Bess Welch

Bess Welch is a vice president in the Public Health department at NORC. She manages and administers social science surveys for governmental agencies, academic institutions, and foundations.

Welch has over twenty years of experience leading multidisciplinary teams in the design, development, and delivery of complex survey data and analytic products used by policy makers and researchers in the public health arenas. Welch serves as the project director (PD) for the National Immunization Surveys (NIS). The NIS is the one of largest RDD surveys, with more than 25 million yearly sampled telephone lines, providing ongoing surveillance of immunization coverage for children and teenagers in the U.S. As PD, she oversees all aspects of the NIS-Child, NIS-Teen, and NIS-Flu surveys, as well as any additional Task Orders awarded under the NIS IDIQ. This includes working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to refine research objectives and design options, developing cost estimates, directing the development of survey instrumentation, supervising data collection activities, managing data review and other quality checks, and ensuring that cleaned and weighted data are delivered to the CDC.

In addition to her role on the NIS, Welch also served as the project director for the Test Predictability of Falls Screening Tools project. This was a longitudinal survey that followed over 1,900 older adults over the course of approximately 15 months to test the ability of existing falls screening tools to predict falls and fall requiring medical attention over the course of one year. This survey uses the AmeriSpeak Panel and was the first AmeriSpeak survey to receive U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance to conduct data collection on behalf of the federal government.

Welch has also served as project director of a number of projects for the University of Florida Institute for Child Health Policy, including the STAR+PLUS Behavioral Health Survey and the STAR Adult Behavioral Health Survey. These studies evaluate the experiences and satisfaction of Texas Medicaid enrollees with the behavioral health services they receive. Welch has also served as project director for the Connecting Health and Technology (CHAT) Study. Funded by the Legacy Foundation, this study was designed to measure the impact of a public education media campaign to discourage the uptake of tobacco use among youth and young adults. Legacy contracted with NORC to provide a recruiting effort using telephone outreach and CATI screening to supplement an existing mail recruitment of youth to a web panel. NORC built a sample using a combination of RDD landline, cellular phone, and targeted lists of youth and young adult populations to screen and identify eligible participants ages 15-21. Eligible participants were passed to the baseline web questionnaire for enrollment prior to the launch of the media campaign.