Category: Discovery & Impact

Title: MDI Welcomes Data Governance and Integration Expert Amy O’Hara

Date Published: October 30, 2018

The Massive Data Institute (MDI) at the McCourt School of Public Policy is pleased to welcome data governance, data integration, and privacy expert Dr. Amy O’Hara.


Dr. O’Hara joins MDI as a Research Professor and Director of U.S. Census Research Data Center (RDC) at Georgetown University.

O’Hara’s work at MDI will focus on promoting secure and responsible studies using data by enhancing data security and curation practices to improve data discovery and integration for program administration and evaluation. Her specific research interests include the study of measuring data quality and sharing quality assessments with other researchers, blending data sources through record linkage and improving data validation and harmonization approaches, and finding and responsibly using data sources to produce policy-relevant empirical evidence. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Notre Dame in 2003.

O’Hara comes to MDI with an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant entitled “Administrative Data Research Initiative”. The goal of this grant is to promote the safe and responsible use of administrative data in academic research by establishing the Administrative Data Research Institute (ADRI), a national membership organization whose member institutions intermediate between data producers and data users. With this grant, which funds the initial start-up and operational costs for a two-year period, the ADRI will provide expert advice and leadership for tackling the many technical, legal, political, or privacy challenges that data intermediaries face. It will also set and maintain high data standards for the global network of Administrative Data Research Facilities (ADRFs), which are institutions that facilitate researcher access to private or sensitive data owned, or held by, corporations and government entities. O’Hara’s envisions the ADRI helping increase trust between member intermediaries, data producers, and between the public and policymakers.

Prior to MDI, O’Hara worked at Stanford University as a Senior Research Scholar and was also the Former Chief of the Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications at the U.S. Census Bureau. At the Census, she developed data sharing relationships with dozens of government agencies and founded a research unit that uses administrative records to improve surveys, produce new scholarship, and support program evaluation