Cheryl L. Damberg

Distinguished Chair in Health Care Payment Policy; Director, RAND Center of Excellence on Health System Performance; Principal Senior Economist


Ph.D. in public policy and economics, Pardee RAND Graduate School; M.P.H. in health education, population planning, University of Michigan School of Public Health; B.S. in zoology, natural science, Michigan State University

Media Resources

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Cheryl Damberg is distinguished chair in Health Care Payment Policy, director of the RAND Center of Excellence on Health System Performance, and a principal senior economist at the RAND Corporation. Her research explores the impact of strategies to drive cost and quality improvements in health care and understanding how providers are redesigning health care delivery in response to new payment models and increased accountability. She has worked to strengthen the design of value-based payment schemes, with particular focus on addressing disparities through improving measurement by accounting for social risk factors and building measures of health equity.  Her work also explores changes in the structure of health care markets, with a focus on health care consolidation and its impacts on cost and quality.

In 2021, Damberg was appointed a MedPAC commissioner. She is an international expert in pay for performance and value-based payment reforms and has advised Congress, federal agencies, the UK National Health Service, and the governments of Germany and South Korea on embedding performance-based incentives into provider payments schemes. She has testified before Congress regarding how to revise Medicare physician payments to include value-based payment elements and on the effects of health care consolidation. 

Damberg directs the RAND Center of Excellence on Health System Performance which characterizes and studies health systems, explores the effects of consolidation, and identifies the attributes of health systems associated with high performance. She also leads a team working with the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services to generate Medicare Advantage Star Ratings. 

She previously served as director of research for the Pacific Business Group on Health, where she led early efforts to measure provider quality of care and to make transparent comparative performance results to consumers.  She also served as a senior consultant to Fortune 100 firms for the MEDSTAT Group and as a research fellow in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. She holds a Ph.D. in public policy from the Pardee RAND Graduate School and an M.P.H from the University of Michigan.  

Selected Publications

Damberg, CL and Elliott, MN., "Opportunities to Address Health Disparities in Performance-based Accountability and Payment Programs," JAMA Health Forum., 2021

Whaley CM, Zhao, X, Richards MR, Damberg CL, "Higher Medicare spending on imaging and lab services after physician practice vertical integration. ," Health Aff., 2021

Mafi, JN, Reid RO, Baseman LH, Hickey S, Totten M, Agniel D, Fendrick AM, Sarkisian, C, Damberg CL, "Trends in low-value health service utilization and spending in the U.S. Medicare Fee-For-Service Program, 2014-2018.," JAMA Network Open. , 2021

Damberg, CL., M Silverman, L Burgette, ME Vaiana, MS Ridgely., "Are value-based incentives driving behavior change to improve value?" American Journal of Managed Care , 2019

Sorbero ME, Paddock SM, Damberg CL, Haas A, Kommareddi M, Tolpadi A, Mathews M, Elliott MN, "Adjusting Medicare Advantage Star Ratings for socioeconomic status and disability.," Am J Manag Care , 2018 (forthcoming)

Arbanas JC, Damberg CL (co-first authors), Leng M, et al., "Estimated Annual Spending on Lecanemab and Its Ancillary Costs in the US Medicare Program. JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 11, 2023.," JAMA Internal Medicine, (Published ), 2023

Gidwani R, Damberg CL., "Changes in US Hospital Financial Performance During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. ," JAMA Health Forum, (4(7):e2319), 2023

Sherry TB, Damberg CL, DeYoreo M, Bogart A, Agniel D, Ridgely S, Escarce JJ, "Is bigger better? A closer look at small health systems in the United States. ,", (Med Care. ), 2022

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: Tradeoffs