Northwest Kidney Centers celebrates 60th anniversary, will honor legacy throughout 2022

Seattle, WA – Northwest Kidney Centers, the world’s first dialysis organization, is launching a year-long celebration to honor its 60th anniversary. Now the eighth largest dialysis provider in the United States, non-profit Northwest Kidney Centers is a leader in patient care, education and research.

“We are excited and proud to celebrate a legacy of 60 years that has given life and hope to thousands of people with chronic kidney disease around the world,” said Rebecca Fox, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northwest Kidney Centers. ”What was at first thought of as a miracle treatment championed by Northwest Kidney Centers in 1962 has now become the standard of care around the world.”

Northwest Kidney Centers grew from a world-changing invention in 1960, when University of Washington researcher Dr. Belding Scribner created the Scribner Shunt, a medical device that allowed people to live indefinitely with repeated dialysis. Community leaders came together to raise money and find space so Northwest Kidney Centers could open its doors in Seattle on Jan. 9, 1962.

This legacy of innovation is still present in Northwest Kidney Centers’ support of research for new treatments and new discoveries to better patient’s lives through its collaboration with the Kidney Research Institute and the Center for Dialysis Innovation.

Throughout 2022, Northwest Kidney Centers will honor its legacy and celebrate the future of care for those with kidney disease with the community at events including the HopeBuilders Luncheon on May 12 and the Discovery Gala on October 15.

Kidney disease is one of the most prevalent health problems impacting adults in the United States. It is the ninth leading cause of death and more than one in nine adults will experience kidney disease in their lifetime. Black Americans are almost four times as likely as white Americans to develop kidney failure, and there has been a 70% increase in kidney failure among the Hispanic population since 2000. Approximately 90% of those with kidney disease do not know they have it.

“People with kidney disease are not always aware of their many options,” said Dr. Suzanne Watnick, Northwest Kidney Centers Chief Medical Officer. “We focus not only on the treatment of those with end-stage kidney disease, but also education for the community on how to slow the progression of kidney disease.”

Northwest Kidney Centers serves nearly 2,000 patients a year in 20 dialysis centers and eight hospitals, accounting for 80% of dialysis treatments in the Puget Sound region.

As a community-based nonprofit, Northwest Kidney Centers’ mission is to treat patients throughout their kidney disease journey. Through education about health and nutrition, it hopes to reach people at risk of kidney disease to intervene before it is too late. It also offers one of the first-in-the-nation kidney palliative care programs, which is 100% donor supported.

“Northwest Kidney Centers’ history and roots in the local community run deep. We’re so proud to invest more than $3 million annually to support those in need,” said Fox. “I feel honored to be entrusted with shepherding Northwest Kidney Centers’ legacy into the next 60 years and beyond.”