Neil S. Wenger

Director, Assessing Care of Vulnerable Elders (ACOVE) project
Santa Monica Office


M.D., UCLA School of Medicine; M.P.H., UCLA School of Public Health; B.S. in biochemistry, University of California, Davis

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Neil S. Wenger is a professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and a practicing general internist with an interest in patients with complex illness. He directs the UCLA Health System Ethics Center and the Assessing Care of Vulnerable Elders (ACOVE) project within RAND Health.

Wenger's research focuses on measuring and improving the quality of care for vulnerable older persons. He has led assessments of care of various groups of older individuals and has recently focused on quality of care for patients in Medicare Advantage plans. With the RAND/UCLA team, he has implemented practice redesign efforts aimed at improving primary care for older patients with an emphasis on falls and incontinence care. He is particularly interested in measuring and improving care toward the end of life. His educational efforts are focused on training physician fellows in health services research, on physicians in training in primary care general internal medicine, and on teaching clinical ethics. He directs the Health Resources and Services Administration–funded National Research Service Award Primary Care Research Fellowship in the Division of General Internal Medicine at UCLA. Wenger is the author of more than 150 peer-reviewed articles.

Wenger received his M.D. from the UCLA School of Medicine and his M.P.H. from the UCLA School of Public Health.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research, University of California, Los Angeles; Director, UCLA Health System Ethics Center

Recent Projects

  • Evaluating Evercare special-needs plan

Selected Publications

T. Higashi et al., "Quality of Care Is Associated with Survival in Vulnerable Older Patients," Annals of Internal Medicine, 143(4), 2005

D. S. Zingmond and N. S. Wenger, "Regional and Institutional Variation in the Initiation of Early Do-Not-Resuscitate Orders," Archives of Internal Medicine, 165, 2005

UCLA Medical Center Ethics Committee and UCLA Renal Transplant Program, "Surrogate Consent for Living Related Organ Donation," Journal of the American Medical Association, 291, 2004

N. S. Wenger, "The Quality of Medical Care Provided to Vulnerable Community-Dwelling Older Patients," Annals of Internal Medicine, 139, 2003

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Aging & Elder Health Week; Health & Medicine Week; Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report; Managed Care Weekly Digest; United Press International; USA Today;


  • An elderly man in a hospital bed visits with his family

    Let People Make Their Own End-of-Life Decisions

    Major advances in health technology have helped people to live longer, but not necessarily better, lives. Medicare recently announced plans to reimburse providers for time spent counseling patients and their caregivers about the kind of care patients would want to receive near the end of their lives.

    Jul 15, 2015 Newsweek

  • physicians with critical care patient

    What to Do About 'Futile' Critical Care

    There are times when no amount of care, however cutting-edge it is, will save a patient. In these instances, further critical care is said to be “futile.” This type of treatment is not uncommon in intensive care units, and that raises some uncomfortable questions.

    Sep 13, 2013 The Health Care Blog