Shayna Cunningham, PhD (Affiliate)

Assistant Professor

Community Medicine and Health Care

Research Overview

My research applies a social ecological framework to examine the interplay of biomedical, behavioral, social, and structural factors that influence maternal and child health. I have extensive experience in the design and conduct community-based, longitudinal cohort, and clinical research studies; promoting interdisciplinary team science; and engaging community stakeholders to improve public health. My recent projects have focused on: (1) the intersection of maternal health and chronic diseases and how health systems may leverage their existing maternity care infrastructure to improve outcomes among women, infants, and children; and (2) working collaboratively with community partners to advance health equity with and for Black and Hispanic residents of CT by improving access to chronic disease prevention and management programs, healthy food, and physical activity. I take a multidisciplinary approach to innovative research and the translation of evidence into action that will improve the health of local, national, and international communities.


PhD Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 2007
MHS Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 2002

Recent Publications

1. Mehra R, Boyd LM, Lewis JB, Cunningham SD. Considerations for building sustainable community health worker programs to improve maternal health. Journal of Primary Care & Community Health 2020;11:2150132720953673.
2. Cunningham SD, Riis V, Line L, Patti M, Bucher M, Durnwald C, Srinivas SK. Safe Start community health worker program: A multisector partnership to improve perinatal outcomes among low-income pregnant women with chronic health conditions. American Journal of Public Health 2020;110(6):836-839.
3. Ickovics JR, Lewis JB, Cunningham SD, Thomas J, Magriples U. Transforming Prenatal Care: Multidisciplinary Team Science Improves a Broad Range of Maternal-Child Outcomes. American Psychologist 2019;74(3):343-355.
4. Mehra R, Cunningham SD, Lewis JB, Thomas J, Ickovics JR. Recommendations for the pilot expansion of Medicaid coverage for doulas in New York. American Journal of Public Health 2019;109(2):217-219
5. Flanagan K, Cunningham SD, Lewis JB, Tobin JN, Ickovics JR. Factors Associated with Young Pregnant Women’s Access to Core Components of Sexual and Reproductive Health Care in New York City. Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare 2019;19:50-55.
6. Cunningham SD, Lewis JB, Shebl F, Boyd LM, Robinson MA, Grilo SA, Lewis SM, Pruett AL, Ickovics JR. Impact of group prenatal care on preterm birth and low birthweight: Propensity-score matched study. Journal of Women’s Health 2019;28(1):17-22.
7. Cunningham SD, Mokshagundam S, Chai H, Lewis JB, Levine J, Tobin JN, Ickovics JR. Postpartum depression: Gestational weight gain as a risk factor for women who are overweight or obese. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 2018;63(2):178-184.
8. Cunningham SD, Magriples U, Thomas JL, Kozhimannil KB, Herrera CN, Barrette E, Shebl F, Ickovics JR. Association between maternal comorbidities and emergency department use among a national sample of commercially-insured pregnant women. Academic Emergency Medicine 2017; 24(8):940-947.
9. Cunningham SD, Herrera C, Udo I, Kozhimannil K, Barrette E, Magriples U, Ickovics JR. Maternal medical complexity: Impact on prenatal health care spending among women at low-risk for cesarean section. Women’s Health Issues 2017; 27(5):551-558.
10. Cunningham SD, Lewis JB, Thomas JL, Grilo SA, Ickovics JR. Expect With Me: Development and evaluation design for an innovative model of group prenatal care to improve perinatal outcomes. BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth 2017;17(1):147.

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