Northwest Kidney Centers presents distinguished service award to Mary Lewis, long-time educator of clinicians

Clyde Shields Distinguished Service Award named for first long-term dialysis patient


Northwest Kidney Centers has recognized Mary Lewis, the leader of its clinical education for staff members, with the organization’s highest honor, the Clyde Shields Distinguished Service Award.

The award was presented today by two sons and a grandson of Clyde Shields, the first person sustained by permanent kidney dialysis. Northwest Kidney Centers gives the annual award to people who make significant contributions to the welfare of kidney patients.

Lewis has led clinical education services at Northwest Kidney Centers for more than three decades, training hundreds of nurses and technicians to provide outstanding care for patients.

The State of Washington adopted the training program she created at Northwest Kidney Centers, making it part of the practice act for all dialysis technicians in the state.

Lewis is responsible for Northwest Kidney Centers’ in-house Dialysis Academy, and she set up collaborations with nine regional schools of nursing and Medic One EMTs so that community health care providers better understand the needs of people on dialysis.

“Mary is dedicated to the nephrology community and advancing knowledge and science for all,” said Joyce F. Jackson, president and CEO of Northwest Kidney Centers. “She demonstrates the courage that Clyde Shields exhibited as the first patient – trying new ideas and being a pioneer.”

About Clyde Shields. The award is named for machinist Clyde Shields, who in March 1960 was the first person in the world to begin dialysis that would sustain his life long-term. He was a patient of the University of Washington’s Dr. Belding Scribner, who had just invented the hardware that allowed repeated connections to the bloodstream. Mr. Shields’ diagnosis of kidney failure would have been fatal, had he not received the first Scribner shunt. With the shunt and regular dialysis, he survived another 11 years. His courage as a research subject made possible great advances in kidney treatment.

About the Clyde Shields Distinguished Service Award. Northwest Kidney Centers bestows the Clyde Shields Distinguished Service Award on a living individual who has contributed significantly to the welfare of kidney patients through advocacy, clinical care or research. Factors considered are length of service, number of people impacted, awards or citations, humility and perseverance. Past awardees include patients, volunteers, staff members, scientists and supporters.

About Northwest Kidney Centers. Northwest Kidney Centers is a regional, not-for-profit, community-based provider of kidney dialysis, public health education, and research into the causes and treatments of chronic kidney disease. Founded in Seattle in 1962, it was the world’s first dialysis organization. It remains the provider of choice because of its high-quality services, community connections and generous donor support. Learn more at