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Jennifer Benz

Deputy Director
Public Affairs and Media Research
Phone: (617) 316-3702

Jennifer Benz is a Principal Research Scientist and Deputy Director of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Benz is a political scientist whose research focuses on the connection between public policy and citizen engagement. Benz’s research includes numerous studies measuring awareness, understanding, and perceptions of public policy issues among the general public and targeted constituencies. She has a successful track record of distilling and packaging complex research for different audiences including journalists, policy makers, and the mass public.

Benz has managed and conducted survey research on a variety of topics including the public’s priorities and attitudes toward government, race and ethnicity, public health and health care, economic issues, news and media, international relations and defense, and environmental and energy policy. With training and experience in political science, social psychology, and public health, Benz’s research uses an interdisciplinary approach in both theory and method, and much of her research complements survey research with qualitative and experimental methods. Benz has also published research on the relationships between interest organizations, PACs, and public policy, with a particular focus on state-level politics and policy. Prior to joining the AP-NORC Center, Benz worked as a Research Scientist for NORC’s Public Health research department where her project work focuses on issues in health disparities, access to primary care, and the dissemination and evaluation of comparative effectiveness research (CER).

Her research has been published by Georgetown University Press, Health Affairs, State Politics and Policy, Publius, and the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, among others.

Jennifer Benz

Deputy Director
Public Affairs and Media Research
(617) 316-3702

Jennifer Benz is a Principal Research Scientist and Deputy Director of The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Benz is a political scientist whose research focuses on the connection between public policy and citizen engagement. Benz’s research includes numerous studies measuring awareness, understanding, and perceptions of public policy issues among the general public and targeted constituencies. She has a successful track record of distilling and packaging complex research for different audiences including journalists, policy makers, and the mass public.

Benz has managed and conducted survey research on a variety of topics including the public’s priorities and attitudes toward government, race and ethnicity, public health and health care, economic issues, news and media, international relations and defense, and environmental and energy policy. With training and experience in political science, social psychology, and public health, Benz’s research uses an interdisciplinary approach in both theory and method, and much of her research complements survey research with qualitative and experimental methods. Benz has also published research on the relationships between interest organizations, PACs, and public policy, with a particular focus on state-level politics and policy. Prior to joining the AP-NORC Center, Benz worked as a Research Scientist for NORC’s Public Health research department where her project work focuses on issues in health disparities, access to primary care, and the dissemination and evaluation of comparative effectiveness research (CER).

Her research has been published by Georgetown University Press, Health Affairs, State Politics and Policy, Publius, and the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, among others.

David Sterrett

Senior Research Scientist
Public Affairs and Media Research
Phone: (312) 357-7031

David Sterrett is a Senior Research Scientist in The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Sterrett is a political scientist whose research focuses on political attitudes, survey methodology, and the public’s news habits. He has significant experience designing and managing complex multi-mode surveys and combining quantitative research findings with in-depth qualitative interviews.

Sterrett has helped lead a wide range of public affairs research projects at NORC. Since 2015, he has served as a manager for the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The AP-NORC Center. The research has examined a range of issues related to news habits and attitudes such as what leads the public to trust news and what factors are associated with paying for news.

Sterrett helped develop and oversee the multi-mode methodology for AP VoteCast, a new approach to understanding the American electorate that combines a probability sample of registered voters with a large opt-in sample of registered voters.

He has also managed a number of projects featuring collaborations with academic researchers such as the UChicago Harris/AP-NORC Poll, a study on democratic representation with researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the 2016 GenForward surveys of adults 18-30 years old that were a project of the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago.

Sterrett has published scholarly work in multiple peer-reviewed journals and has expertise in synthesizing complex social science research so that it is easily accessible for journalists and the public. He frequently presents at academic and survey research conferences, and is actively involved with both AAPOR and MAPOR.

Prior to joining NORC, he spent four years conducting survey research at the University of Illinois at Chicago and five years working as a journalist in Chicago and San Diego.

David Sterrett

Senior Research Scientist
Public Affairs and Media Research
(312) 357-7031

David Sterrett is a Senior Research Scientist in The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Sterrett is a political scientist whose research focuses on political attitudes, survey methodology, and the public’s news habits. He has significant experience designing and managing complex multi-mode surveys and combining quantitative research findings with in-depth qualitative interviews.

Sterrett has helped lead a wide range of public affairs research projects at NORC. Since 2015, he has served as a manager for the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The AP-NORC Center. The research has examined a range of issues related to news habits and attitudes such as what leads the public to trust news and what factors are associated with paying for news.

