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Whitney Perkins Witt, Leading Expert on Innovation and Survey Research, Joins NORC as AmeriSpeak’s Vice President and Director of Strategy for Federal Programs

Press Release

CHICAGO, February 16, 2022 – NORC at the University of Chicago is excited to announce that Whitney Perkins Witt, PhD, MPH, an internationally recognized leader in health innovation, survey research, and business development, has been named the vice president of AmeriSpeak, NORC’s premier multi-client, panel-based research platform and AmeriSpeak’s director of strategy for federal programs.

In this key leadership position, Witt will oversee the development and growth of AmeriSpeak-centered business among Federal sponsors. Witt will draw upon her nearly 30 years of experience in federal contracting, survey research methods, and business management to lead the team in this critical period of growth.

“Whitney’s deft management of $89 million in income for renowned companies and institutions of higher learning, coupled with her record of delivering contract wins through strong client relationships, make her the perfect fit to help us grow AmeriSpeak’s federal business,” said J. Michael Dennis, Executive Director, AmeriSpeak. “She truly understands the critical need for high-quality data for the Federal agency contract and grants markets.”

Witt comes to NORC from Lehigh University’s College of Health, where she served as a professor and the inaugural dean. As the inaugural dean, she developed a five-year financial model and operating plan, raising over $5 million in 1.5 years. She also increased faculty diversity and established the university’s first programs in population health.

Dr. Witt is a preeminent thought leader in survey research and advanced data analytics. Using this expertise, she has led the development of cutting-edge resources to support research. While dean, she spearheaded the effort to create innovative data-driven science in the College of Health. These research resources included the Health Data Warehouse, the Biospecimen Repository, the Artificial Intelligence and Data Visualization Laboratory, the Virtual Reality Lab, the Survey Research Laboratory, and the Community Partnership Engagement Space. As a survey researcher, she has also created one-of-a-kind resources to study maternal and child health.

Prior to joining Lehigh, Witt was the director of the Center for Maternal and Child Health Research at IBM Watson Health, winning and leading multimillion-dollar projects sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. She also was a key contributor to programs funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Veterans Administration (VA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Dr. Witt is experienced in developing and maintaining key partnerships, engaging in collaborative decision-making, and fostering a culture of teamwork and transparency. She has developed and cultivated collaborations with federal and other key external partners,” commented Dan Gaylin, President and CEO of NORC. Witt’s experience includes research with US-based and global academic institutions, corporations, non-governmental organizations, foundations, and non-federal governmental organizations, to build networks to support initiatives. These collaborations have resulted in Dr. Witt’s success in fundraising campaigns.

“Dr. Witt is experienced in developing and maintaining key partnerships, engaging in collaborative decision-making, and fostering a culture of teamwork and transparency.”

Dan Gaylin

President and CEO of NORC

“Dr. Witt is experienced in developing and maintaining key partnerships, engaging in collaborative decision-making, and fostering a culture of teamwork and transparency.”

In joining AmeriSpeak, Witt noted that “AmeriSpeak is a groundbreaking panel survey that has provided critical insights into American life. This gold-standard resource informs policy, practice, and improves the well-being of all Americans. I am truly honored to join this team and lead the effort to expand opportunities to our federal partners.”

Witt has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles, five book chapters and earned numerous leadership and academic awards and honors. Of note, one of Dr. Witt’s articles was named the Best Article in the 25th Anniversary Collection of the journal Women’s Health Issues. Most recently, she was selected to serve as a technical expert on the 2021 National Institutes of Health (NIH) panel on maternal and child health research. In addition, she is a 25-year member of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and the recent past Chair of the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Section, and a current Steering Committee Member of the Intersectional Council.

Witt received her PhD in health policy and management from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Hygiene and Public Health, from which she also earned a Master of Public Health (MPH) in health outcomes and quality. She completed a post-doctorate fellowship in pediatric health services research at Harvard University’s School of Medicine. She earned her bachelor’s degree in law and women’s Studies at Hampshire College. Witt also is an accredited IBM Certified Practitioner of Cognitive Solutions.


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).