Geoff Norman PhD

Scientist - The Wilson Centre
Professor of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, McMaster University

Geoff Norman is Professor of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University. He received a B.Sc. in physics from the University of Manitoba in 1965 and a Ph.D. in nuclear physics from McMaster University in 1971, and subsequently a M.A. in educational psychology from Michigan State University in 1977. He is the author of 10 books in education, measurement and statistics, and over 300 journal articles.

Dr. Norman’s primary research is in the area of expert diagnostic reasoning – how clinicians arrive at a diagnosis. His research has revealed that experts use two kinds of knowledge to do diagnosis – the formal analytical knowledge of signs and symptoms and physiologic mechanisms, and experiential knowledge based on the hundreds or thousands of patients they have encountered. Following from this research is an interest in various aspects of how medical students learn. He has contributed to the theoretical foundation of problem-based learning. He has also been involved in student assessment and medical school admissions. He has developed and validated a number in innovative assessment methods, and has made substantial contributions to assessment methodology.

He has won numerous awards, including the Hubbard Award from the National Board of Medical Examiners in 1989, the Award of Excellence of the Canadian Association for Medical Education in 1997, the Distinguished Scholar Award of the American Educational Research Association, Division I in 2000, the Award for Outstanding Achievement of the Medical Council of Canada in 2001. He presently holds a Canada Research Chair. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2007. In 2008, he won the prestigious Karolinska Prize for lifetime achievement in medical education research. In 2010, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Erasmus University, Netherlands. In 2012, he shared the John Ruedy Award of the AFMC with colleagues for work on the development of the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). In 2012, he was appointed the Querido Visiting Chair at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.