Nancy Berkman

Fellow, Health Services Research

Nancy Berkman


  • PhD, Health Policy and Administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Master of Labor and Industrial Relations, Michigan State University
  • BA, Economics, State University of New York at Albany

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Nancy D. Berkman is a health services researcher focusing on access to health care and health care quality. An expert in evidence-based effectiveness research, she conducts systematic literature reviews and develops methods for improving these reviews. Her quantitative work often draws on large secondary data sets from federal and commercial sources.

Dr. Berkman was co-Principal Investigator for the development of the Health Literacy Skills Instrument, a short tool that measures people's health literacy skills, including ability to understand health-related written prose and document text, quantitative information, oral instructions, and navigation of internet resources. These skills are considered critical for patients, who face an increasing need to manage many aspects of their own health care.

Dr. Berkman often conducts systematic reviews as a member of the RTI-UNC Evidence-Based Practice Center. Recent reviews focus on screening for osteoporosis; and intimate partner violence and elder abuse and neglect. These studies are sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in support of guideline development by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Other reviews have focused on health literacy interventions and outcomes, understanding of disclosures and disclaimers used in prescription drug advertising, and the effectiveness of interventions for specific conditions, including binge eating disorder, disparities in serious mental illness treatment, anorexia and bulimia, otitis media with effusion, and preterm labor. Methodologically, she is particularly interested in the use of observational study evidence and the communication of review findings. 

Dr. Berkman joined RTI in 1997. Before making the transition to health policy research, she worked as a legislative budget analyst for the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee. She is a member of Academy Health and of RTI’s Institutional Review Board.