The George Washington University (GW) is pleased to announce Lorenzo Norris, MD, as the chief wellness officer for GW Hospital, the GW Medical Faculty Associates (MFA), and the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS).
With more than a year since COVID-19 made headlines, burnout is more prevalent than ever among those in the health care community. Even prior to the pandemic, those working in the health care field, whether as an administrator or provider, were found to be more susceptible to depression, anxiety, and job dissatisfaction.
“Wellness and self-care is more important than ever before,” said Norris, who is a psychiatrist at the MFA, and associate dean for student affairs and administration and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at SMHS. “In this position, I hope to help give our community the tools, education, and resilience needed to combat burnout and remain engaged for the sake of ourselves, our families and loved ones, and our patients.”
As chief wellness officer, Norris will lead the GWell Center for Healthcare Professionals, which seeks to promote optimal wellness for all members of the health care and health sciences communities across GW Hospital, the MFA, and SMHS. This community includes graduate medical and health sciences students, residents, post-doctoral fellows, faculty, nurses, advanced practice providers, staff, and alumni. Norris will also lead the GW Healthcare Professionals Wellness Advisory Council, which includes members of the served community to provide feedback and direction for the center.
The center, launched in May 2019, uses an evidence-based framework of healthful lifestyles — modeled on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s eight dimensions for wellness — and supportive institutional structures. Initiatives thus far have included a Wellness Grand Rounds series, educational opportunities around self-care and mindfulness, and complimentary exercise classes.
“These next few years will be critical for health care workers as we address the mental and physical burdens from COVID-19,” said Norris. “I am honored to help prioritize wellness here at GW.”
In addition to his current responsibilities, Norris has held many leadership positions since arriving at GW in 2008, including: director of the Medical Illness Clinic at GW Hospital; chief of neuropsychiatric services in the Department of Psychiatry at the MFA; director of the GW Survivorship Center for Psychiatric Services at the MFA; director of consult liaison services at GW Hospital; medical director of Psychiatric and Behavioral Services for GW Hospital; associate residency director for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at SMHS; and was most recently appointed as the medical director of GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences Wellness Center.
Norris is board-certified in psychiatry, with a focus on clinician well-being. He received his MD from Case Western Reserve Medical School. He completed his residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and a fellowship at Yale New Haven Hospital. Norris regularly publishes papers in academic journals and has presented at major educational symposiums and national meetings. He has guest-edited four issues of Psychiatric Annals with themes ranging from cancer and depression to hope in cancer survivorship. Currently, Norris serves as editor-in-chief of MDedge Psychiatry, the leading peer-reviewed source of practical, evidence-based information and the leading independent news source for the practicing psychiatrist.
Norris has served as a member of the American Psychiatric Association Council on Psychosomatic Medicine, and the Katzen Cancer Research Center Board of Directors. He is an elected member of the American College of Psychiatry and the Group for the Advancement of Psychiatry. Norris currently completing his two-year term as the DC Chapter president for the Washington Psychiatric Society. Norris was the recipient of the Leonard Tow 2011 Humanism in Medicine Award and has been listed as a Washingtonian Top Doctors in Psychiatry for multiple years, including most recently in 2020.