Katherine Lester

Katherine Lester
Pronouns She / Her / Hers Email lesterk@usc.edu


Katherine A. Lester, Ph.D., is a lecturer with the Spatial Sciences Institute in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California.

As a medical geographer, she investigates the spatial relationship between suicide, mental illness and race and ethnicity. With a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship, she developed a novel framework to identify suicide risk among minority populations. Dr. Lester also explores GIS applications to spatial patterns of disease and health. She employs numerous spatial statistical programs to conduct her analysis.

Prior to joining the USC Spatial Sciences Institute, she was at the University of North Texas, where she was a research assistant, collaborating on the production of a book on world regional medical geography and on a project analyzing Uber data to identify changes in traffic and spending associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the University of North Texas, Dr. Lester also was an adjunct faculty member and teaching assistant for courses in world regional geography, geohealth and environmental science.

She has served as a member of the City of Denton Community Services Advisory Committee, as the creator and primary researcher of COVID by Numbers in Denton, Texas, as co-founder of Won’t You Be My Neighbor Denton and as education coordinator for the Denton County Medical Reserve Corps.

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