President's Perspective – KHA Distinguished Health Care Advocate – Sec. Lee Norman, MD
(Oct. 9, 2020) – The Kansas Hospital Association Distinguished Health Care Advocate Award honors those individuals who provide an exemplary contribution to the health and well-being of the people of Kansas through their leadership in the political or policy arena. This year, we will be honoring Secretary Lee A. Norman, MD, Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Sec. Norman was appointed to his position as KDHE Secretary in 2019; however, since early 2020, COVID-19 has turned the physician and former Air Force flight surgeon into the leading source for all information on the virus for the state of Kansas. Sec. Norman received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota; completed his residency in family medicine in Texas; and his aerospace medicine training in the United States Air Force at Brooks AFB in San Antonio. After serving in the USAF as a family physician, flight surgeon and combat medicine instructor, he practiced medicine in Seattle, Washington, for 20 years, also serving as clinical associate professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Sec. Norman has served as a chief medical office for more than 26 years, most recently at The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City and before that the Swedish Health System in Seattle. He currently is a clinical assistant professor at The University of Kansas School of Medicine and currently serves on the Defense Health Board, which advises the U.S. Secretary of Defense on health matters, and the oversight board of the Kansas Intelligence Fusion Center. In addition to his current position as the KDHE Secretary, Norman continues to serve our country as a Colonel in the Kansas National Guard.
Sec. Norman has been a true advocate for Kansans and Kansas health care providers. As the COVID-19 cases started to rise in Kansas, Sec. Norman convened regular meetings with Kansas hospitals and medical professionals. His collaboration and dedication provided encouragement to Kansas hospitals that their needs would be a priority. Sec. Norman has played an instrumental role in securing financial support for Kansas hospitals at a time when many facilities were dialing down elective procedures. Most recently, Sec. Norman has actively engaged the hospital community on strategies related to COVID-19 testing and vaccine prioritization.
Congratulations to Sec. Norman, the 2020 KHA Distinguished Health Care Advocate! We will recognize him as part of our opening ceremonies at the Virtual KHA Convention and Trade Show Oct. 21-23.