Carl Berdahl

Photo of Carl Berdahl
Affiliated Adjunct Physician Policy Researcher
Off Site Office


M.S. in health care policy and management, UCLA; M.D. in medicine, Yale University; B.A. in music performance, UCLA; Residency in emergency medicine, L.A. County + USC


Carl Berdahl is an affiliated adjunct  policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and an emergency physician and health services researcher at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. His primary research objective is to improve the quality and safety of emergency care, especially for vulnerable patients such as older adults.

Berdahl began his foray into health services research by comparing imaging utilization in emergency departments in Canada and the United States. He then led studies assessing the safety and diagnostic accuracy of MRI for the diagnosis of appendicitis in pediatric emergency department patients. During his fellowship, he developed interests in diverse areas of health services including primary care quality measurement, physician documentation, physician payment, and pay-for-performance initiatives. Additionally, he completed a policy elective in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation where he assisted with program evaluation of various Medicare and CMMI Initiatives.

Berdahl plans to focus his research endeavors on improving diagnostic accuracy, decreasing clerical burdens for frontline clinicians, and measuring the impact of federal health policies on quality and value of care. He is also interested in working with health systems and government stakeholders to identify and address gaps in social needs for vulnerable patients.

After obtaining his B.A. in music performance from UCLA, Berdahl completed medical school at the Yale School of Medicine and then emergency medicine residency at Los Angeles County and USC. He then attended fellowship in the inaugural class of UCLA's National Clinician Scholars Program.

Concurrent Non-RAND Positions

Emergency Physician, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Assistant Professor, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor, UCLA

Previous Positions

Fellow, UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program, 2016-2018

Honors & Awards

  • Top Peer Reviewer, Annals of Emergency Medicine
  • Academic Excellence Award, Emergency Medicine Residents' Association


English, Spanish


  • A ventilator that was modified to be used simultaneously by two patients at the Aga Khan university Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, April 9, 2020, photo by Baz Ratner/Reuters

    Innovations During COVID-19: Silver Lining or Threat to Patient Safety?

    We still don't know what works best to treat COVID-19. Some of the ideas and innovations are outstanding, but they are, so far, untested. There is an urgent need to evaluate ongoing innovations to learn what works and what doesn't, and what may have costs that are acceptable only under crisis conditions.

    Jun 1, 2020 The RAND Blog