Our Mission, Vision, & History

The Arbor Research Mission

Drs. Robert Merion and Bruce Robinson in collaboration.

Arbor Research Collaborative for Health combines excellence in science and data analysis to generate insights that drive better and equitable health outcomes. 

Our Vision

We endeavor to be the preferred research organization to generate evidence for decision-making and innovation that improves health care policy, health care delivery, and health outcomes.

The History of our Organization

Arbor Research was founded as the University Renal Research and Education Association (URREA)* in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1997. Our first president was Philip J. Held, Ph.D., a nationally recognized leader in the field of renal research who understood the power and potential of sound data collection and analysis. Dr. Friedrich K. Port, MD, MS, became URREA's second president when Dr. Held retired in 2002. Our research portfolio grew as close-knit teams of clinicians, biostatisticians, programmers, and other staff bid successfully on several large contracts for medical outcomes research, including expansion of the Dialysis Outcomes and Practice Patterns Study (DOPPS); the renewal of the US Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR); and a Multiple Research and Demonstration contract with the US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

In 2006, URREA formally changed its name to Arbor Research Collaborative for Health to better reflect the breadth of its efforts to improve patient care and support the development of sound public health care policies. When, in 2009, Dr. Port was ready to transition into his current role as a senior research scientist, Robert M. Merion, MD, FACS, a highly respected transplant surgeon, researcher, and colleague from the University of Michigan, joined Arbor Research as its third president. Under Dr. Merion’s 12 years of leadership, Arbor Research expanded its scope of research with the addition of the Scientific Data and Coordinating Centers housing projects such as A2ALL: Adult-to-Adult Living Donor Transplantation Cohort Study; ChiLDReN: Childhood Liver Disease Research Network; Lost Wages Support for Living Organ Donors Demonstration Project; LURN: Symptoms of Lower Urinary Tract Dysfunction Research Network; NLDAC: National Living Donor Assistance Center; PRECEDE: Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection Research Consortium; and RELIVE: Renal and Lung Living Donors Evaluation. In 2021, esteemed researcher and business leader, Dr. Christopher Spera  Ph.D, joined Arbor Research as its fourth president as Dr. Merion  transitioned to his part-time role as a Distinguished Research Scientist.

Today, with more than 25 years of experience, Arbor Research is a thriving company of over 100 employees and more than $17 million in revenues. We continue to improve patient care by identifying clinical best practices and supporting health care policy development.

*Note: Before 2006 Arbor Research was known as the University Renal Research and Education Association (URREA); this overview uses the original name when appropriate.

The Values that Support our Goals

The core values that define who we are as an organization serve as the foundation of our code of ethics, and promote the realization of our goals:

  • Collaborative Spirit
  • Creativity
  • Credibility
  • Dedication