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Michael Davern

Pronouns: He/Him

Executive Vice President & Chief Research Officer
Health Research
Michael seeks to help clients create, document, and disseminate information about the human experience.

He aims to make information about the human experience accessible and transparent to provide evidence for understanding social processes and improving outcomes. As executive vice president of research, Michael oversees the Health Care Evaluations, Health Care Programs, 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, Michael 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.

Michael 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 U.S. 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.

Before joining NORC, Michael 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. Michael 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. Davern has 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.



University of Notre Dame


Colorado State University


Saint John's University

Appointments & Affiliations


American Association for Public Opinion Research


American Statistical Association

Honors & Awards

Fellow | 2018

American Statistical Association

Policy Impact Award (for State Health Access Data Assistance Center) | 2012

American Association for Public Opinion Research

John D. Thompson Prize for Young Investigators | 2008

Association of University Programs in Health Administration

Project Contributions

COVID-19 Impact Survey

Providing real-time data collection during the onset of the pandemic


The Data Foundation