Mara is an Economist and Decision Analyst by background and holds degrees from Bocconi University in Milan and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Her research is motivated by a desire to improve decision making in government, with a special interest and extensive expertise in the field of healthcare. Mara is one of the lead developers of the STAR toolkit, a socio-technical approach sponsored by the Health Foundation to improve resource allocation in healthcare organizations.
Mara has worked extensively with managers of the English and the Italian National Health Systems. She has also consulted for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario (Canada), the Home Office, the Ministry of Defence and the (then) Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in England, NATO and the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.