Susan Schechter

Susan Schechter Senior Fellow

Health Care

M.A., Human Development Research, Antioch University
B.A., Criminology, University of Maryland, College Park

Susan Schechter is a Senior Fellow in the Health Care Research department for NORC at the University of Chicago. After a 25 year career in survey research at various federal agencies, Susan Schechter joined NORC, bringing her broad expertise and deep knowledge of survey research and statistical policy, to NORC.

During her tenure in the federal sector, she served as the chief of the American Community Survey (ACS) Office at the U.S. Census Bureau, overseeing field operations for the nation's largest federal household survey. As a senior statistician at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Schechter focused on the government-wide implementation of OMB's standards for data on race and ethnicity and served as the principal reviewer for all data collections conducted by a number of statistical agencies. Schechter also worked at the Office of Research and Methodology at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) where she managed and conducted cognitive research to design questionnaires and improve data collection methods.

Schechter’s experience includes managing the wide range of survey activities for large data collection projects as well as conducting qualitative research to improve survey instruments.  She has led cognitive research including cognitive interviews, focus groups, and usability testing to improve questionnaires, reduce respondent burden and improve data quality. For large scale surveys, she has designed innovative trainings, established efficient field procedures and oversaw timely data processing, editing and delivery.  She has also directed systems development and testing and led FISMA compliance activities to ensure data security and obtain FISMA accreditations.

Schechter is currently the Project Director for the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS), which serves as a vital resource to CMS, the Medicare program, and the federal statistical system. Schechter’s management of the MCBS has included the implementation of innovations that will modernize the survey, streamline data collection and processing, and improve data quality. She also served in a leadership role on the National Children’s Study (NCS), supporting the NIH Program Office through innovative trainings, establishing guidance on complex data collection protocols, conducting field monitoring, and operating a full service help desk for other NCS staff and contractors.

A well-respected presenter at many conferences, Schechter has authored numerous papers about ways to reduce response error through improvements in survey and questionnaire design. Schechter served for many years on the OMB Federal Committee for Statistical Methodology and is an elected fellow of the American Statistical Association.

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

National Children's Study (NCS) Vanguard Study. In response to the Children’s Health Act of 2000, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) commissioned the National Children’s Study (NCS) Vanguard Study to prepare for a large-scale, national study of the effects of the environment on the growth, development, and health of children across the United States.​ More