Professor Norman Sartorius is Professor of Psychiatry, University of Geneva, Switzerland and former Director of the Division of Mental Health of the World Health Organization.
Professor Sartorius is an eminent figure in the field of international mental health. He has been instrumental in bringing science to mental health by establishing the first internationally-agreed upon classification of mental disorders that can be applied in both the developed and developing countries. This is the basis for reliable diagnosis, gathering of essential public health statistics, and the necessary development of effective national mental health policies in each country. With the establishment of a firm basis for diagnosis using applicable, reliable and crosscultural criteria and instruments, it has become possible to develop programs for the delivery of appropriate care for patients with mental disorders.
Mental health is an important area that, according to the 2001 WHO Report, may affect as many as 25% of the population sometime in their life. Professor Sartorius’s work called attention to the high frequency and the importance of mental disorders throughout the world, including in developing countries. His contribution is important for the recognition and forms a basis for treatment of psychiatric disorders in primary health care.
Dr. Sartorius studied medicine in Zagreb and subsequently trained in psychiatry. He started working with the WHO in 1967, serving in Southeast Asia and other regions. He became Director of WHO Division of Mental Health in 1977, a position he held for more than 20 years. Dr. Sartorius is also actively involved in a number of professional associations including serving as President of the World Psychiatric Association and President of the Association of European Psychiatrists.