As a trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural researcher, Lei’s research interest focuses on social policy, long-term services and supports, immigrants’ access to health care, aging and technology, and cross-cultural studies. Her dissertation uses a population-level survey to examine the relationships among disability status, financial strain, and health and well-being among people with needs for Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) in California, which also explores disparities among these relationships under the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lei’s research applies both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. She has worked on several grant-funded research projects at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and projects sponsored by the state of California. She is collaborating with researchers at UCLA Human-Centered Computing and Intelligent Sensing Lab (HiLab) with the aim to make technology more inclusive for older adults. Her papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the International Journal of Qualitative Methods and Research on Social Work Practice. She has also presented her research at multiple national conferences, including the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR), the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), Population Association of America (PAA), and American Public Health Association (APHA). She has served as a manuscript reviewer for several peer-reviewed journals.
Apart from being an academic, Lei actively engages in policy-related work at state and national levels. She served as the inaugural Kathy Hyer Summer Policy Intern at the Gerontological Society of America. She assisted the policy-making process of the Master Planning on Aging (MPA) in California and is leading the workstream of selecting LTSS indicators for the MPA Data Dashboard.
Before joining the Ph.D. program at UCLA, she worked as a research assistant for several companies, international organizations, and universities, including McKinsey & Company, Fudan University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Washington University, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).