Maria Orlando Edelen

Photo of Maria Edelen
Senior Behavioral Scientist
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in quantitative psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; M.A. in quantitative psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; B.A. in psychology, Boston College


Maria Orlando Edelen is a senior behavioral scientist and psychometrician at the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on instrument development, evaluation, and refinement in behavioral health contexts, with emphasis on patient reported outcomes (PROs). Edelen’s recent work has focused on use of PROs for quality measurement. She currently leads a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) project to develop a PRO performance measure for improvement in depressive symptoms among complex patients in primary care; other current measure development work focuses on outcomes for hospice and palliative care patients. Edelen directed a recently completed CMS contract to develop and evaluate standardized patient assessment items for use in post-acute care. Edelen also led a National Institute on Aging contract to develop PRO performance measures for persons aged 65 and older with multiple chronic conditions and a project funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop and evaluate IRT-based item banks for assessing smoking behaviors and attitudes.  Edelen earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in quantitative psychology from the LL Thurstone Psychometric Lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Recent Projects

  • Development and Maintenance of Post-Acute Care Cross-Setting Standardized Patient Assessment Data
  • MACRA Palliative Care Measures Project
  • Home Health and Hospice Quality Reporting Program Support
  • Outcome Performance Measure Development for Persons with Multiple Chronic Conditoins
  • Development and Evaluation of a Smoking Module for PROMIS.

Selected Publications

Edelen, M.O., Stucky, B.D., Hansen, M., Joan S. Tucker, J.S., Shadel, W.G., Cai, L., "The PROMIS Smoking Initiative: Initial Validity Evidence for Six New Smoking Item Banks," Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2014

Edelen, M. O., Stucky, B. D., and Chandra, A, "Quantifying 'Problematic' DIF within an IRT Framework: Application to a Cancer Stigma Index.," Quality of Life Research, 2013

Edelen, M.O., Tucker, J.S., Shadel, W.G., Stucky, B.D., Cai, L., "Toward a More Systematic Assessment of Smoking: Development of a Smoking Module for PROMIS®.," Addictive Behaviors, 37(11), 2012

Edelen, M.O., & Saliba, D., "Correspondence of Verbal Descriptor and Numeric Rating Scales for Pain Intensity: An Item Response Theory Calibration.," The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 2010

Edelen, M.O., Slaughter, M.E., McCaffrey, D.F., Becker, K., and Morral, A.R., "Long term effect of community-based treatment: Evidence from the adolescent outcomes project," Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 107(1), 2010

Edelen, M.O., Reeve, B., "Applying Item Response Theory (IRT) Modeling to Questionnaire Development, Evaluation, and Refinement," Quality of Life Research, 2007

Orlando, M., Ellickson, P.L., McCaffrey, D.F., Longshore, D.L., "Mediation analysis of a school-based drug prevention program: Effects of Project ALERT," Prevention Science, 2005

Orlando, M., Tucker, J.S., Ellickson, P.E., and Klein, D.J., "Developmental trajectories of cigarette smoking and their correlates from early adolescence to young adulthood.," Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 2004