Lillie U. Dao is an avid social justice advocate devoted to working with underserved and marginalized communities to increase access to health services and health education. She is pursuing a research career in public health with a focus on medical anthropology, health disparities, and the social determinants of health. She has over five years combined higher education and professional research experience.
During her academic career, she served as a principal student investigator, graduate assistant, and research assistant for institutions in the United States, Costa Rica, and Croatia. Through these opportunities she became involved in numerous community-based participatory research projects that addressed food insecurity, nutritional anthropology, and the role of critical pedagogy in theory-driven health interventions. Research she conducted with the Globalization and Community Health field school led to the identification of culturally appropriate and community-specific practices that served to mitigate adverse health issues linked to food insecurity in the Monteverde Zone of Costa Rica.
For two years Lillie served as a research associate for LTG Associates, a health and human services consulting firm. During her time at LTG, she consulted for numerous public and private organizations. She primarily served as a researcher on a 2-year grant with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to develop a culturally grounded and community-based framework to inform advocacy networks for childhood obesity prevention in select underserved Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. She worked with 12 different AAPI communities throughout the United States and conducted ethnographic inquiry with 100+ national, state, and local organizations. In addition to her work for RWJF at LTG, she also conducted research for projects that address intimate partner violence, immigrant and refugee health, maternal and child health, internet-based means of healthcare information dissemination, and religion and health.
She has a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Central Florida and an M.A. in public anthropology from American University.