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Lara Cushing

Jonathan and Karin Fielding Presidential Chair in Health Equity
Assistant Professor, Environmental Health Sciences


DepartmentsType of Faculty
Environmental Health SciencesFull Time
Contact Information

UCLA Fielding School of Public Health
650 Charles E. Young Drive South
56-070 CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095

Lara Cushing’s research focuses on patterns and consequences of social inequalities in exposure to environmental hazards in the U.S. She has assessed the health consequences of environmental and climate-related exposures for pregnant women 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 drilling, drinking water quality, 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. 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 is a current 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.

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

  • Yang, J., L. Cushing, R. Morello-Frosch, “An Equity Analysis of Clean Vehicle Rebate Programs in California”. Climatic Change (2020) doi: 10.1007/s10584-020-02836-w

  • 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

  • Casey, J.A., P. James, L. Cushing, B.M. Jesdale, R. Morello-Frosch, “Race, Ethnicity, Income Concentration and 10-Year Change in Urban Greenness in the United States” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2017) 14 (12) 1546-1561, doi:10.3390/ijerph14121546

  • 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