davis


Nora Lee received a PhD in epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University, where her dissertation research focused on perinatal outcomes in China, examining prenatal secondhand smoke exposure and prepregnancy maternal BMI in relation to birth outcomes.  Before she joined the faculty at Drexel University, she managed epidemiologic studies for 10 years at both the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health.  

In addition to her primary faculty appointment in Dornsife's Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Dr. Lee has a secondary appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Drexel College of Medicine, and is a Research Fellow at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute

She is currently a co-investigator on multiple studies, including EARLI (Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation), a multi-site study following pregnant women who already have an older child with autism and assessing the newborn’s development up to three years of age.  She is also the principal investigator on a project to reduce youth access to tobacco in the State of Louisiana, and is engaged in the evaluation of a recent policy implemented to eliminate smoking in Philadelphia's public housing communities. 

She was a contributing author of the 2006 Surgeon General’s Report on The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, and is co-author of numerous peer-reviewed publications. 

In addition to her research, Dr. Lee serves on the Philadelphia Maternal Mortality Review Team, is a contributor to the Drexel Maternal and Child Health Working Group, and mentors both undergraduate and graduate students.

Research Interests

  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Reproductive and Perinatal Health
  • Health Disparities
  • Tobacco Control


Uddin J, Zhu S, Adhikari S, Nordberg CM, Howell CR, Malla G, Judd SE, Cherrington AL, Rummo PE, Lopez P, Kanchi R, Siegel K, De Silva SA, Algur Y, Lovasi GS, Lee NL, Carson AP, Hirsch AG, Thorpe LE, Long DL. Age and sex differences in the association between neighborhood socioeconomic environment and incident diabetes: Results from the Diabetes Location, Environmental Attributes, and Disparities (LEAD) Network. SSM – Population Health 2023 Dec; 24:101541. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmph.2023.101541. PubMed PMID: 38021462; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC10665656.

Wang X, Lee NL, Burstyn I. Smokers’ utilization of quitting methods and vaping during pregnancy: an empirical cluster analysis of 2016–2018 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) data in seven US states. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2023 May; 23:306. doi: 10.1186/s12884-023-05608-3. PubMed PMID: 37131124; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC10152601.

Wang X, Lee NL, Burstyn I. Exposure-response analysis of the association of maternal smoking and use of electronic cigarettes (vaping) in relation to preterm birth and small-for-gestational-age in a national US sample, 2016-2018. Global Epidemiology 2022 Dec; 4:100079. doi: 10.1016/j.gloepi.2022.100079. PubMed PMID: 37637017; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC10446111.

McAlexander TP, Algur Y, Schwartz BS, Rummo PE, Lee DC, Siegel KR, Ryan V, Lee NL, Malla G, McClure LA. Categorizing community type for epidemiologic evaluation of community factors and chronic disease across the United States. Social Sciences and Humanities Open 2022 Jan; 5(1):100250. doi: 10.1016/j.ssaho.2022.100250. PubMed PMID: 35369036; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8974313.

Yoo EJ, Most J, Lee NL, McWilliams T, Esomonu C, Plante L, Schulman ES. Improving asthma symptoms among inner-city women during pregnancy: A prospective cohort intervention. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice 2021; in press.

McClure LA, Lee NL, Sand K, Vivanti G, Fein D, Stahmer A, Robins DL. Connecting the Dots: An RCT integrating standardized Autism Spectrum Disorders screening, high-quality treatment, and long-term outcomes. Trials 2021; 22(319).

Klassen AC, Lee NL, Lopez JP, Bernadin C, Coffman R, Tefferi M. Realtors as partners in tobacco control: Results from a Pennsylvania survey. Tobacco Regulatory Science 2020; 6(6):392-404.

Hirsch AG, Carson AP, Lee NL, McAlexander T, Mercado C, Siegel K, Black NC, Elbel B, Long L, Lopez P, McClure LA, Poulsen MN, Schwartz BS, Thorpe LE. The Diabetes LEAD (Location, Environmental Attributes, and Disparities) Network: Rationale, protocol, and baseline characteristics. Journal for Medical Internet Research: Research Protocols 2020; 9(10):e21377.

Wang X, Lee NL, Burstyn I. Smoking and use of electronic cigarettes (vaping) in relation to preterm birth and small-for-gestational-age in a 2016 U.S. national sample. Preventive Medicine 2020 May; 134: 106041.

Wang X, Lee NL, Burstyn I. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis: Gestational hypertension and differentially misclassified maternal smoking during pregnancy. Annals of Epidemiology 2020 Feb; 42:1-3.e1.

Yoo EJ, Lee NL, Huang KP, Kose LT, Deval D, Plante LA, Schulman ES. Clinical characteristics of severe asthma exacerbations among inner-city women in pregancy. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice 2020; 8(1):395-397.

