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David Cotton Joins NORC at the University of Chicago as Vice President in the Public Health Department

Press Release

CHICAGO, May 1, 2019 – Public health authority David Cotton has joined NORC at the University of Chicago as a vice president of public health research.

As a vice president in the public health department, Cotton works with partners across NORC’s health and well-being research portfolio to continue enhancing our well-established program evaluation and prevention-specific projects.

“We’re excited to have David as part of our public health group given his knowledge and experience working with NORC’s long-standing clients,” said Caitlin Oppenheimer, senior vice president of public health at NORC. “As our practice continues to evolve, having David as part of our department’s leadership team will be invaluable to our continued growth.”

Cotton brings 30 years of experience in the industry, leading organizations providing evaluation, research, training, and technical assistance to a number of government entities. His previous work includes supporting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and other US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) agencies.

“I’m thrilled to join a mission-driven organization that conducts research to help decision-makers inform their choices based on data,” said Cotton. “I look forward to being part of a group that has such strong history in making contributions to the public knowledge, and am excited to help continue the public health team’s growth.”

Prior to joining NORC, Cotton worked for ICF as a senior vice president overseeing public health, health sciences, behavioral health, and survey research. With a robust portfolio of work across a diverse set of clients, Cotton supported the development of large national surveys, longitudinal multisite evaluations, and large-scale evaluation and policy technical assistance programs supporting national grant programs.

Among his many professional accomplishments, Cotton helped develop the standardized monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system and associated performance indicators initially used by the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at CDC. He also led the effort to recruit, train, and support CDC’s inaugural class of M&E officers to be deployed to the original 25 countries supported by the Global AIDS Program.

Cotton also worked as part of the team that developed the Systematic Screening and Assessment (SSA) Method to efficiently identify programs meriting the significant investment needed for evaluation, an approach that has been used extensively by CDC and other funders to identify the most promising candidate programs for more extensive evaluations that build a strong evidence base.

Cotton has co-authored 19 journal articles and has presented more than 50 papers at conferences across the country and around the globe. A founding member of the Atlanta-Area Evaluation Association, Cotton has various peer-reviewed works in a number of publications including Public Health Reports, The Annual Review of Public Health, and others. Cotton is based out of NORC’s Atlanta-based office.

“We’re excited to have David as part of our public health group given his knowledge and experience working with NORC’s long-standing clients.”

Caitlin Oppenheimer

Senior Vice President

“We’re excited to have David as part of our public health group given his knowledge and experience working with NORC’s long-standing clients.”

About NORC at the University of Chicago

NORC at the University of Chicago conducts research and analysis that decision-makers trust. As a nonpartisan research organization and a pioneer in measuring and understanding the world, we have studied almost every aspect of the human experience and every major news event for more than eight decades. Today, we partner with government, corporate, and nonprofit clients around the world to provide the objectivity and expertise necessary to inform the critical decisions facing society.

Contact: For more information, please contact Eric Young at NORC at or (703) 217-6814 (cell).

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