Raised by a photographer who was determined to take her kids hiking, spelunking, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding through all the national parks and indigenous lands in the United States and Canada, Leslie Hsu Oh is an award winning adventurer, explorer, writer, and photographer specializing in travel, outdoor adventures and gear, lifestyle, art, sports, environment, family travel, nature, natural wonders, indigenous knowledge, food, health and wellness. She is the Outdoor Travel Editor for Panorama: Journal of Intelligent Travel.
She has photographed Alaskan 1600 pound grizzlies fighting over fish at Katmai, snowboarded year-round, hiked Machu Picchu, snowmachined across frozen lakes, backpacked the Chilkoot Trail, ice-climbed in Alaska, combat fished in the Russian River alongside black bears, and recorded indigenous ceremonies or sacred landscapes that are not commonly shared with outsiders. Her education in biology, ethnobotany, public health, and a MFA allows her to cover a wide span of fields: travel, culture, news, anthropology, science, environmental issues, fashion, natural history, food and entertainment. She reviews gear, hotels, restaurants, resorts, products, books and films for a variety of publications.
Renowned for extreme sports, adventure travel, and exploration with young kids, she often writes about her kids snowboarding at the age of one and rock climbing at the age of two. When her son was two and her oldest daughter was five, she outfitted both of them with crampons and hiked a glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. That year, they also snowboarded, snowmachined, dipnetted for salmon on the Kenai River, and ran with Iditarod dogs, all fantastic experiences that she wrote about for the award winning blog called Love+eMotion, which originally appeared on Kids These Days!, Alaska's best talk radio show.
She is an award-winning writer whose work has been named among the distinguished stories of the year by Best American Essays. Her writing and photography has appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Magazine, Alpinist, Asian Fortune Magazine, Backpacker Magazine, Bon Appetit, Cirque, First Alaskans Magazine, Fourth Genre, Panorama Journal, Parenting Magazine, Rosebud Magazine, Sierra Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Stoneboat, Under the Sun, TODAY Show Parenting Team, Travel + Leisure, Washington Post Health, Washington Post On Parenting, Washington Post Travel, WebMD and elsewhere.
Editors hire her as a "veteran reporter" for 25 years of experience working under publication deadlines for magazines, journals, reports, newsletters, web sites, and blogs; on-time delivery of written and photographic content highly complimented by producers and editors; track record of producing and editing award-winning, innovative, respected products; reputation for being the most productive and calm personnel under pressure.
Earning a MFA and master's in public health from Harvard, she is the recipient of the Rasmuson Individual Artist Award, the first Julius B. Richmond Young Leader in Public Health Award, the first National Award for Excellence in Public Health Leadership, the Sun Memorial Award for exemplifying a commitment to improving the health and well-being of people in underserved populations, and the Schweitzer Award for reverence for life. She was also recently named White House Champions of Change for Asian American and Pacific islander Art and Storytelling.
"Between the Lines” adapted from her memoir-in-progress was named among the distinguished stories of the year by Best American Essays. "Warp Thread" published in Fourth Genre won 2016 Traveler's Tales Best Travel Writing Award. "How Canoes Are Saving Lives and Restoring Spirit" published in Smithsonian won Silver and Bronze in 2016 NATJA Travel Awards Competition. "Yes, that's my toddler snowboarding. Extreme sports don't have to stop when you have kids" published in Washington Post won Silver in 2016 NATJA Travel Award Competition. "W.Va.'s 'island in the sky' hosts pristine trails for skiing and snowboarding" was a finalist in 2016 NATJA Travel Award Competition. “Sit' Tlein: The Story of Hubbard Glacier's Spirit and Indigenous Knowledge of Tlingit Seal-Hunting Practices” won 1st place in Alaska Press Club’s Best Environmental Reporting. “Woosh teen ayxa’a! Daa naaytee! We paddle together, imitating our ancestors” and "The Right Mask"won Writer’s Digest Writing Competition in Magazine Feature Writing.
She co-authored The Strategic Application of Information Technology in Health Care Organizations (McGraw-Hill 1999) and published chapters in The Internet and Health Communication (Sage Publications 2001) and Older Adults, Health Information, and the World Wide Web (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates 2001). She is also widely published in scientific journals, such as the American Journal of Public Health and Journal of Community Health.
Losing her mother and brother to hepatitis B at the age of twenty-one inspired her to found the Hepatitis B Initiative in 1997, which she later expanded to the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. area with Thomas Oh. Today, this award-winning nonprofit continues to operate in several states mobilizing communities to prevent liver diseases caused by hepatitis B and C among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, African Americans and other high-risk groups.
She is a Fellow for Life with the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship. She served as Federal Liaison to the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders; Northeast Regional Director of the National Task Force on Hepatitis B: Focus on Asians and Pacific Islanders; Program Chair for the American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian Caucus of the American Public Health Association; Membership Chair for the Asian Pacific Islander Caucus of the American Public Health Association; and Board of Directors member of the National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable. She also designed user-centered web sites specifically for special populations at the Alaska Native Science Commission and healthfinder® for the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Surgeon General's web site.
Ursula Knoki-Wilson adopted her to Táchii'nii, Navajo Red Running into Water Clan and gave her a Navajo name meaning Journey with Caring, Journey to bring out Gifts. Her birth parents, Auxilia and John Hsu, came to the United States from Taiwan to pursue their graduate studies. Auxilia was a talented graphic designer, photographer, and journalist.
Her book, A Whale of A Boy, published in 1995 and reprinted 2011 is still helping cancer patients around the world.
Photo taken by Leslie Hsu Oh of her daughter in Hawaii, 2008.