Lara Cushing

Headshot of Fellow Lara Cushing
Assistant Professor

Department of Environmental Health Science,
University of California, Los Angeles

Fellowship Project: From the city to the cell: neighborhood determinants of adverse birth outcomes

Lara Cushing’s research focuses on the causes and consequences of social inequalities in exposure to environmental hazards. She has assessed the health impacts of environmental and climate-related exposures for pregnant people and infants, and investigated questions of environmental justice in the context of air pollution and hazardous sites, urban greenspace and heat islands, oil and gas production, drinking water quality, and climate change. She is active in community-engaged efforts to develop analytical frameworks and decision-support tools to advance environmental and climate justice policy at the state and national level.

In addition to the JPB Environmental Health Fellowship Program, Dr. Cushing is the recipient of early career fellowships from the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program. She was a contributing author to the Fourth Assessment Report of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was appointed in 2022 to the Scientific Guidance Panel of the California Biomonitoring Program. In 2021 she was awarded the inaugural Best Environmental Justice Paper award from the North American Chapter of the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology. Dr. Cushing earned her BS in Molecular Environmental Biology, MPH in Epidemiology, and PhD in Energy & Resources from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to UCLA, she taught on the faculty at San Francisco State University from 2016-2020.

In collaboration with other JPB Environmental Health Fellows, Dr. Cushing has additionally pursued work on the health impacts of historical redlining and water insecurity.