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Office of Strategic Initiatives
Advising on the Strategic Direction of the National Library of Medicine

Office of Strategic Initiatives - Staff

Mike Huerta, PhD

Mike Huerta, Ph.D.

Director of the Office of Strategic Initiatives and Associate Director of NLM
Telephone: 301-496-8834
Location: Democracy 1, RM 202G


Dr. Huerta directs the Office of Strategic Initiatives to identify, implement, and assess strategic directions of NLM. In his 30 years at NIH, he has led many trans-NIH research initiatives including the NIH Human Connectome Project, the National Database for Autism Research, and the US Human Brain Project, which was key in creating and establishing the field of Neuroinformatics. He chairs several trans-NIH and trans-NLM committees to help realize the promise of data science and open science for biomedicine. Dr. Huerta is a neuroscientist; his undergraduate and doctoral work was completed at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, he was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University, and on the faculty of the University of Connecticut Health Center before joining NIH’s NIMH in 1991 and moving to NLM in 2011.

Laura Cameron

Laura Cameron

Scientific Information Analyst
Telephone: 301-451-7802


Laura Cameron is on detail from the Office of Extramural Research (OER) in the NIH Office of the NIH Director and serves as a Scientific Information Analyst at OSI. She organizes, analyzes and summarizes information from across NLM about ongoing activities related to its mission, provides insight into best practices for reporting and tracking NLM’s strategic initiatives and their relevance to those of NIH, and provides an integrative analytic perspective across OSI activities. At OER, Laura provides guidance and quality control for data mining/management tools designed to identify, retrieve, and report NIH research activities. She analyzes and curates biomedical terminologies to optimize their role in text mining and natural language processing technologies. Laura received her B.A in Psychology from the University of Maryland.

Tony Chu, Ph.D., MLIS

NLM Information and Data Scientist
Telephone: 301-827-6456
Location: Remote Work (North Brunswick, NJ)


Dr. Tony Chu is an Information and Data Scientist at the National Library of Medicine. Dr. Chu came to NLM with a strong background in behavioral science, research methodology, evaluation, and data management.  He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in Social Psychology from the University of Georgia and spent more than a decade in the private sector doing computer programming, data analysis, statistical computing, and strategic analysis. In 2014, he received a Master of Library and Information Science from Rutgers University, where his medical informatics work familiarized him with NLM resources. He is a member of the first cohort of students who completed the data science training implemented by NLM in 2019.

Lisa Federer, MLIS

Lisa Federer, Ph.D., MLIS

NLM Data Science and Open Science Librarian
Telephone: 301-827-4399
Location: Democracy 1, RM 202Q


Dr. Lisa Federer is the Data Science and Open Science Librarian at the National Library of Medicine, focusing on developing efforts to support workforce development and enhance capacity in the biomedical research and library communities for data science and open science. Prior to joining NLM, Lisa spent five years as the Research Data Informationist at the National Institutes of Health Library, where she developed and ran the Library’s Data Services Program. She holds a Ph.D. in information studies from the University of Maryland and an MLIS from the University of California-Los Angeles, as well as graduate certificates in data science and data visualization.

Rebecca Goodwin, JD

Rebecca Goodwin, J.D.

NLM Policy Analyst and Open Science Specialist
Telephone: 301-827-4350
Location: Remote Work (Marshall, NC)


Rebecca Goodwin is a policy analyst and open science specialist in the NLM Office of Strategic Initiatives and Office of the Director. She coordinates technology transfer for NLM, provides support and guidance to NLM leadership and staff related to legal and intellectual property (IP) issues affecting NLM, and supports NLM policy development and legislative tracking. As Executive Secretary for the NIH Common Data Elements (CDE) Task Force and in other activities, Ms. Goodwin plans, develops, implements, and coordinates activities in the areas of open science and the intersection of open science and data science across NLM, NIH, HHS, and beyond. Prior to joining OSI, she spent 7 years working in NLM’s intramural research program managing special projects and serving as special assistant to the Director of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications. She earned her J.D. from the University of Florida and completed a Presidential Management Fellowship at the National Cancer Institute.

