Thomas E. Norris

faculty photo
Adjunct Professor, Health Services
Chair, Family Medicine
Professor, Family Medicine (primary appt.)
Adjunct Professor, Biomedical Informatics and Medical Education
Adjunct Professor, Global Health


MD   University of Texas (Galveston), 1973
BS   Southwest Texas State University, 1970

Contact Info


Office of the Chair
University of Washington Department of Family Medicine
Seattle, WA 98195-6390

campus box:   356390
voice:   206-685-3466
fax:   206-543-9051


Dr. Norris grew up in a small ranching community in central Texas, graduated with high honors from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University), and received his medical education at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, graduating with a MD with honors in 1973. His residency training in Family Medicine was done at St. Joseph's Hospital in Wichita, Kansas, with service as Chief Resident during the last year of residency. In 1988-1989, he completed a faculty development fellowship at the Univesity of Washington. He has done the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE)—Tulane program in medical management, and is board certified in medical management and in Family Medicine. He is a Fellow in the ACPE and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Norris’ honors include AOA, numerous teaching awards, and both the AAFP’s John Walsh award and STFM’s F. Marian Bishop award for lifetime contributions to family medicine.

Following residency, Dr. Norris served in the United States Naval Reserve as a Lieutenant Commander and as a family physician at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Long Beach, CA. He left active duty with the Navy in 1978 to enter full spectrum private practice in a small community in central Montana. While in practice in Montana he developed and served as a director for the Montana Family Practice Satellite Residency Program, a family medicine preceptorship program in rural Montana for family practice residents that laid the groundwork for the development of family practice residencies in Montana.

In 1988 Norris left private practice to become a faculty member at Tacoma Family Medicine Family Practice Residency in Tacoma, Washington. In 1989 Norris became Residency Program Director of Tacoma Family Medicine, serving in that role until 1993. While at Tacoma, he led the development of the first Fellowship in Rural Family Medicine and founded the STFM Rural Health Group. Dr. Norris came to the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1993 as Assistant Dean for Regional Affairs and Rural Health. In that position he played a major role in adding Wyoming to WWAMI, the University of Washington’s regional medical education program. From 1996-2004 Dr. Norris served as Executive Director and founding Medical Executive of UW Physicians Network (large network of community based primary care clinics), and as the Associate Dean responsible for Continuing Medical Education, Telehealth Services, and the Office of Medical Alumni Affairs. In 2004, Dr. Norris became Vice Dean of Academic Affairs for the University of Washington School of Medicine, with responsibilities for all aspects of the medical student education program, with continuing responsibilities for CME, telemedicine and Alumni Affairs. While in this position, he helped found the STFM group of Deans Associated with Family Medicine and helped develop the WWAMI Spokane Riverpoint Campus. In December, 2010 Norris became Acting Chair of the University of Washington Department of Family Medicine, and he became tenured Professor and Chair in September 2011.

Active in organized medicine, Norris has served as president of the Montana and Washington Academies of Family Practice, as a director and president of the American Board of Family Medicine (2000-2005), and as a director and current Board Chair of the American Board of Medical Specialties (2005-2014).

In addition to his administrative duties, Dr. Norris continues to practice and teach family medicine. His research efforts have centered on rural practice, the education of rural family physicians, the use of telemedicine and medical informatics in primary care settings, procedures in family medicine and medical management.

Medical management; health services; continuing medical education; telehealth services; biomedical informatics

Norris TE, Cullison SW, Fihn SD. Teaching procedural skills. J Gen Intern Med. 1997 Apr;12 Suppl 2:S64-70. Review.  PMID: 9127246    PMCID: PMC1497230