Steven C. Martino

Steven C. Martino
Senior Behavioral Scientist; Professor of Policy Analysis, Pardee RAND Graduate School


Ph.D. in psychology, University of Minnesota; B.A. in psychology, Boston College

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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Steven Martino is a senior behavioral scientist at RAND and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. He is an expert in the application of psychological and measurement theory to understand decisions and actions related to health and health care. His recent research focuses on health care disparities, vulnerable patient populations, and the assessment and reporting of information on health care quality.

Much of his research has focused on psychosocial aspects of adolescent substance use, social cognitive processes involved in adolescent sexual behavior, and the influence of various media (including television, movies, music, and various forms of advertising) on adolescents' beliefs and behaviors regarding sex and substance use. Martino also has experience conducting research on informational interventions for health care consumers using cognitive testing, surveys, focus groups, lab studies, and field evaluations.

For the past 15 years, he has led reporting efforts on several of RAND's CAHPS and CAHPS-related projects, directing development and testing of consumer reports on health care quality, conducting lab studies of how consumers use quality reports in decisionmaking, and developing and testing physician feedback reports. More recently, he has focused on the measurement, understanding, and reporting of health care disparities, and on the development of methods for reducing those disparities.

Martino received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Selected Publications

Martino, S.C., Elliott, M.N., Klein, D.J., Haas, A., Haviland, A.M., Dembosky, J.W., Adams, J.L., Maksut, J.L., Gaillot, S., & Weech-Maldonado, R., "Disparities in the quality of clinical care received by American Indian and Alaska Native Medicare beneficiaries," Health Affairs, 41, 2022

16.Martino, S.C., Matthews, M., Damberg, C.L., Mallett, J.S., Orr, N., Ng, J., Agniel, D., Tamayo, L., & Elliott, M.N., "Rates of disenrollment from Medicare Advantage plans are higher for racial-and-ethnic minority beneficiaries," Medical Care, 59, 2021

27.Martino, S.C., Grob, R., Davis, S., Parker, A.M., Finucane, M.L., Cerully, J.L., Rybowski, L., Shaller, D., & Schlesinger, M., "Choosing doctors wisely: Can assisted choice enhance patients’ selection of clinicians?" Medical Care Research and Review, 76, 2019

Martino, S.C., Elliott, M.N., Beckett, M.K., Haviland, A.M., Mallett, J.S., Orr, N., & Gaillot, S., "Speaking up and walking out: Are vulnerable patients less likely to disagree with or change doctors?" Medical Care, 56

Martino, S.C., Kovalchik, S., Collins, R.L., Becker, K., Shadel, W.G., & D’Amico, E.J., "Ecological momentary assessment of the association between exposure to alcohol advertising and early adolescents’ beliefs about alcohol," Journal of Adolescent Health, 58, 2016

Martino, S.C., Elliott, M.N., Corona, R., Kanouse, D.E., & Schuster, M.A., "Beyond the “Big Talk”: The roles of breadth and repetition in parent-adolescent communication about sexual topics," Pediatrics, 121, 2008

Martino, S.C., Collins, R.L., Elliott, M., Strachman, A., Kanouse, D.E., & Berry, S.H., "Exposure to degrading versus non-degrading music lyrics and sexual behavior among youth," Pediatrics, 118, 2006

Martino, S.C., Collins, R.L., Kanouse, D.E., Elliott, M., & Berry, S.H., "Social cognitive mediators of the relationship between exposure to television’s sexual content and adolescents’ sexual behavior," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 2005

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: WQED Pittsburgh


  • Tobacco and Smoking

    FDA's New Tobacco Rules Go Far Enough—For Now

    At this point, asking the FDA to restrict marketing or to ban flavored products would be premature. The base of scientific evidence is growing but it doesn't support additional regulatory action beyond what the FDA has already proposed.

    Jun 12, 2014

    The Hill

  • Tobacco and Smoking

    Where There's Vapor, Is There Fire? We Need Evidence on E-Cigarettes

    Currently, evidence for the safety, harmfulness, utility, and addictiveness of e-cigarettes is lacking. The questions that research needs to answer, however, are clear as day—particularly since business is booming.

    Mar 4, 2014

    The Health Care Blog

  • Virginity Pledges Work for Some Teens

    Essentially, the available research suggests that teaching abstinence alone to teenagers does not work — they are no more likely to delay the start of sexual activity than other teenagers. But research has not been so clear regarding virginity pledges specifically, writes Steven Martino.

    Apr 1, 2009

    Providence Journal