Michael Davern

Michael Davern is an Executive Vice President of Research and Director of Health Care research at NORC. In this role he oversees the three health departments at NORC as well as serves as the department head for Health Care research.  The three health departments at NORC (Public Health, Health Care and Health Sciences) conduct survey research and analytical research as well as provide technical assistance to clients that include the federal government, foundations, and commercial enterprises. In addition to providing executive oversight in the three health departments and directing the Health Care research department, Davern also has expertise in survey research, health data, data linkage, Census Bureau data and the use of these data for policy research simulation and evaluation.

Davern is currently serving as a Co-investigator for the General Social Survey for NORC and among the projects he has run for NORC include the Comparative Effectiveness Research Public Use Data Pilot Project; The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Children’s Study data linkage project. And Davern also led a multi-organization study bringing together several federal agencies, including CMS and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, to link survey and administrative data to enhance understanding of the strengths and limitations of both types of data for health policy research purposes.

Prior to joining NORC, Davern served as Research Director of the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) at the University of Minnesota, where he designed, developed, and managed various health policy research projects for SHADAC staff. These included designing sampling schemes, developing survey instruments, constructing survey weights, imputing missing data, and writing survey documentation for health insurance and health care access surveys. He also evaluated and used various national data sources for state-centered research. Additionally, Davern was an investigator working with the Minnesota Population Center's dissemination of U.S. Census (from 1850 to the present), International Census (more than 150 censuses from more than 50 countries), and National Health Interview Survey data through the IPUMS data extraction system. He was also the founding co-director of the U.S. Census Bureau Research Data Center (RDC) at the University of Minnesota.

Davern has published more than 60 peer-reviewed articles on evaluating health data quality, survey methodology, social networks, health insurance, income measurement, and health disparities. He has also helped secure more than 50 grants and contracts for public health and social science research.  He also is currently a Senior Fellow at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago where he teaches a course in survey research and methodology.

Davern has received numerous honors, including the John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators, the Fesler-Lampert Chair in Aging Studies, the Eli J. and the Helen Shaheen Graduate School Award in the Social Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR)’s Policy Impact Award, 2012 was awarded to SHADAC for work he led while serving as Co-Principal Investigator and Research Director of SHADAC. Davern also serves on several committees that provide service to the federal statistical system including the Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Center for Health Statistics; and the National Academies of Sciences standing committee on Integrating New Behavioral Health Measures Into SAMHSA’s Data Collection Programs. He also has served on other National Academies of Science Panels including the review of the American Community Survey local area data quality.