Nicole Cushman

Administrative Director, Center for Applied Psychology
Director, Answer
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health
Office: 41 Gordon Road, Suite C, Piscataway, NJ 08854
Phone: 848-445-7929

Nicole Cushman is the Administrative Director of the Center for Applied Psychology and the Director of Answer, a national program dedicated to promoting sex education throughout the U.S. She has worked since 2000 to strengthen sex education policies and programs across the country.

Nicole is an adjunct instructor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she teaches a graduate seminar in Pedagogy of Sexuality Education, and a founding board member of the non-profit startup MyHealthEd, Inc. Nicole’s research and writing appear in the peer-reviewed journal Sex Education and in the textbook Evidence-based Approaches to Sexuality Education. She has served as a manuscript and abstract reviewer for the journal Contraception, the Journal of Adolescent Health, and the American Public Health Association. Nicole appears frequently in the media, commenting on the state of sex education and young people's access to sexual health information. She has been featured in The New York Times, CNN, NPR, Yahoo! Parenting, The Huffington Post and Teen Vogue, among other publications. She is a widely sought-after speaker and has delivered keynotes, lectures and workshops at conferences and universities nationwide.

Previously, Nicole served as Director of Education for Planned Parenthood Federation of America and co-chair of the Sexuality Task Force at the American Public Health Association. She began her career as a sexuality educator with Planned Parenthood in the San Francisco Bay Area, working directly with teens and parents in school and community settings. Nicole holds a Bachelor of Science from Stanford University and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Books & Articles: 

Cushman, N. (2015). Community-based sexuality education. In J. Ponzetti (Ed.), Evidence

Based Approaches to Sexuality Education: A Global Perspective (pp. 169-184). New York, NY: Taylor & Francis/Psychology Press.


Cushman, N., Kantor, L.M., Schroeder E., Eicher, L. & Gambone, G. (2014). Sexuality education: findings and recommendations from an analysis of ten United States programmes. Sex Education, 14(5), 481-96.


Cushman, N. & Smith, A. K. (2012). Rethinking withdrawal. In B. Taverner, S. Milstein & S. Montfort (Eds.) Teaching Safer Sex, 3rd ed. (pp. 179-184). Center for Family Life Education, Planned Parenthood of Central and Greater Northern New Jersey, Inc.


Bernstein, J., Cushman, N., Hibben, J., Kelley, M., McGee, M., Meyer, M., Shea, K. & Waldman, J. (2009). Managing HPV: Health care team tool kit, curriculum for community educators. Planned Parenthood Federation of America/Association of Reproductive Health Professionals.

Nicole has substantive expertise in sex education, LGBTQ inclusion, youth development, teen pregnancy prevention and STD/HIV prevention. Her professional skillset includes experience in nonprofit management, strategic planning, group facilitation, program planning, program evaluation, survey design, qualitative research and fundraising. She is particularly interested in developing and evaluating sex education programs that—in addition to preventing unintended pregnancies and STDs—also prevent sexual violence, promote gender equity, develop social and emotional competencies and reduce homophobia and transphobia. Nicole also has experience developing innovative approaches that leverage technology to reach young people with sex education.