Katy Wilkens, Nutrition and Fitness Manager, retires after trailblazing career in renal nutrition

Katy Wilkens at a Northwest Kidney Centers demonstration kitchen.

After 42 years of leading the Nutrition and Fitness department at Northwest Kidney Centers, Katy Wilkens is retiring on Nov. 9. In this role she has directly or indirectly impacted virtually every patient at Northwest Kidney Centers since 1979.

One of her final contributions is this Op-Ed in the Seattle Times on the FDA’s salt recommendations.

When Katy began her career, there were no guidelines on nutritional care for dialysis patients, so she gathered registered dietitians from around the region and together they wrote them. The result was the first “Suggested Guidelines for the Nutrition Care of Renal Patients” adopted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for the nation. She is the editor of the chapter on kidney disease in the textbook that is most used by U.S. dietitians in their course work. She has also mentored many dietitians interns during her career.

In 2007, Northwest Kidney Centers presented Katy with its highest honor, the Clyde Shields Distinguished Service Award, for her significant contributions to the welfare of kidney patients through advocacy, clinical care or research.

A Fellow of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), she has been a driving force behind many programs and initiatives in our local renal community as well as nationally over the years. She has been honored by the NKF’s Council on Renal Nutrition with its highest awards for excellence in education and significant contributions in renal nutrition and awarded the Medal of Excellence in kidney nutrition from the American Association of Kidney Patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent action to lower sodium levels in the American diet is progress that she has advocated for throughout her career.

Along with her knowledge of nutrition, renal and otherwise, her compassion and care for patients is inspiring. We are indebted to her commitment, including building an incredible team of registered dietitians that follow her example of leading in local, regional and national renal nutrition campaigns.

Thank you, Katy, for your deep commitment to patients at Northwest Kidney Centers and your groundbreaking contributions to renal nutrition.