Jocelyn Smith Lee

Assistant Professor

Human Development and Family Studies

Email Address:

Phone: 336.256.1388

Bio & Education

Dr. Jocelyn R. Smith Lee is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Dr. Smith Lee’s community engaged program of research investigates issues of trauma, violence, loss, and healing among Black boys, men, and families. Rooted in Baltimore and growing in Greensboro, her research examines the health disparities of violent injury and violent death and works to understand how losing loved ones to homicide shapes the health, well-being, development, and family relationships of Black males and their social networks. Dr. Smith Lee’s interdisciplinary research has been published in top- tier journals such as the American Journal of Public Health and the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, presented at national scientific meetings and invited talks, and featured in national news outlets. At UNC Greensboro, she is the founder and director of the Centering Black Voices research lab (Twitter: @CenterBLKVoices) whose mission is to affirm humanity, prevent violence, and promote healing in the lives of Black boys, men, and families through research and action. Her new project “Disrupting Dehumanizing Narratives of Black Men in Poverty” is 1 of 28 winners of the 2020 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenge Competition: Voices for Economic Opportunity. Prior to her appointment at UNC Greensboro, Dr. Smith Lee completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH) at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, served as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and practiced individual, couple, and family therapy in Maryland. She completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology at Hampton University and her graduate work in Marriage and Family Therapy (MS) and Family Science (PhD) at the University of Maryland, College Park. Having personally lost loved ones to homicide, Jocelyn is deeply committed to this healing work.

Selected Publications

  • Smith Lee, J. R. (In Press). Who gets to be a victim of gun violence?: Examining the marginalized trauma and grief of boys and men in Black families. National Council on
    Family Relations Winter Report.
  • Crosby, S. D., Patton, D. U., Duncan, D. T., Smith Lee, J. R. (In press). Framing neighborhood safety and academic success: Perspectives from high-achieving Black youth in Chicago. Children, Youth, and Environments.
  • Smith Lee, J. R. (2017). Healing from inner city violence. In L. Nelson & L. PadillaWalker (Eds.), Flourishing in emerging adulthood: Positive development during the third decade of life (pp. 491 – 509). New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Smith Lee, J. R. (2016). A trauma-informed approach to affirming the humanity of African American boys and supporting healthy transitions to manhood. In L. Burton, D. Burton, S. McHale, V. King, & J. Van Hook (Eds.), Boys and Men in African American Families (pp. 85 – 92). Switzerland: Springer.
  • Smith, J. R., & Patton, D. U. (2016). Posttraumatic stress symptoms in context: Examining trauma responses to violent exposure and homicide death among Black males in urban neighborhoods. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 86(2), 212 – 223. doi: 10.1037/ort0000101
  • Patton, D. U., Lane, J., Leonard, P., Macbeth, J., & Smith Lee, J. R. (2016). Gang violence on the digital street: Case study of a South Side Chicago gang member’s Twitter communication. New Media & Society, 1 – 19. doi: 10.1177/1461444815625949
  • Smith, J. R. (2015). Unequal burdens of loss: Examining the frequency and timing of homicide deaths experienced by young black men across the life course. American Journal of Public Health, 105(S3), S483-S490. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302535.
  • Assari, S., Smith, J. R., Caldwell, C. H., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2015). Longitudinal links between fear of neighborhood violence, parental support, and depressive symptoms among male and female African American emerging adults. Societies, 5, 151 – 170.
  • Roy, K., Messina, L., Smith, J. R., Waters, D.W. (2014). Growing up as man-of-the-house: Adultification and transition into adulthood for young men in economically
    disadvantaged families. In K. Roy & N. Jones (Eds.), Pathways to adulthood for disconnected young men in low-income communities. New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development, 143, 55 – 72.
  • Roy, K. & Smith, J. R. (2013). Nonresident fathers and intergenerational parenting in kin networks. In N. J. Cabrera & C. S. Tamis-LeMonda (Eds.), Handbook of Father Involvement, 2nd ed. (pp. 320 – 337). New York: Routledge.