Sterrett helped develop and oversee the multi-mode methodology for AP VoteCast, a new approach to understanding the American electorate that combines a probability sample of registered voters with a large opt-in sample of registered voters.

He has also managed a number of projects featuring collaborations with academic researchers such as the UChicago Harris/AP-NORC Poll, a study on democratic representation with researchers from Stanford University and the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the 2016 GenForward surveys of adults 18-30 years old that were a project of the Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago.

Sterrett has published scholarly work in multiple peer-reviewed journals and has expertise in synthesizing complex social science research so that it is easily accessible for journalists and the public. He frequently presents at academic and survey research conferences, and is actively involved with both AAPOR and MAPOR.

Prior to joining NORC, he spent four years conducting survey research at the University of Illinois at Chicago and five years working as a journalist in Chicago and San Diego.

Marjorie Connelly

Senior Fellow
Public Affairs and Media Research
Phone: (212) 541-9878

Marjorie Connelly is a Senior Fellow with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and is experienced in managing survey research and interpreting poll findings for a general audience.

Connelly spent more than 30 years at The New York Times, working in its News Survey department. Her final position there was editor of the department, in charge of the coverage and use of public opinion research for the national and international editions of The New York Times and nytimes.com.

Connelly specialized in analysis of Election Day exit polls, surveys of the New York metropolitan area and international polls. She managed the surveys of special populations including people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, family members of 9/11 victims, teenagers, business executives and baseball players.

Connelly was a member of the executive council of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) in 2011-2013. She served as president of the New York Chapter of AAPOR in 2010-2011.

Connelly received the NY-AAPOR Distinguished Service Award in June 2013 and a New York Times Publisher Award for a trio of polls before the 2004 Republican National Convention in September 2004. She was also the recipient of a New York Times Publisher Award for the biennial Portrait of the Electorate in December 1998.

Marjorie Connelly

Senior Fellow
Public Affairs and Media Research
(212) 541-9878

Marjorie Connelly is a Senior Fellow with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and is experienced in managing survey research and interpreting poll findings for a general audience.

Connelly spent more than 30 years at The New York Times, working in its News Survey department. Her final position there was editor of the department, in charge of the coverage and use of public opinion research for the national and international editions of The New York Times and nytimes.com.

Connelly specialized in analysis of Election Day exit polls, surveys of the New York metropolitan area and international polls. She managed the surveys of special populations including people displaced by Hurricane Katrina, family members of 9/11 victims, teenagers, business executives and baseball players.

Connelly was a member of the executive council of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) in 2011-2013. She served as president of the New York Chapter of AAPOR in 2010-2011.

Connelly received the NY-AAPOR Distinguished Service Award in June 2013 and a New York Times Publisher Award for a trio of polls before the 2004 Republican National Convention in September 2004. She was also the recipient of a New York Times Publisher Award for the biennial Portrait of the Electorate in December 1998.

Jennifer Titus

Senior Research Director
Health Sciences
Phone: (312) 759-4254

Jennifer Titus is a Senior Research Director in NORC’s Health Sciences Department. She has over 10 years of experience managing multi-mode survey data collection for a range of small and large-scale projects.

Titus has successfully managed complex in-person, telephone, and mail data collection, data delivery, and data dissemination tasks for large health surveys conducted for federal clients including the Nationwide Adult Medicaid Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (NAM CAHPS) for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the National Children’s Study (NCS) for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health in the U.S. for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Titus also manages telephone and web surveys for The Associated Press (AP)-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and NORC’s Public Affairs Research team on a variety of topics including Americans’ knowledge of the Zika virus, experiences with long-term care, opinions on obesity, and attitudes toward aging.

Prior to NORC, Titus coordinated academic research studies funded by NIH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for the Division of Prevention and Community Research at Yale University’s School of Medicine and at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Jennifer Titus

Senior Research Director
Health Sciences
(312) 759-4254

Jennifer Titus is a Senior Research Director in NORC’s Health Sciences Department. She has over 10 years of experience managing multi-mode survey data collection for a range of small and large-scale projects.

Titus has successfully managed complex in-person, telephone, and mail data collection, data delivery, and data dissemination tasks for large health surveys conducted for federal clients including the Nationwide Adult Medicaid Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (NAM CAHPS) for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the National Children’s Study (NCS) for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health in the U.S. for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Currently, Titus also manages telephone and web surveys for The Associated Press (AP)-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and NORC’s Public Affairs Research team on a variety of topics including Americans’ knowledge of the Zika virus, experiences with long-term care, opinions on obesity, and attitudes toward aging.

