David Nerenz Ph.D.

Director, Investigator
Phone: (313) 874-5454
Fax: (313) 874-7137


Most of Dr. Nerenz's current work has been focused on the issue of racial and ethnic disparities in quality of care, and on the ways in which health care organizations can reduce or eliminate disparities. He has led several multi-site demonstration projects on health plans' ability to obtain data on race/ethnicity of members and use this information to identify and then reduce or eliminate disparities in quality of care. He is currently the site Principal Investigator for an AHRQ-funded project involving a registry of patients with new episodes of low back pain and an RCT of epidural steroid injections for back pain. He is one of the project directors for a new statewide quality improvement collaborative in spine surgery supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. He is also the site Principal Investigator for a national NCI-funded study of patterns and outcomes of care for patients with lung or colorectal cancer. His interests in Health Policy include the effect of payment and quality measurement initiatives on health care disparities, and on novel approaches to bundled episode payments.

Recent publications

Friedly JL, Bresnahan BW, Comstock B, Turner JA, Deyo RA, Sullivan SD, Heagerty P, Bauer Z, Nedeljkovic SS, Avins AL, Nerenz D, Jarvik JG. Study Potocol-Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections for Spinal Stenosis (LESS): a double-blink randomized controlled trial of epidural steroid injections for lumbar spinal stenosis among older adults. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2012 Mar 29;13:48. PMID: 22458343

Jarvik J, Comstock B, Bresnahan B, Nedeljkovic N, Nerenz D, Bauer Z, Avins A, James K, Turner J, Heagerty P, Kessler L, Friedly J, Sullivan S, Deyo R. Study protocol: The Back Pain Outcomes using Longitudinal Data (BOLD) registry. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 2012 May 3;13:64 PMID: 22554166

Moorman AC, Gordon SC, Rupp LB, Spradling PR, Teshale EH, Lu M, Nerenz DR, Nakasato CC, Boscario JA, Henkle E, Oja-Tebbe N, Xing J, Ward JW, Holmberg SD, for the Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study (CHeCS) Investigators. Baseline characteristics and mortality among people in care for chronic viral hepatitis: The Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study (CHeCS). Clin Infect Dis [Epub 2012 Sep 18]. PMID: 22990852

Spradling PR, Rupp L, Moorman AC, Teshale EH, Gordon SC, Nakasato C, Boscarino JA, Henkle EM, Nerenz DR, Denniston MM, Holmberg SD, for the Chronic Hepatitis Cohort Study (CHeCS) Investigators. Hepatitis B and C Virus infection among 1.2 million persons with access to care: Factors associated with testing and infection prevalence. Clin Infect Dis 2012 Oct;55(8):1047-55. PMID: 22875876

Ahmedani BK, Osborne J, Nerenz DR, Haque S, Pietrantoni L, Mahone D, Smith BJ. Diagnosis, costs, and utilization for psychogenic non-epileptic seizures in a U.S. health care setting. Psychosomatic 2012 Nov 27;S0033-3182 [Epub]. PMID: 23194931

Committee on Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2020 (DR Nerenz, Chair), Leading Health Indicators For Healthy People 2020: Letter Report. Washington, DC, National Academies Press, January, 2011.

Nerenz DR, Liu YW, Williams LK, Tunceli K, Zeng H. A simulation model approach to analysis of the business case for eliminating health care disparities. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 2011, 11, 31-52

Billmeier SE, Ayanian JA, Zaslavsky AM, Nerenz DR, Jaklitsch MT, Rogers SO. Predictors and outcomes of limited resection for early-stage non-small cell lung cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2011;103(21):162-169.

Nerenz DR, Pietrantoni L, Schultz L, Garden B, Obeid L, Swatrz A, Shatz R, Rubinfeld I. Initial experience with the PROMIS Measurement System in clinical populations. Value in Health 2010;13(3):A19

Nerenz DR, Pietrantoni L, Schultz L, Obeid L, Swartz A, Rubinfeld I, Velanovich V. Agreement between PROMIS Global Health Scale and SF-36 scores among surgical patients. Value in Health 2010;13(3):A19


Dr. Nerenz received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1979. He served as Director of the VA's Great Lakes Regional HSR&D Field Program in Ann Arbor from 1984-1986 and was Director of Henry Ford Health System's Center for Health System Studies from 1987-1999. From 1999 to 2003, he was at Michigan State University, as Professor in the College of Human Medicine and as Director of the Institute for Health Care Studies from 2001 to 2003. He returned to HFHS in 2003 and currently serves as the Director of the Center for Health Policy and Health Services Research, as Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Neurosurgery, and as Director of Outcomes Research for the Neuroscience Institute. In May of 2012 he was appointed as a Commissioner on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC).