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Campus Address: 

Room 785 WARF
610 Walnut Street
Madison, WI 53726

Campus Phone Number: 
(608) 265-8600

David J. Vanness, PhD

  • Associate Professor


David J. Vanness, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Population Health Sciences (with tenure) at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and an affiliate of the La Follette School of Public Affairs, the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, the Center for Demography and Ecology, and the UW Carbone Cancer Center at UW-Madison. Professor Vanness received his PhD in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000. From 1999 to 2003, he held positions as Associate and Senior Associate Consultant in the Department of Health Sciences Research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Professor Vanness co-directs a pre-doctoral traineeship in health economics funded by the National Institutes of Health (T32MH018029) and has taught health technology assessment graduate-level coursework at UW-Madison since 2004. He also has directed the Population Health MS/PhD and MPH core course, Principles of Population Health Sciences (PHS 795), since 2013. Professor Vanness’ current research focuses on developing and applying innovative empirical and simulation methods for comparative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness analysis, with a special focus on Bayesian evidence synthesis. Professor Vanness is Principal Investigator of a collaboration between the National Marrow Donor Program and UW-Madison to develop and execute a cost-effectiveness research agenda for hematopoietic cell transplantation. He also serves as a Co-Investigator on a PCORI-funded collaboration with the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Foundation (PI: Caprice Greenberg) where he is responsible for conducting Bayesian value of information analysis for the development of patient-centered approaches to surveillance after treatment for breast cancer. Dr. Vanness serves the University as President of the UW-Madison chapter of the American Association of University Professors, as a member of the Steering Committee of the Professional Representation Organization of the Faculty Senate (PROFS), and as a temporary appointee to the Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities (Spring 2016). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the journal Medical Decision Making and a frequent ad hoc member of the NIH Health Services, Outcomes and Delivery (HSOD) review panel.

Courses Taught
  • Population Health 795/650-079: Principles of Population Health Sciences, Director and Principal Lecturer (12 lectures), 2013-Present, offered annually
  • Population Health 875: Assessment of Medical Technologies, Director and Principal Lecturer (29 lectures), 2004-Present, offered annually
  • Population Health 805: Epidemiology 4, Lecturer (2 lectures), 2014-Present, offered annually
  • Population Health 717: Principles of Population Medicine and Epidemiology, Lecturer (1 lecture) and Facilitator, 2013-Present, offered annually
  • Population Health 785: Health Systems, Management and Policy, Lecturer (1 lecture), 2010-Present, offered annually
  • Economics 848: Health Economics, Lecturer (2 lectures), 2007-Present, offered biennially
  • International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Short Course - Bayesian Analysis: Applications, Co-Director and Lecturer (1 half-day lecture), 2004-Present, offered annually


  • Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cancer Control Program, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Center for Demography and Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • La Follette School of Public Affairs, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Select Publications

Pu J, Chewning BA, Johnson HM, Vanness DJ, Young HN, Kreling DH. Health Behavior Change After Blood Pressure Feedback. PLOS ONE 2015 (In Press). [Advisee First Author]

Gareen I, Siewert B, Vanness DJ, Herman B, Johnson CD, Gatsonis C. Patient Willingness to Return for Repeat Screening and Preference for CT Colonography Versus Optical Colonoscopy During the National ACRIN CT Colonography Trial. Journal of Patient Preference and Adherence 2015; 9: 1043-1051.

Pritts EA, Vanness DJ, Berek JS, Parker W, Feinberg R, Feinberg J, et al. The Prevalence of Occult Leiomyosarcoma at Surgery for Presumed Uterine Fibroids: A Meta-Analysis. Gynecol Surg 2015; 1–13.

Bow EJ, Vanness DJ, Cordonnier C, Cornely OA, Marks DI, Pagliuca A, Slavin M, Solano C, Cragin L, Shaul AJ, Sorensen S, Chambers R, Kantecki M, Weinstein D and Schlamm H. Systematic Review and Mixed Treatment Comparison of Randomized Clinical Trials of Primary Antifungal Prophylaxis in Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplant Recipients. BMC Infectious Diseases 2015; 15(1): 128.

Jackson H, Mandell K, Johnson K, Chatterjee D, Vanness DJ. Cost-Effectiveness of Injectable Extended-Release Naltrexone Compared With Methadone Maintenance and Buprenorphine Maintenance Treatment for Opioid Dependence. Substance Abuse 2015; 36(2): 226-231. [Advisee First Author]

Wisk LE, Gangnon R, Vanness DJ, Galbraith AA, Mullahy J and Witt WP. Development of a Novel, Objective Measure of Health Care-Related Financial Burden for US Families with Children. Health Services Research (Best of the 2014 Academy Health Annual Research Meeting) 2014; 49(6): 1852-1874. [Advisee First Author]

Wu Y, Alagoz O, Vanness DJ, Trentham-Dietz A, Burnside ES. Pursuing Optimal Thresholds to Recommend Breast Biopsy by Quantifying the Value of Tomosynthesis. Proc. SPIE 9037, Medical Imaging 2014: Image Perception, Observer Performance, and Technology Assessment, 90370U (March 11, 2014).

Wu Y, Vanness DJ and Burnside ES. Using Multidimensional Mutual Information to Prioritize Mammographic Features for Breast Cancer Diagnosis. AMIA Annu Symp Proc 2013; 1534-1543.

Connor JT, Luce BR, Broglio KR, Ishak KJ, Mullins CD, Vanness DJ, Fleurence R. Do Bayesian Adaptive Trials Offer Advantages for Comparative Effectiveness Research? Protocol for the RE-ADAPT (Research in ADAptive methods for Pragmatic Trials) Study. Clinical Trials 2013; Oct; 10: 807-827.

Crown W, Henk HJ and Vanness DJ. Some Cautions on the Use of Instrumental Variables (IV) Estimators in Outcomes Research: How Bias in IV Estimators is Affected by Instrument Strength, Instrument Contamination, and Sample Size. Value in Health 2011; 14(8): 1078-1084.

Vanness DJ, Knudsen AB, Lansdorp-Vogelaar I, et al. Comparative Economic Evaluation of the American College of Radiology Imaging Network National CT Colonography Trial with Three CISNET Microsimulations. Radiology 2011; 261: 487-498.

Hanmer J, Vanness DJ, Gangnon R, Palta M, Fryback DG. Three Methods Tested to Model SF-6D Health Utilities for Health States Involving Comorbidity/Co-Occurring Conditions. J Clin Epidemiol 2010; 63(3): 331-341. [Advisee First Author]