Michael Davern

Michael Davern is an executive vice president of Research. In this position, he oversees the Health Care, Public Health, and Health Sciences research departments at NORC. The health research departments conduct survey and evaluation research and also provide technical assistance to the federal, state, and local governments as well as foundations. In addition to providing executive oversight in the health research departments, Davern also contributes expertise in survey research, health data, data linkage, Census Bureau data, and the use of these data for policy research simulation and evaluation.

Davern currently serves as a principal investigator for the General Social Survey (GSS) for NORC. The GSS has been collecting and disseminating cumulative cross-sectional data on opinions, attitudes, social economic status, and well-being since 1972. GSS data is second only to the US Census Bureau data in social science research references and serves as a rich data resource for studying social change in the United States. Since 1984, the GSS also has actively participated in the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), which coordinates the collection of social science data in 70 countries for comparative research.

Previously during Davern’s tenure with NORC, he supported the Comparative Effectiveness Research Public Use Data Pilot Project as well as the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Children’s Study data linkage project.

Before joining NORC, Davern led a multi-organization study across several federal agencies, including CMS and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. The objective of the study was to link survey and administrative data to enhance understanding of the strengths and limitations of both types of data for health policy research purposes., Davern also 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. In addition, he 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 70 articles on evaluating health data quality, survey methodology, social networks, health insurance, income measurement, and health disparities. He also has 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.

A fellow of the American Statistical Association, Davern was awarded the John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators, and the Fesler-Lampert Chair in Aging Studies at the University of Minnesota. SHADAC received the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR)’s Policy Impact Award in 2012, for work that Davern led while serving as co-principal investigator and research director of SHADAC.

Davern also served 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 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’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.