John P. Peters Award to Honor Donald E. Wesson

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Donald E. Wesson, MD, MBA, FASN

Citation: Kidney News 13, 10/11

ASN will recognize the wide-ranging contributions of Donald E. Wesson, MD, MBA, FASN, with the presentation of the John P. Peters Award on Friday, November 5. The John P. Peters Award is given for outstanding contributions to improving the lives of patients and furthering the understanding of the kidney in health and disease.

Dr. Wesson is professor of medicine at Texas A&M University in Dallas and president of Donald E. Wesson Consulting. His pioneering research and many leadership roles in academic medicine and clinical care have advanced nephrology, medicine, and public policy.

He is a long-time advocate for improving the health of communities through focused, data-driven population health initiatives and an internationally recognized researcher in kidney acidifying mechanisms. He has translated his basic science studies to clinical studies examining the role of nutrition in population health and the kidney-protective benefits of nutrition.

Dr. Wesson's research has centered on the role of the kidney in maintaining acid-base and electrolyte homeostasis and is a remarkable example of bench-to-bedside translation. He published a series of seminal papers on the bidirectional transport of bicarbonate along the proximal and distal nephron. His pioneering studies established the role of endogenous endothelins as mediators of distal tubular acidification. The studies connected renal endothelin generation with dietary acid consumption, which significantly advanced understanding of chronic kidney disease progression.

Dr. Wesson has used his leadership roles in large health systems to propel systemwide improvements in care delivery, particularly for underserved and under-resourced communities. He served as president of the Baylor Scott & White Health and Wellness Center, senior vice president of Baylor Scott & White Weight Management Services, and chief academic officer of Baylor Scott & White Health. He was vice dean of the Texas A&M University College of Medicine. At Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, he was the S.C. Arnett professor of medicine and chair of the Department of Internal Medicine.

In these roles, he led strategies that reduced rising rates of emergency department use and hospitalization. He helped create a level-three primary care clinic in a city recreational center that integrated wellness and prevention programs.

Dr. Wesson has also been active in service to the profession of nephrology. He has been ASN secretary-treasurer and served on many ASN committees. He was an inaugural member of the ASN Public Policy Advisory Board, where his vision and leadership were central to improving ASN's focus on diversity and inclusion. He helped establish ASN's partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to address the shortage of minority scholars filling academic and research appointments in nephrology.

Dr. Wesson also chaired the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He has served the National Kidney Foundation in many capacities, including on the Board of Directors and as president of the National Kidney Foundation of West Texas.

He completed his medical degree and residency at Baylor College of Medicine and his nephrology fellowship at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. He received an MBA from the University of Texas, Austin.