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Laura Marcial

Director, Center of Informatics


PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
BA, History, University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Laura Haak Marcial, PhD, is the Director of the Center of Informatics at RTI International who provides leadership across bioinformatics, environmental toxicology, and biomedical informatics teams. Dr. Marcial has been leading work on groundbreaking health information technology-related projects including the automated movement of clinical data for research purposes at scale, the development of clinical decision support tools, the study of patient-provider engagement, and the use of social media and mobile technologies.

She is a skilled health informatician who has been creating and assessing electronic health information tools for more than 20 years. Dr. Marcial is an expert in the development and use of scientific data repositories and mobile devices and has developed a comprehensive research program on information search performance on desktop, tablet, and mobile computers.

Her recent work focuses on the movement of data within the health care system and between health care and other services to support clinical decision support for challenging conditions, including pain management and complex chronic health conditions. As such, Dr. Marcial develops tools and systems that are both patient and provider-facing and that optimize interoperability and use multiple approaches, including FHIR. Recent work funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) demonstrated the utility of a FHIR-based app to allow clinicians and patients to make informed decisions about managing pain using evidence-based approaches that reflected patient preferences and concerns.

Dr. Marcial has worked across sectors, including state-level public health and private health care systems. She is particularly committed to ensuring that informatics tools are equitable and accessible and embeds user experience research into her research program. Dr. Marcial’s work spans development to evaluation and engages critical individuals at every step from concept to implementation to scale. Her work has been funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to support the development of a road map designed to support the safety of health IT and to produce a change package of tools for local implementation of health IT initiatives to maximize visibility.

Dr. Marcial is a Fellow of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), and she has taught a course in electronic health records at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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