Lara Cushing, Ph.D.

Lara Cushing is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health Sciences in the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Dr. Cushing holds a M.P.H. in Epidemiology and a B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. from the Energy & Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. She is an Environmental Fellow of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation and JPB Environmental Health Fellow through the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her research examines environmental determinants of perinatal health disparities and social inequalities in environmental exposures with a focus on cumulative impact approaches to assessing the combined health impacts of environmental and social stressors. She has investigated the impacts of environmental exposures on adverse birth outcomes including the impacts of exposures related to oil and gas development on preterm birth. Her work has also investigated questions of environmental justice in the context of pollution sources and hazardous sites, prenatal exposures to harmful chemicals, and climate change. She has expertise in epidemiological and geospatial analysis methods, as well as community-based participatory research approaches; and has worked closely with both community-based organizations and regulators to advance methods for understanding and addressing environmental health disparities. For example, as a JPB Environmental Health Fellow through Harvard University, she is developing new methodological approaches for understanding the combined impacts of traffic-related pollution and psycho-social stressors to health on racial disparities in perinatal health. She has also worked in collaboration with the California Environmental Protection Agency to create one of the first state-wide environmental justice spatial screening tools in the nation that is now being used to direct resources towards communities that are disproportionately impacted by pollution.