Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, PhD, MPH, is an applied health services researcher with methodological expertise in qualitative, survey, and mixed methods. Her research focuses on children and families, health, the intersections of race/ethnicity and nativity, and the structural and policy factors underpinning these relationships. In particular, her expertise is in health inequities experienced by families with very young children and immigrant families and their children. While her core expertise is in access to basic needs (like food, housing, or energy security) health inequities and social policy, she also has interest in the ways environment (neighborhood characteristics, climate/exposures, built environment) are influenced by policy and how in turn all these influence child and family health, health care utilization, and economic well-being. Dr. Ettinger de Cuba holds co-appointments in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health and in the Department of Pediatrics at the Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine. In addition, she proudly serves as Executive Director of Children’s HealthWatch, headquartered at Boston Medical Center (www.childrenshealthwatch.org). She is part of the Inaugural cohort of faculty affiliates of the Center for Antiracist Research.
Dr. Ettinger de Cuba served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bolivia focused on small-scale agriculture and nutrition and hygiene education, especially for mothers and children. She has worked for many years in a variety of program delivery, policy, and advocacy roles. Dr. Ettinger de Cuba received her BA from the University of Michigan in German Language and Literature and her MPH in International Health and PhD in Health Services Research from Boston University School of Public Health.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility
I approach my work and activism with an antiracist, social justice lens. My research focuses on improving social and health policy to support optimal health and well-being for children and families, particularly focused on those with low incomes and those who have been systematically marginalized due to disinvestment in their communities, economic factors, and/or structural racism and xenophobia. I am especially interested in immigrant families and in intersectional identities – examining how nativity and race/ethnicity relate to both health outcomes and the ways in which policy is designed to implicitly or explicitly include or exclude certain groups.
Examples of my research shaped by issues of equity and inclusion include: identifying the impact on young children of immigrant’s healthcare utilization of President Trump’s election and a leaked draft of sweeping changes to immigration and public assistance laws (public charge), examining how benefit program rules create “cliff effects” in public assistance programs, where increases in income can trigger benefit reductions or cut-offs that leave families experiencing more, not less, hardship; examining healthcare and basic needs access by both parental nativity and race/ethnicity and associated negative child health outcomes and family economic hardship; describing the daily experiences of immigrant mothers navigating healthcare in family life and the ways that the larger social context shapes their ability to access healthcare and other needed supports; and tracking social policy changes and the ways they can help or hurt children and their families, particularly immigrants and families of color. I am deeply dedicated to not only research but actively advocating for inclusive health and social policies at all levels that advance racial equity in order to remove barriers and quell the stigma and fear that have blocked so many families and children from accessing the healthcare and supports they need to reach their potential. Over the long term, I am committed to demonstrating opportunities and new approaches to policy that support family flourishing for all families, especially families of color and those with immigrant members.
Over the past several years - starting well before the pandemic, I led my team through a multi-year racial equity effort to transform ourselves and our work. We began first by working with professional trainers over more than 6 months to educate ourselves and have both small and large group conversation and reflection focused on understanding the many levels of racism and the ways that our varying positionality influenced our experience of it. From there, we began to work to put our new understanding into action through examining, adjusting, and changing our approach to everything from procurement and budgets to personnel to data collection and research agenda-setting. In that time, my partner in this work has become our Engagement, Equity & Inclusion Associate – now a permanent position. Together we formed Advancing Equity Teams that draw their membership from all network levels – research assistants to Principal Investigators. These teams have worked with us to review our processes and make recommendations for change. For example, we shifted our focus to center racial equity in our research questions. My team’s work has since been funded twice by the Center for Antiracist Research for projects specifically examining de jure and de facto exclusions in COVID relief policy and their associations with family health and economic hardship, especially among families of color and immigrants. Our team has implemented many changes and identified more that are needed. Our professional and personal evolutions continue to be a work in progress, with much to celebrate but more to come.
