Marielena Lara

Photo of Marielena Lara
Adjunct Natural Scientist
Off Site Office


M.P.H., University of California, Los Angeles; M.D., Harvard Medical School; B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Marielena Lara is a physician and an adjunct natural scientist at the RAND Corporation. She leads or collaborates in a wide range of health services and public health projects. As a multilingual and multicultural researcher, she is an expert in program development and policy initiatives to reduce racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in disease and health care, with particular attention to socioeconomic, cultural, and behavioral factors affecting health outcomes, and the use of community- and evidence-based health interventions to improve health and welfare. Dr. Lara has experience in epidemiology and chronic disease management, child health and policy, health and quality of life survey measures, and technology assessment. She has served on multiple national-level technical and advisory panels and is an experienced multilingual communicator to research, policy, and community audiences. Dr. Lara earned her B.S. in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), her M.P.H. from the the University of California, Los Angeles, and her M.D. from Harvard Medical School / MIT Division of Health Sciences Technology. She is also an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program.

Recent Projects

  • Implementation of childhood asthma programs
  • Latino health and welfare
  • Behavioral interventions with low-literacy non-English speaking populations
  • Evaluation of community-based interventions to fight obesity

Selected Publications

Lara, M., et al., "Reducing Quality-of-Care Disparities in Childhood Asthma La Red De Asma Infantil Intervention in San Juan, Puerto Rico," Pediatrics, 131(1):S26-S37, 2013

Lara, M., et al., "Balancing "Fidelity" and Community Context in the Adaptation of Asthma Evidence-Based Interventions in the "real World"," Health Promotion Practice, 12(6):63S-72S, 2011

Lara, M., et al., "Heterogeneity of Childhood Asthma Among Hispanic Children: Puerto Rican Children Bear a Disproportionate Burden," Pediatrics, 117(1):43-53, 2006

Lara, M., et al., "Acculturation and Latino Health in the United States," Annual Review of Public Health, 2005

Lara, M., et al., "Improving Childhood Asthma Outcomes in the United States: A Blueprint for Policy Action," Pediatrics, 109(5), 2002

Lara, M., et al., "An English and Spanish Pediatric Asthma Symptom Scale," Medical Care, 38:342-350, 2000

Honors & Awards

  • America's Top Pediatricians


Spanish; French

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Hispanic Communications Network; La Raza Magazine; Washington Hispanic


  • Doctor holding inhaler mask for girl breathing

    Can the Affordable Care Act Help Asthma Sufferers Breathe Easier?

    ACA reforms can potentially address barriers that get in the way of individuals with asthma getting the care they need. At the population level, the law has the potential to improve outcomes and efficiency and equity of services for chronic conditions such as asthma for which cost-effective preventive treatments exist.

    Nov 20, 2013 The RAND Blog