Slaughter-Acey J, Sneed D, Parker L, Keith VM, Lee NL, Misra DP. Skin tone matters: Racial microaggressions and delayed prenatal care in African American women. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2019 Sep; 57(3):321-329.

Arana E, Carroll-Scott A, Massey P, Lee NL, Yudell M, Klassen AC. Disparities in mammogram frequency among women with intellectual disabilities. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities 2019 Jun; 57(3):177-187.

Wang X, Lee NL, Burstyn I. Maternal smoking and gestational hypertension: Heterogeneous effect by timing of the exposure. Pregnancy Hypertension 2019 Jan; 15:123-129.

Kalkbrenner AE, Windham GC, Zheng C, McConnell R, Lee NL, Schauer JJ, Thayer B, Pandey J, Vok HE. Air toxics in relation to autism diagnosis, phenotype, and severity in a US family-based study. Environmental Health Perspectives 2018 Mar; 126(3):037004.

Sun J, Robinson L, Lee NL, Welles S, Evans AA. No contribution of lifestyle and environmental exposures to gender discrepancy of liver disease severity in chronic hepatitis B infection: Observations from the Haimen City Cohort. PLOS ONE 2017; 12(4):e0175482.

Klassen AC, Lee NL, Pankiewicz A, Ward R, Brosbe M, Ogbenna BT, Wade A, Bromah M, Osayameh O, Rule AM, Coffman R, Bragg V, Mallya G. Secondhand smoke exposure and smoke-free policy introduction in Philadelphia public housing. Tobacco Regulatory Science 2017; 3(2):192-203.

Rosen B, Lee BK, Lee NL, Yang Y, Burstyn I. Maternal smoking and autism spectrum disorder: A metaanalysis. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders 2015 Jun; 45(6):1689-98.

Lee NL, Samet JM, Yang G, Zhou M, Yang J, Correa A, Lees PSJ. Prenatal secondhand smoke exposure and infant birth weight in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2012; 9(10):3398-3420.

Newschaffer CJ, Croen LA, Fallin MD, Hertz-Picciotto I, Nguyen DV, Lee NL, Berry CA, Farzadegan H, Hess HN, Landa RJ, Levy SE, Massolo ML, Meyerer SC, Mohammed SM, Oliver MC, Ozonoff S, Pandey J, Schroeder A, Shedd-Wise KM. Infant siblings and the investigation of autism risk factors. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders 2012; 4:7.

Karapurkar T, Lee NL, Kresch Curran L, Newschaffer CJ, Yeargin-Allsopp M. The epidemiology of autism and autism spectrum disorders. In: Autistic Spectrum Disorders in Children, Gupta VB (ed.). New York, NY: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2004, pp. 17-42.

Lee NL, Samet JM. ACE Forum Report: The making of an epidemiologist--necessary components for doctoral education and training. Annals of Epidemiology 2003 Sep; 13(8):552-556.

Newschaffer CJ, Fallin MD, Lee NL. Heritable and non-heritable risk factors for autism. Epidemiologic Reviews 2002; 24(2):137-153.

Samet JM, Lee NL. Bridging the gap: Perspectives on translating epidemiologic evidence into policy. American Journal of Epidemiology 2001 Dec 15; 154(12 Suppl):S1-S3.

Jackson LW, Lee NL, Samet JM. Frequency of policy recommendations in epidemiologic publications. American Journal of Public Health 1999 Aug; 89(8):1206-11.

Freedman DM, Cantor KP, Lee NL, Chen L-S, Lei H-H, Ruhl CE, Wang SS. Bladder cancer and drinking water: A population-based case-control study in Washington County, Maryland (United States). Cancer Causes and Control 1997 Sep; 8(5):738-44.

Carlo GL, Jablinske MR, Lee NL, Sund KG, Corn M. Reduced mortality among workers at a rubber plant. Journal of Occupational Medicine 1993 Jun; 35(6):611-16.

Munro I, Carlo GL, Orr J, Sund K, Wilson R, Kennepohl E, Lynch B, Jablinske M, Lee NL. A comprehensive, integrated review and evaluation of the scientific evidence relating to the safety of the herbicide 2,4-D. Journal of the American College of Toxicology 1992 Dec; 11(5):559-664.

Carlo GL, Sund KG, Lee NL, Jablinske MR, Pettygrove SD. The Health Scientist Survey: Identifying consensus on assessing human health risk. Environment International 1992 Jul/Aug; 18(4):331-9.

Carlo GL, Lee NL, Sund KG, Pettygrove SD. The interplay of science, values and experiences among scientists asked to evaluate the hazards of dioxin, radon and environmental tobacco smoke. Risk Analysis 1992 Mar; 12(1):37-43.

See Dr. Lee's Full Listing on PubMed


PBHL 530ES:  Introduction to Epidemiology

EPI 556:  Perinatal Epidemiology

PBHL 310:  Burden of Disease

Additional Information

Contributing Author: The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Surgeon General, Atlanta, GA, 2006.