Yaffa Rubinstein, ph.D.

Yaffa Rubinstein, ph.D.

Special Volunteer
Telephone: 301-827-6516


Yaffa Rubinstein is a special volunteer concentrating on Rare Diseases and Open Science after her retirement from the NIH. Before her recent retirement, Yaffa served as the Program Director for Patient Resources for Clinical and Translational Research at the Office of Rare Diseases Research at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)/NIH. She also served as a member of the PCORI rare disease advisory panel and serves as an active member in the European consortium for rare diseases IRDiRC and RD-Connect.

Yaffa was trained as a molecular biologist and received her M.S. from the Weizmann Institute /Hebrew University in Israel and her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed her postdoctoral studies at the National Cancer Institute.

While as volunteer at NLM, she continued to be involved in activities within the NIH and various international organizations that she was involved previous to her retirement, Such as, ICORD, RD-Connect, ISBER-(serving as the chair for the Rare Disease WG and the co-chair for the International Specimen Locator WG).

Currently, at NLM, she continued to participate in the CDETF and BIMIC meetings. Last year she organized two international WebEx at the NIH on “Global Perspectives on Standards and Common Data Elements Used in Patients Data and Biospecimens Collection” and “Global perspectives on access to bio-samples and data sharing”. At the moment she is leading a publication “The Case for Open Science: Rare Diseases” in collaboration with other 25 scientists from the NIH, USA and other countries

Leigh Samsel, MS

Leigh Samsel, M.S.

NLM Planning & Evaluation Officer
Telephone: 301-451-0162
Location: Democracy 1, RM 202P


Leigh Samsel is the NLM Planning and Evaluation Officer, responsible for formal reporting of NLM activities and for providing staff leadership to strategic planning activities.  Leigh received a Professional Development Award which allowed her to gain experience in the planning, coordination, evaluation, and management of NIH programs by detailing in NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices.  Prior to that, Leigh spent more than a decade in NHLBI’s Flow Cytometry Core Facility where she consulted with hundreds of researchers, providing training and expertise spanning from experimental design to data analysis and publication.  She holds a B.S. in Genetic Biology from Purdue University and an M.S. in Molecular Biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Sara Tam

Administrative Assistant
Telephone: 301-496-2311
Location: Democracy 1, RM 202R

Kimberly Thomas, M.P.H.

Kimberly Thomas, M.P.H.

NLM Strategic Evaluation Officer
Telephone: 301-827-6478
Location: Democracy 1, RM 2N-02


Kimberly Thomas is the NLM Strategic Evaluation Officer, responsible for formulating and executing a framework for identifying, prioritizing, conducting, and coordinating programmatic evaluations to better understand alignment of NLM activities with its strategic goals and objectives. Prior to joining NLM, Kimberly spent most of her career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention using program evaluation and surveillance data to improve programmatic decision-making and to promote data-driven outcomes. She holds a B.S. in Health Science from Georgia Southern University and an M.P.H. in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the Morehouse School of Medicine.


Constance Young

Program Coordinator IV
Telephone: 301-496-2311
Location: Democracy 1, RM 202C

Maryam Zaringhalam, PhD

Maryam Zaringhalam, Ph.D.

NLM Data Science and Open Science Officer
Telephone: 301-827-2420
Location: Democracy 1, RM 202M


Maryam Zaringhalam is a Data Science and Open Science Officer at the NLM. In this role, she is responsible for monitoring and coordinating data science and open science activities and development across NLM, NIH, and beyond, with an emphasis on the extramural research community. She completed her Ph.D. at Rockefeller University in 2017 in molecular biology and bioinformatics. She then moved to Washington D.C. to become an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at NLM, focusing on open science and data science policy.

Last Reviewed: June 24, 2022