Prior to NORC, Titus coordinated academic research studies funded by NIH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for the Division of Prevention and Community Research at Yale University’s School of Medicine and at the Institute for Juvenile Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Bess Welch

Vice President
Public Health
Phone: (312) 759-4201

Bess Welch is a Vice President in the Public Health department at NORC. She manages and administers social science surveys for governmental agencies, academic institutions, and foundations.

Welch has nearly twenty years of experience leading multidisciplinary teams in the design, development, and delivery of complex survey data and analytic products used by policy makers and researchers in the public health arenas. Welch serves as the Associate Project Director (APD) for the National Immunization Survey (NIS). The NIS is the one of largest RDD surveys, with more than 25 million yearly sampled telephone lines, providing ongoing surveillance of immunization coverage for children and teenagers in the U.S. As APD, she oversees all aspects of data collection related to the NIS-Child, NIS-Teen, and NIS-Childhood Influenza Module surveys. This includes working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to refine research objectives and design options, developing cost estimates, directing the development of survey instrumentation, supervising data collection activities, managing data review and other quality checks, and ensuring that cleaned and weighted data are delivered to the CDC.

In addition to her role on the NIS, Welch also serves as the project director for the Test Predictability of Falls Screening Tools project. This is a longitudinal survey that is following over 1,900 older adults over the course of approximately 15 months to test the ability of existing falls screening tools to predict falls and fall requiring medical attention over the course of one year. This survey uses the AmeriSpeak panel and is the first AmeriSpeak survey to receive U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance to conduct data collection on behalf of the federal government.

Welch has also served as Project Director of a number of projects for the University of Florida Institute for Child Health Policy, including the STAR+PLUS Behavioral Health Survey and the STAR Adult Behavioral Health Survey. These studies evaluate the experiences and satisfaction of Texas Medicaid enrollees with the behavioral health services they receive. Welch has also served as Project Director for the Connecting Health and Technology (CHAT) Study. Funded by the Legacy Foundation, this study was designed to measure the impact of a public education media campaign to discourage the uptake of tobacco use among youth and young adults. Legacy contracted with NORC to provide a recruiting effort using telephone outreach and CATI screening to supplement an existing mail recruitment of youth to a web panel. NORC built a sample using a combination of RDD landline, cellular phone, and targeted lists of youth and young adult populations to screen and identify eligible participants ages 15-21. Eligible participants were passed to the baseline web questionnaire for enrollment prior to the launch of the media campaign.

Bess Welch

Vice President
Public Health
(312) 759-4201

Bess Welch is a Vice President in the Public Health department at NORC. She manages and administers social science surveys for governmental agencies, academic institutions, and foundations.

Welch has nearly twenty years of experience leading multidisciplinary teams in the design, development, and delivery of complex survey data and analytic products used by policy makers and researchers in the public health arenas. Welch serves as the Associate Project Director (APD) for the National Immunization Survey (NIS). The NIS is the one of largest RDD surveys, with more than 25 million yearly sampled telephone lines, providing ongoing surveillance of immunization coverage for children and teenagers in the U.S. As APD, she oversees all aspects of data collection related to the NIS-Child, NIS-Teen, and NIS-Childhood Influenza Module surveys. This includes working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to refine research objectives and design options, developing cost estimates, directing the development of survey instrumentation, supervising data collection activities, managing data review and other quality checks, and ensuring that cleaned and weighted data are delivered to the CDC.

In addition to her role on the NIS, Welch also serves as the project director for the Test Predictability of Falls Screening Tools project. This is a longitudinal survey that is following over 1,900 older adults over the course of approximately 15 months to test the ability of existing falls screening tools to predict falls and fall requiring medical attention over the course of one year. This survey uses the AmeriSpeak panel and is the first AmeriSpeak survey to receive U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearance to conduct data collection on behalf of the federal government.

Welch has also served as Project Director of a number of projects for the University of Florida Institute for Child Health Policy, including the STAR+PLUS Behavioral Health Survey and the STAR Adult Behavioral Health Survey. These studies evaluate the experiences and satisfaction of Texas Medicaid enrollees with the behavioral health services they receive. Welch has also served as Project Director for the Connecting Health and Technology (CHAT) Study. Funded by the Legacy Foundation, this study was designed to measure the impact of a public education media campaign to discourage the uptake of tobacco use among youth and young adults. Legacy contracted with NORC to provide a recruiting effort using telephone outreach and CATI screening to supplement an existing mail recruitment of youth to a web panel. NORC built a sample using a combination of RDD landline, cellular phone, and targeted lists of youth and young adult populations to screen and identify eligible participants ages 15-21. Eligible participants were passed to the baseline web questionnaire for enrollment prior to the launch of the media campaign.