Dr. Keith C. Norris is an internationally recognized clinician scientist and health policy leader who has been instrumental in shaping national health policy and clinical practice guidelines for chronic kidney disease (CKD). He has made major contributions to diversity, equity and inclusion while addressing disparities in contemporary society. After leaving Cornell in 1976 at the age of 19, he attended Howard University College of Medicine. Upon graduation in 1980, he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society. He then completed his residency training and chief residency in internal medicine. From 1983-86, he trained in nephrology at the combined West Los Angeles Veterans Administration-UCLA program where he trained under the Late Dr. Jack Coburn. In addition to being board certified in internal medicine and nephrology, he is an American Society of Hypertension, Specialist in Clinical Hypertension. In 2014 he received his doctorate in religious, spiritual and metaphysical philosophy. After serving as Executive VP for Research and Health Affairs and Interim President at Charles Drew University (CDU) he returned to UCLA as a Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of the Clinical and Translational Science Institute Community Engagement Research Program.
In 1995, he was invited to join the inaugural National Kidney Foundation (NKF) Kidney Disease Outcomes Quality Initiative, where he worked for over a decade helping to transform Medicare based practice guidelines and performance measures for patients with chronic kidney disease. He was also a founding member of the Medicare End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) continuous Performance Measures workgroup. He presently serves as a member of the Forum of ESRD Networks, Medical Advisory Council the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) Medical Advisory Board and co-chair of the ESRD Network 3 Medical Review Board.
His research interests focus on hypertension and CKD in disadvantaged populations. Other research areas include the role of Vitamin D and oxidative stress in health disparities, and enhancing community-academic partnerships. He was the Principal Investigator for the multi-site NIH funded African American Study of Kidney Disease and Hypertension (AASK) and the AASK Cohort Study, the largest comparative drug intervention trial focusing on renal outcomes conducted in African Americans. Dr. Norris was the founding Principal Investigator for the first national translational research network dedicated to reducing health disparities, the NIH-Research Centers in Minority Institutions Translational Research Network. He has extensive experience in patient recruitment and retention, and community-partnered research within the South Los Angeles community. With his community partners he pioneered the nation’s first community faculty track at a medical school as a novel strategy to leverage community expertise and inculcate social determinants into health professional research and education. He directs several NIH research and training grants including the NIH Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA, the centerpiece of the NIH initiative to enhance diversity in the biomedical workforce.
Dr. Norris has received numerous honors and awards from students, peers, community, and professional organizations. As PI or Program Director he has been awarded of $250 million in federal grant funding. He has co-authored over 400 articles in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters, and over 300 scientific abstracts. He serves as the Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the international journal Ethnicity and Disease, a multidisciplinary journal focusing on minority ethnic population differences in health promotion and disease prevention, including research in the areas of epidemiology, genetics, health services, social biology, and medical anthropology. He also serves as a member of the editorial board for the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology and the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.