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Barbara Fernandez

Pronouns: She/Her

Associate Project Director
Barbara has 22 years of experience in survey research and project and contract management.

Barbara is an associate research director in NORC’s Health Care Programs department. She brings a wealth of expertise in leading and managing interdisciplinary research teams and executing research studies. Barbara works with clients and study partners to define study objectives and methods; manage and monitor the performance of research projects; manage diverse teams of methodologists, statisticians, analysts, data collection staff, and subcontractors to implement projects according to contract requirements, budget, and methodological rigor; conduct quality assurance/control activities; and present results to clients and the research community. She ensures NORC completes tasks according to contract requirements, schedule, and budget, and anticipates and mitigates potential challenges.

For the Colorado Health Institute, Barbara manages the Colorado Health Access Survey, which documents health insurance coverage and access to and use of healthcare. The survey is used to develop statewide health policies. For the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Barbara manages the Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transfer Implementation and Monitoring contract. This payment model provides flexibility to ambulance teams to address the emergency healthcare needs of Medicare beneficiaries following a 911 call. NORC is working with the model team and the measure development contractor to develop a payment methodology that rewards participants with strong performance or improvement. Barbara manages the Catalytic Communities Evaluation for the Walton Family Foundation. NORC is using a mixed methods design (quantitative and qualitative methods) and an equity-centered systems change evaluation approach to assess key indicator performance to evaluate the initiative’s transformative K-12 educational systems change that uses community organizing and capacity-building approaches. 

Prior to joining NORC, Barbara served as an associate at Abt Associates, and before that as a senior research manager at ORC Macro (now ICF). Barbara led interdisciplinary projects teams for public health projects that focused on behavioral health at the state and local level across the U.S. This included the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) and the Adult Tobacco Survey (ATS) on behalf of 13 state departments of health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), and state-wide health insurance surveys. Barbara oversaw all aspects of state-level survey research, including survey design, implementation, and reporting. She worked directly with clients to develop survey methodologies and questionnaires, write final analysis reports, and present findings to key stakeholders.

Project Contributions