Chief Medical Officer Dr. Suzanne Watnick receives a 2022 Distinguished Leader Award from American Society of Nephrology

The American Society of Nephrology (ASN) named Dr. Suzanne Watnick, Chief Medical Officer at Northwest Kidney Centers, its 2022 Distinguished Leader for 2022 at its annual Kidney Week conference, held in Orlando November 3-6.

The award recognizes both sustained achievements in advancing ASN’s mission to “lead the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality of care for patients” as well as leadership in any number of areas of medicine, including clinical, educational, research, or administrative efforts.

The ASN’s Kidney Week brings together 10,000 kidney professionals eager to exchange knowledge with their fellow peers. The event provides unparalleled educational opportunities, debates on pressing topics, keynote sessions, training, and access to latest advancements in kidney specialties.

In addition to her role as chief medical officer, Dr. Watnick is a professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology at the University of Washington and practices in the Veterans Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System in Seattle.

The award reflects a long list of contributions to nephrology and kidney care. From the ASN 2022 Awards page on Dr. Watnick’s award:

  • Dr. Watnick has filled important leadership roles with ASN. She spearheaded the inaugural virtual Dialysis Core Curriculum and was instrumental in the development of the first Dialysis Practice Improvement Module. She has served on many ASN committees, including the Public Policy Board, a Home Dialysis Task Force, the Policy and Advocacy Committee, the Training Program Directors Executive Committee, and the Postgraduate Education Committee. She currently serves on the ASN Quality Committee and represents ASN at Kidney Care Partners. Dr. Watnick regularly represents ASN and the kidney community in meetings with legislators and regulators to advocate for patient-centered care.

    She has worked tirelessly to bring together groups, such as ASN and the National Kidney Foundation, to work for better kidney care policy.She served on the Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) Executive Committee and the American Board of Internal Medicine Nephrology Board and is on the Editorial Board of CJASN.Dr. Watnick has also been a leader in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a Northwest Kidney Centers dialysis patient was the first reported U.S. death from COVID-19, Dr. Watnick implemented rigorous plans to safely treat dialysis patients. She shared what she learned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and with the kidney community nationally.

    Dr. Watnick received her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School in Worcester, followed by an internship and residency in internal medicine and a clinical fellowship in nephrology at the University of California, San Francisco. She then completed clinical and research fellowships in nephrology at Yale University. Before moving to Seattle, she spent 16 years at Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland VA Medical Center, where she served several roles, including as the training program director of the fellowship program.