Dr. Christy L. Cummings’ research and scholarly activities focus broadly on medical ethics and humanism and their intersection with medical education in pediatrics and neonatology, as well as counseling and communication. She is passionate about research that cultivates the moral, human aspect of medicine. Recent work has involved the ethics of parental counseling surrounding emerging technologies in pediatric medicine. Dr. Cummings is currently researching the acquisition of ethical principles and knowledge during training, including interpersonal competence and professionalism, via simulation and enacted role-play.  She is developing a global curriculum in Ethics and Professionalism in Neonatology through OPENPediatricsTM. She is also conducting research on optimizing prenatal counseling for families facing extremely premature delivery.  Recent work has appeared in Pediatrics, Hastings Center Report, J Perinatology, J Pediatrics, AJOB and Journal of Medical Ethics. Dr. Cummings is the mother of 4 young children, and enjoys time with her family, running, swimming, reading and playing the ‘cello.


A graduate of Colby College, Dr. Cummings received her medical degree from the University of Rochester, and training in pediatrics, neonatology and ethics at Yale. She participated in Yale’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics Program in Bioethics (2011) and completed the Fellowship Program in Medical Ethics through the Division of Medical Ethics at Harvard Medical School (2012-2013). Dr. Cummings is currently an Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and an attending neonatologist in the Division of Newborn Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.  As an Ethics Associate, she is a member of the Ethics Advisory Committee at Boston Children’s Hospital, and is Director of Medical Ethics & Humanities for the Division of Newborn Medicine. Dr. Cummings also serves on the hospital’s Institutional Review Board.


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. Developing a digitally innovative ethics and professionalism curriculum for neonatal-perinatal medicine fellows: a 3-year multicenter pilot study. J Perinatol. 2021 Sep 09. View abstract
  2. Gene and Stem Cell Therapies for Fetal Care: A Review. JAMA Pediatr. 2020 10 01; 174(10):985-991. View abstract
  3. Critical decision-making in neonatology and pediatrics: the I-P-O framework. J Perinatol. 2021 01; 41(1):173-178. View abstract
  4. Beyond Ventilators and Prematurity: Most Rationing Dilemmas Are Morally Fraught. Am J Bioeth. 2020 07; 20(7):174-177. View abstract
  5. Historical Perspectives: Shared Decision Making in the NICU. Neoreviews. 2020 04; 21(4):e217-e225. View abstract
  6. Morphine compared to placebo for procedural pain in preterm infants: safety, efficacy and equipoise. J Perinatol. 2019 10; 39(10):1428-1431. View abstract
  7. Variable management strategies for NEC totalis: a national survey. J Perinatol. 2019 11; 39(11):1521-1527. View abstract
  8. Deliveries at extreme prematurity: outcomes, approaches, institutional variation, and uncertainty. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2019 04; 31(2):182-187. View abstract
  9. Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders in the Neonatal ICU: Experiences and Beliefs Among Staff. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2018 07; 19(7):635-642. View abstract
  10. Assessing Ethics Knowledge: Development of a Test of Ethics Knowledge in Neonatology. J Pediatr. 2018 08; 199:57-64. View abstract
  11. Hope, Fantasy, and Communication in the ICU: Translating Frameworks into Clinical Practice. Am J Bioeth. 2018 01; 18(1):21-23. View abstract
  12. Should Neonatologists Give Opinions Withdrawing Life-sustaining Treatment? Pediatrics. 2016 12; 138(6). View abstract
  13. On Being Fired: When Patients or Their Parents Fire Their Physician. Hastings Cent Rep. 2016 09; 46(5):3-4. View abstract
  14. Practices and education surrounding anticipated periviable deliveries among neonatal-perinatal medicine and maternal-fetal medicine fellowship programs. J Perinatol. 2016 09; 36(9):699-703. View abstract
  15. Teaching and assessing ethics in the newborn ICU. Semin Perinatol. 2016 06; 40(4):261-9. View abstract
  16. When worlds intersect: practical and ethical challenges when caring for international patients in the NICU. J Perinatol. 2015 Dec; 35(12):982-4. View abstract
  17. Ethics and professionalism education during neonatal-perinatal fellowship training in the United States. J Perinatol. 2015 Oct; 35(10):875-9. View abstract
  18. Counselling variation among physicians regarding intestinal transplant for short bowel syndrome. J Med Ethics. 2014 Oct; 40(10):665-70. View abstract
  19. Patient and trainee: learning when to step in. Hastings Cent Rep. 2013 Jul-Aug; 43(4):5-6. View abstract
  20. Communication in the era of COWs: technology and the physician-patient-parent relationship. Pediatrics. 2013 Mar; 131(3):401-3. View abstract
  21. Ethics of emerging technologies and their transition to accepted practice: intestinal transplant for short bowel syndrome. J Perinatol. 2012 Oct; 32(10):752-6. View abstract
  22. Expectations. Hastings Cent Rep. 2012 Mar-Apr; 42(2):8-9. View abstract
  23. Who is performing medical procedures in the neonatal intensive care unit? J Perinatol. 2011 Mar; 31(3):206-11. View abstract
  24. Ethics for the pediatrician: autonomy, beneficence, and rights. Pediatr Rev. 2010 Jun; 31(6):252-5. View abstract