Fit Cities through Improvements to Our Human-Built Physical & Social Environments

Dr. Karen Lee is an Associate Professor of Public Health & Preventive Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta in Canada.  She is also a Guest Professor for courses offered by other universities, such as the Designing Healthy Cities courses offered by Columbia University's EPIC Program each June. 

Dr. Karen Lee is also the founder of Dr. Karen Lee Health + Built Environment + Social Determinants Consulting, helping countries, municipalities and organizations towards achieving the goal of creating Fit Cities around the world, cities that help prevent and reverse Non-Communicable Diseases such as heart disease, cancers and diabetes, and their key risk factors, now the leading causes of death, illness and healthcare costs globally, while achieving other critical co-benefits such as equity, environmental sustainability, universal accessibility, aging in place, safety and economic fitness.  

Vision:  Fit Cities around the world through Improvements to Our Human-Built Physical & Social Environments, achieved through Cross-Sectoral Partnerships and Global Collaboration.

Mission: Supporting human, environmental and economic fitness in municipalities, cities, states and provinces globally through improvements to our human-built physical and social environments. We provide technical assistance in strategic planning, grant making, grant writing,intersectoral collaboration, evaluation, and community engagement  to communities and organizations undertaking this work.  We also support communities and organizations to develop, implement and evaluate successful cross-sectoral partnerships and global sharing of best practices required to undertake this work.  

More information on Dr. Karen Lee: Dr. Karen K. Lee, MD, MHSc FRCPC is a healthy built environment and social determinants of health specialist.  After working for the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and leading these efforts for the City of New York for nearly a decade as its Inaugural Healthy Built Environment and Active Design Director, and as Deputy to the Assistant Commissioner for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control under the Bloomberg Administration, as well as former experience as a Deputy Medical Officer of Health in local health departments in Alberta and Ontario, Canada, Dr. Lee now provides strategic and technical assistance to cities globally and to the organizations that work with them, teaches courses on these topics, and undertakes applied research in real-world projects.

Our Work:  Specializes in helping communities and organizations use the human-built physical environment – our buildings, streets, and neighborhoods, and the amenities in them –  and other social determinants of health (e.g. work and education factors) to address today's leading epidemics of obesity and Non-Communicable Diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancers, and diabetes. We also strive where possible to impact mental health and injuries, also leading causes of morbidity and mortality, respectively.  By working with us to improve these priority health issues through environmental improvements, communities and organizations can synergistically address greening the environment, and improving universal accessibility, social equity and economic resilience.

You can find out more about the services Dr. Lee's team offers here or you can contact us directly here.

Feel free to explore presentations and resources by Dr. Karen Lee as well as projects using the navigation bar above.  


Fit Cities BOOK is available in bookstores Jan. 7, 2020. International orders available from Amazon. Pre-order here.

- University of Alberta’s offering of a joint Dept of Medicine/Faculty of Extension Course on Building Healthier Communities April 6-7, 2020.

- Columbia University’s  offering of Dr. Karen Lee's Designing Healthy Cities course in June 2020 in New York City. Click HERE for more information on previous courses.

- Boston University offerings of Dr. Karen Lee's Designing Healthy Cities course. Click HERE for more information on the course.  Watch for future offerings of this course.  

If you are interested in taking - or offering - Dr. Karen Lee's "Designing Healthy Cities" course in your own city or university, please contact us. 


Have any questions? Reach out to Dr. Karen Lee here.