Marielena Lara

Marielena Lara
Senior Physician Policy Researcher; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


M.D. in pediatrics, Harvard Medical School/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology; M.P.H. in health services management and policy, University of California, Los Angeles; B.S. in mechanical engineering, 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

More Experts


Dr. Marielena Lara is a senior physician policy researcher at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Dr. Lara leads program initiatives to improve the health and social well-being of vulnerable communities. She has spearheaded interdisciplinary teams and multisectoral partnerships in action-oriented implementation and policy research to reduce inequities in health care and community systems. Her projects have benefited varied populations including children with chronic health conditions, immigrant workers, women at risk of breast cancer, and victims of natural disasters.

Dr. Lara is an expert in data collection and analytic approaches with non-English speaking, racially, and ethnically diverse populations. Her multilingual communication expertise includes a wide range of audiences like policymakers, public and private sector leaders, and communities, authoring many scientific and policy publications, and producing educational and other content in printed, audio, and video form in English and Spanish. She earned her M.D. from Harvard Medical School/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, her M.P.H in health services management and policy from the University of California, Los Angeles, and her B.S. in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Selected Publications

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

Lara, M., et al., "Balancing “Fidelity” and Community Context in the Adaptation of Asthma Evidence-Based Interventions in the “Real World”," Health Promotion Practice

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

Lara, M., et al., "Development and validation of the RAND Asthma Control Measure," European Respiratory Journal

Lara, M., et al., "An English and Spanish Pediatric Asthma Symptom Scale," Medical Care

Lara, M., et al., "Heterogeneity of Childhood Asthma Among Hispanic Children: Puerto Rican Children Bear a Disproportionate Burden," Pediatrics

Lara, M., et al., "Reducing Quality of Care Disparities for Childhood Asthma: La Red de Asma Infantil Intervention in San Juan, Puerto Rico," Pediatrics

Lara M and Goodman CS, National Priorities for the Assessment of Clinical Conditions and Medical Technologies, National Academy Press


Spanish; French

Recent Media Appearances

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


  • Disaster Recovery Operations

    Disaster Recovery in Puerto Rico: Q&A with Marielena Lara

    When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, it peeled roofs from houses, turned roads into rivers, and left millions of people without electricity or safe drinking water. Marielena Lara, a senior physician policy researcher at RAND, was grateful to be part of the recovery planning.

    Apr 26, 2021

  • Asthma

    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