This work requires both a great deal of introspection and also confronting hard truths about what I personally want to be and do and where my explicit and implicit biases and White privilege have led me to fall short. But in realizing this, I have also felt a renewal of energy and passion for the work I do and for taking responsibility for my role personally and professionally in advancing an antiracist future. I have continued to seek out opportunities both formal and informal to engage, including joining a training series with The Racial Equity Learning Community (RELC), part of Trinity Boston Connects. I have been a member of my town’s Diversity Task Group for the last several years, which works on local issues of racial justice and all kinds of diversity and inclusion. As an SPH faculty member, I look forward to getting actively involved in school diversity and inclusion efforts. I approach the work with humility knowing that I must continue to learn and be open so that I can ensure my interactions and my work advance equity and inclusion.
As a child of immigrants myself, I have some sense of what it feels like to be an outsider with a life at home that does not culturally match that of peers. Mentorship can make all the difference – knowing that someone else gets that it is hard and exhausting to be an outsider. I would like to be supportive to others making their way in Boston and the US and am interested in mentoring students formally or informally, including those who are first-generation graduate students and/or international students. I hope to use my role to help support public health as a career option and to spark the interest of the next generation of equity researchers and activists. As a leader, I maintain an open-door (virtual and actual) policy with colleagues, aiming to create a safe space to discuss challenges of all kinds, including micro-and macro-aggressions. This kind of support is essential for thriving personally and professionally. I seek to provide that support for students and colleagues, as well.
Research Associate Professor
Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Research Associate Professor
Boston University School of Public Health
Community Health Sciences
BMC Career Mobility Pathways and Community Partnerships
09/01/2022 - 12/31/2024 (Subcontract PI)Boston Medical Center Corporation Wagner Foundation
National Research Center on Poverty and Economic Mobility
06/01/2023 - 05/31/2024 (Subcontract PI)University of Wisconsin, Madison HHS SAMHSA
Early Identification of Rising Risk Families and Parent Guided Team Based Care to Prevent and Mitigate Toxic Street
05/01/2020 - 04/30/2023 (Subcontract PI)Boston Medical Center Corporation JPB Foundation
Boston Medical Center - Support to Children's HealthWatch
10/15/2021 - 10/14/2022 (PI)
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies
COVID relief and long-term policy change priorities for fami
01/01/2021 - 12/31/2021 (PI)
Annie E. Casey Foundation
Advocacy to increase the state EITC in Massachusetts
01/01/2020 - 12/31/2020 (PI)
EITC Funders Network
Impact of Pending Budget Cuts on the Health & Development of Young Children
07/01/2012 - 12/31/2020 (PI)
Annie E. Casey Fdtn
Innovative Renter's Tax Credit for Healthier Families and Stable Communities in Massachusetts
04/30/2018 - 04/30/2019 (PI)
BMC Career Mobility Pathways and Community Partnerships Grant
11/01/2021 - 10/31/2024 (Research Lead)Wagner Foundation
Early Identification of Rising Risk Families and Parent-Guided Team-Based Care to Prevent and Mitigate Toxic Stress
05/01/2020 - 04/30/2023 (Project Lead)
PI: Megan Sandel, MDJPB Foundation
Leveraging health research and pediatric perspectives to advance a permanently expanded and fully inclusive, monthly Child Tax Credit
01/01/2022 - 12/31/2022 (PI)Annie E. Casey Foundation
Examining the child allowance and child/family economic well-being among families of color
07/01/2021 - 06/30/2022 (Project Lead)
PI: Megan Sandel, MDBoston University Center for Antiracist Research
Federal EITC & CTC Policy Advocacy and Support for Qualitative Study of Immigrant Mothers in Greater Boston
01/01/2020 - 12/31/2020 (PI)Annie E. Casey Foundation
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other
sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can
to make corrections and additions.
Showing 10 of 59 results.
