Lara Cushing

Lara J. Cushing’s research focuses on the racial justice implications of disparities in exposure to environmental health hazards in the U.S. She has assessed the health consequences of environmental and climate-related exposures for pregnant women and infants, and used epidemiological and geospatial methods to investigate questions of environmental justice in the context of urban greenspace, man-made chemicals, oil and gas development, drinking water quality, extreme heat and sea level rise. She is interested in analytical methods and regulatory frameworks to characterize the joint effects of environmental and social stressors to health that can inform efforts to reduce environmental health disparities and often partners with community based organizations in her work. She was a contributing author to the Fourth Assessment of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a former Environmental Fellow of the Robert & Patricia Switzer Foundation, and JPB Environmental Health Fellow through the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Prior to coming to UCLA, she served on the faculty at San Francisco State University from 2016-2020.

Center Affiliations


  • PhD, Energy & Resources Group, University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • MPH, Epidemiology, University of California, Berkeley, CA
  • BS, Molecular Environmental Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA

Selected Publications

  • LJ Cushing, S Li, B Steiger, JA Casey “Historical redlining is associated with fossil fuel power plant siting and present-day inequalities in air pollutant emissions” Nature Energy (2022), doi: 10.1038/s41560-022-01162-y
  • CB Swope, D Hernandez, LJ Cushing “The relationship of historical redlining with present-day neighborhood environmental and health outcomes: A scoping review and conceptual model” Journal of Urban Health (2022) doi: 10.1007/s11524-022-00665-z
  • Berberian, A, DXJ Gonzalez, LJ Cushing “Racial disparities in climate change related health effects in the United States” Current Environmental Health Reports (2022) doi: 0.1007/s40572-022-00360-w
  • Cushing, L.J., R Morello-Frosch, A. Hubbard “Extreme heat and its association with social disparities in the risk of spontaneous preterm birth” Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology (2022) 36: 13-22. DOI: 10.1111/ppe.12834
  • Pace, C., C. Balazs, K. Bangia, N. Depsky, A. Renteria, R. Morello-Frosch, L. Cushing “Advancing California’s Human Right to Water:  Characterizing inequities in drinking water quality among domestic well communities and community water systems” American Journal of Public Health (2021) 112 (1): 8-97 doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2021.306561
  • LJ Cushing, K Chau, M Franklin and J Johnston “Up in smoke: Characterizing the population exposed to flaring from unconventional oil and gas development in the contiguous US” Environmental Research Letters (2021) 16(3): 034032
  • Cushing LJ, K Vavra-Muser, K Chau, M Franklin, JE Johnston, “Flaring from unconventional Oil and Gas Development and Birth Outcomes in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas” Environmental Health Perspectives (2020)128(7): 770031-770039, PMCID: PMC7362742, doi: 10.1289/EHP6394
  • Johnston, J.E., K. Chau, M. Franklin, L. Cushing, “Environmental Justice Dimensions of Oil and Gas Flaring in South Texas: Disproportionate Exposure among Hispanic communities” Environmental Science & Technology (2020), PMID: 32338877, doi: 10.1021/acs.est.0c00410
  • Johnston, J., and Cushing, L., “Chemical exposures, health, and environmental justice in communities living on the fenceline of industry” Current Environmental Health Reports(2020), PMCID: PMC7035204, doi: 10.1007/s40572-020-00263-8
  • Cushing L., Blaustein-Rejto D., Wander M., Pastor M., Sadd J., Zhu A., Morello-Frosch R. “Carbon trading, co-pollutants, and environmental equity: Evidence from California’s cap-and-trade program (2011–2015)” PLOS Medicine (2018) 15(7): e1002604, doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002604
  • Cushing, L.., R. Morello-Frosch, M. Wander and M. Pastor, “The Haves, the Have-nots, and the Health of Everyone: The Relationship between Social Inequality and Environmental Quality”, Annual Review of Public Health (2015), 18(36): 193-209, doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-031914-122646
  • Cushing, L., J. Faust, L. August, R. Cendak, W. Wieland and G. Alexeeff, “Racial/ethnic disparities in cumulative environmental health impacts in California: evidence from a state-wide environmental justice screening tool (CalEnviroScreen 1.1)” American Journal of Public Health (2015) 105(11): 2341-2348, doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2015.302643
Complete list of publications (Google Scholar)