Michael Davern

Michael Davern Executive Vice President of Research

Health Care

Ph.D., Sociology, University of Notre Dame
M.A., Sociology, Colorado State University
B.A., Sociology, Saint John's University

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.

 Among the projects he has run is the Comparative Effectiveness Research Public Use Data Pilot Project, which has already resulted in the release of several public use files created from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) claims datasets (e.g., inpatient, carrier, and Part D) and is preparing to release a fully synthetic claims data file to the public to be used in application development and training. He also serves as the Principal Investigator of a National Institute of Child Health and Human Development project that is both investigating and cataloging data linkage opportunities for the National Children’s Study. This project is designed to identify, evaluate, select and integrate various extant data sources relevant to the NCS system. These sources are expected to assist in the evaluation of the respondent's survey, biomedical and psychological information, to improve.  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. The RDC officially opened for business in 2010 and is a critical part of the Census Bureau's RDC system focused on health data and Census Data improvement activities.

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; the National Academies of Science Committee on National Statistics review of the American Community Survey local area data quality; and the standing committee on Integrating New Behavioral Health Measures Into SAMHSA’s Data Collection Programs.

Representative Projects

The Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey. The Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS), since its inception in 1991, has been an invaluable source of information for administering the Medicare program, estimating health care expenditures and sources of payment outlays for beneficiaries (including both Medicare covered and non-covered services), and creating a more-nuanced understanding of the health status of  beneficiaries and of how program changes impact health status. It is the leading source of information about the Medicare program and plays an essential role in monitoring and evaluating key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  More


News Analytics Magazine: NORC Associate Director Kean Chew and Statistician Ben Duffey talk about Executive Vice President Mike Davern's keynote speech at the INFORMS Midwest Practice of Analytics Conference (IMPAC) More
Posted: 9.23.2014 4:04PM
Press Release NORC at the University of Chicago Announces Senior Staff Promotions and Formation of New Business Unit More
Posted: 1.27.2014 3:32PM
Press Release Access to Medicare Claims Data Increased With Release of the Data Entrepreneurs’ Synthetic Public Use File (DE-SynPUF) by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) More
Posted: 2.11.2013 1:54PM
Press Release Larry L. Bye Appointed NORC Senior Fellow More
Posted: 4.11.2012 4:20PM


Michael Davern

(312) 357-3770