Ettinger de Cuba S, Bovell-Ammon A, Ahmad N, Bruce C, Poblacion A, Rateau LJ, Coleman SM, Black MM, Frank DA, Lê-Scherban F, Henchy G, Ochoa E, Sandel M, Cutts DB. Child Care Feeding Programs Associated With Food Security and Health for Young Children From Families With Low Incomes. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2023 Oct; 123(10):1429-1439.View Related Profiles. PMID: 37302653
Lê-Scherban F, Ettinger de Cuba S, Bovell-Ammon A, Coleman S, Rateau L, Cutts D, Black M, Heeren T, Frank DA. Association Between Material Hardship in Families With Young Children and Federal Relief Program Participation by Race and Ethnicity and Maternal Nativity. JAMA Health Forum. 2023 Apr 07; 4(4):e230508.View Related Profiles. PMID: 37083823; PMCID: PMC10122179; DOI: 10.1001/jamahealthforum.2023.0508;
Bovell-Ammon A, Ettinger de Cuba S, Lê-Scherban F, Rateau L, Heeren T, Cantave C, Green KA, Frank DA, Cutts D, Ochoa E, Sandel M. Changes in Economic Hardships Arising During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Differences by Nativity and Race. J Immigr Minor Health. 2023 Apr; 25(2):483-488.View Related Profiles. PMID: 36334182; PMCID: PMC9638452; DOI: 10.1007/s10903-022-01410-z;
Carlson JM, Zanobetti A, Ettinger de Cuba S, Poblacion AP, Fabian PM, Carnes F, Rhee J, Lane KJ, Sandel MT, Janulewicz PA. Critical windows of susceptibility for the effects of prenatal exposure to heat and heat variability on gestational growth. Environ Res. 2023 Jan 01; 216(Pt 2):114607.View Related Profiles. PMID: 36279910; DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.114607;
Cutts DB, Ettinger de Cuba S, Bovell-Ammon A, Wellington C, Coleman SM, Frank DA, Black MM, Ochoa E, Chilton M, Lê-Scherban F, Heeren T, Rateau LJ, Sandel M. Eviction and Household Health and Hardships in Families With Very Young Children. Pediatrics. 2022 Oct 01; 150(4).View Related Profiles. PMID: 36120757; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2022-056692;
Cook J, Sheward R, Poblacion A, Bovell-Ammon A, McAleer E, Cluggish S, Ettinger de Cuba S. Food Insecurity and Its Relationship to Income, Employment, and Poverty. 2022. View Publication
Poblacion A, Bovell-Ammon A, Ettinger de Cuba S, Sheward R, McAleer E, Cluggish S, Cook J. . National Efforts to End Food Insecurity and Hunger: A Historical Retrospective of Intermittent Investments in Food Programs. 2022. View Publication
Bovell-Ammon A, Burnett D, Ettinger de Cuba S, Gupta-Barnes S, Banks J, Bates E, Coleman S, Bruce C, Lê-Scherban F. ?I didn’t have to worry' – How the Child Tax Credit Helped Families Catch Up on Rent and Improved Health. 2022. View Publication
This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown,
or last author.
2011 National Women's Law Center:
Progressive Leadership and Advocacy Network (PLAN) Selective Training Institute
2003 Boston University School of Public Health:
Rex Fendall Award for Excellence in Public Health Writing
2003 Boston University School of Public Health:
Student Speaker, Commencement
1994 Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI:
Bronson-Thomas Essay Prize
Available to Mentor as: (Review Mentor Role Definitions)
I have not had the traditional path to academia and have navigated a multitude of challenging circumstances to arrive at this point in my career, including juggling a full-time, demanding job as a single parent while pursuing a doctorate. I believe my prior experience in program, policy, and advocacy roles enriches my perspective as an academic. I would love to support students and other faculty, including but not limited to non-traditional and/or first-generation students, those navigating life as an older student, faculty or students with young children, those from immigrant backgrounds, women, and single parents.
Co-Mentor or Peer Mentor
Research / Scholarly Mentor
Work / Life Integration Mentor